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Articles (653)


Wednesday, 03 October 2012 07:52

The Complete Project Manager

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Part one: Building the Right Set of Skills for Greater Project Success Abstract Success in any environment largely depends upon completing successful projects, and successful projects get done by skilled project managers and teams, supported by effective project sponsors. Integration of knowledge and skills makes the difference in who achieves greater optimized outcomes. A Complete Project Manager integrates key people, team, business, organizational, and technical skills. Part One poses an organic analog from molecular chemistry and shares insights, experiences, and examples intended to motivate action towards embracing an integrated approach to the complete project manager. We begin the process of identifying…
Over the past several years, there has been much debate and confusion over the role of a project manager as the majority of organizations undergo Agile transformations. In fact, industry data suggests that approximately 53% of organizations are blending Agile methods with Waterfall.[1]  The result of this seismic change has been that project managers have left organizations; PMO’s have been dissolved, - all because of the introduction of Agile development methodologies. And project managers are not alone. The introduction of Agile has also significantly impacted the product manager role as well; as organizations concurrently struggle to make sense of the…
Changes in professions arise from a culmination of many factors, including advances in technology, responses to changing markets and the wider economic environment, alterations in demographic trends, and customer-driven demand, to name just a few. As well as industry-driven advancements, major shifts in the global economy and global events can have a profound, structural effect on a multitude of professions. Major global changes bring about a realization that “We cannot continue to do what we have always done.” The full impact of the global financial crisis that began in 2008 on all aspects of the economy may take years, or…
Project Portfolio Management is a set of business practices that brings the world of projects into tight integration with other business operations. PPM brings projects into harmony with the strategies, resources and executive oversight of the enterprise. PPM provides the structure and processes for project portfolio governance. I could leave it right there and you’d scratch your head and ask, “What does he mean?” Or you can drop everything and pick up my 500-page book for a complete dissertation. How about a compromise – a slightly expanded explanation for now with additional segments to follow? It’s been about a decade…
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 08:10

What To Do If a Member Doesn't Fit With the Team?

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Agile development is not right for all software professionals. If you are bringing Agile into a siloed company accustomed to plan-driven methods, expect that 10% to 15% of the people will not fit. In my experience, individuals might not fit with their newly Agile team for one or more of these reasons: They strongly prefer to work alone, not as team members. They would rather develop their specialties than shoulder miscellaneous team activities. They prefer to implement other people’s plans and designs and don’t want to make any high-impact decisions. They feel that the Agile methodology sets them up for…
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 08:43

Baselines - Don't Leave Planning Without Them

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When I ask project managers what a baseline is and why it’s important, they tell me that it is an approved starting point against which project performance is measured. They are right, of course.  But when I ask them if they use baselines, as often as not, I find that baselining is a fundamental project management practice that is neglected by many project managers and organizations. Lack of good project discipline or good tools probably explains why many projects don’t get baselined.  Understanding project performance and providing input into lessons learned are two obvious reasons for utilizing baselines. One perspective…
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 08:20

Closing the Confidence Gap in Change Leadership

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Without a doubt, how well we handle change plays a large role in determining our success in life. The same is true for companies—those that are more agile at managing change in their organizations can drive better performance. Most of us know this intuitively—social media forums in project management, IT leadership, and business analysis continuously buzz about how leaders can amp up business results through change. Whether designing and implementing new solutions, improving business processes, stretching business unit targets, or managing people, we all play a role in helping our companies innovate and grow. In fact, a recent survey of…
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 08:42

The Problem with Red, Yellow, Green Project Status

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Many years ago I worked in a Project Management Office at a large financial institution. Once a week I prepared a project status report for executive management and the PMO director. I would calculate how we were tracking to budget, list any major issues or risks, and summarize overall status. I was also told to mark the project as red, yellow, or green – using the following definitions:
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 08:10

Why Should I Insist That Team Members Be Full-Time?

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Most Agile experts recommend dedicating people full-time to their Agile team. Developers, testers, and other professionals should only deal with items in their team’s work stream — the backlog. This minimizes the cost of switching between unrelated activities and enables the team members to concentrate on their work. Management usually frowns on this advice, for two reasons: They want to maximize people’s output. If someone is only needed 80% of the time on one project, what happens with the rest of his time? The workload usually includes more than net new development. It also includes production support, some training, fixing…
To almost quote Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” – to document or not to document, that is a risk question.  This article is a follow-up to the BATimes publication, “Verifying Requirements Documentation.”  As author of the article, I took special note of a readers comment on providing organizations a continuous process improvement model on composing a business requirements document (BRD).  The comment was: “... I too found some things worth cutting and pasting into some training or checklist material. The post script was prophetic - the environment for BRD seems to be getting squeezed by those who find the whole process "too cumbersome"…