Kiron Bondale

COVID-19 and agile are strange bed fellows

Kiron Bondale

COVID-19 is like that car accident just up ahead which you know you shouldn’t be focusing on while driving, but which draws the attention of all around it.

2020 250

Planning for those project disasters that no one wants to think about

Kiron Bondale

Harvard Business Review published an article this week about how boards can prepare for unexpected calamities such as pandemics, natural disasters or cyber-attacks.

2020 193

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Let’s flatten five agile fallacies!

Kiron Bondale

In 2015 I wrote an article intending to debunk some common myths about project management. Like many of you, I spent a reasonable amount of time during my first few years participating in online forums correcting agile misconceptions. Unfortunately, just like lopping heads off the Hydra, every time I’d address one myth, a short time later it would re-emerge. Recognizing the futility of trying to permanently suppress fallacies, I stopped responding to such discussions.

2020 139

All hands abandon plans!

Kiron Bondale

Articles have been written about the importance of doing just enough planning to develop confidence in what we are proposing to do as well as the perils of either too much or too little planning. But even a good enough plan can become obsolete at some point and we need the wisdom to know when it is time to jettison it. A common portfolio management anti-pattern is the inability of gatekeepers to terminate low value projects in a timely manner.

2020 181

Task Management For Project Managers

How can project planning that stretches over months or years remain relevant and account for new ad-hoc activities that arrive every day?

Early experimentation is key to reducing project risk

Kiron Bondale

Inspection and adaptation are two of the pillars of the Scrum framework but all agile methods recognize the wisdom of Deming’s Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle.

Risk 233

Vigilance is vital to avoid velocity vices!

Kiron Bondale

After daily coordination events (a.k.a. Scrums, standups or huddles), velocity might be the most misused tool by teams new to agile and the stakeholders supporting them.

2020 181

How do you handle unresponsive key project stakeholders?

Kiron Bondale

It is a common challenge for anyone who has managed projects for a meaningful amount of time. One or more of your key stakeholders who are integral to the successful completion of the project appears unwilling to engage as expected.

2020 275

Go slow (to go fast later)

Kiron Bondale

The January 2020 issue of PM Network provide a case study for one of the 2019 PMI Project of the Year finalists, the Société de transport de Montréal’s (STM) eight-year project to modernize the underground Montréal rail system.

2020 245

Change management helps when implementing risk responses

Kiron Bondale

A student in a project management class I taught shared the concern that it was very hard for her to get risk responses implemented. This is a fairly common problem and is likely one of the reasons that the volunteers who updated the PMBOK Guide, Sixth Edition added Implement Risk Responses as a new process within the Project Risk Management knowledge area.

Risk 217

Managing The Project Budget - Developing Your Project Management Skills

This eBook describes the process of managing the project budget and its associated costs.

How will I get a job as a remote project manager if I’ve never been one before?

Kiron Bondale

While checking my LinkedIn feed this morning, I saw an update indicating that there are over 2,000 job postings for remote project managers on just one North American employment site.

2020 246

Don’t neglect your “back to the office” plan!

Kiron Bondale

It would be an understatement to say that project managers have had to deal with a lot of change this year. Projects have had their budgets vastly reduced or been cancelled outright, and remote work has become the norm rather than the exception. We are still far from the end of the pandemic, but in those areas where they have successfully flattened their first waves, some companies are starting to encourage their staff to return to the office.

2020 139

It’s the end of your project, but has the moment been prepared for?

Kiron Bondale

I’m sure some of you have led projects where everything appeared to be going swimmingly right up to the finish line only to find that you had somehow stepped into the project equivalent of the Hotel California.

2020 199

Create a culture of appreciation within your virtual team

Kiron Bondale

Sabina Nawaz’s article “ In Times of Crisis, a Little Thanks Goes a Long Way “, which was published this week on HBR.org, is a great reminder of the need we all have to be appreciated. In a blog post from a few years back I’d written that team members need to possess sufficient Capacity, Capability and Commitment to contribute towards the success of the team.

2020 192

Top 5 Project Management Report Templates

These FREE most popular templates will help you perform your role more efficiently.

“Organize Around Products/Services” is a great addition to the Disciplined Agile principles

Kiron Bondale

The Disciplined Agile (DA) principles were recently refactored and as part of this refactoring, a principle was added: “Organize Around Products/Services” While it is just one of the eight principles, this new one aligns very well with lean thinking. It also addresses many challenges which leadership teams experience with agile transformations.

2020 167

Essentialism is agile

Kiron Bondale

Agile 260

Helping functional managers through an agile transformation

Kiron Bondale

A lot has been written about the challenges caused by functional managers when their company undergoes an agile transformation. But with this emphasis on what they shouldn’t be doing, not as much gets published about the specific activities we should be doing to help them through the change.

2018 208

Handling complexity requires psychological safety

Kiron Bondale

I wrote two weeks back about Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) and the benefit of models such as Cynefin and the Theory of Constraints for being able to understand them. What I didn’t focus on in that article was how important the people element is when dealing with CAS.

2020 212

Using Continuous Customer Testing for Pandemic-Proof Product Success

Speaker: Luke Freiler, CEO and co-founder of Centercode

After weathering recessions with a wide range of iconic customers, CEO and Product Manager Luke Freiler has seen first hand the impact the Voice of the Customer has had in making or breaking tech companies during hard times. He's going to walk you through an agile process for continuous customer testing that saves you time and gives you full confidence in your products — no matter how many you're sending out the door this year.

The only thing we have to fear on projects is…

Kiron Bondale

“ … the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself. ” When FDR spoke those words as part of his presidential inaugural address in March 1933, it was meant to inspire a nation to recover from the depths of the Great Depression.

2020 206

Cultural transformations of high-performing teams

Kiron Bondale

While I was delivering a course on agile fundamentals this week, one of the learners in the class asked me how the mindset and behaviors normally associated with agile teams might impact or be impacted by culture.

2019 195

Are you an unbeliever?

Kiron Bondale

I was asked a very unique question by one of the learners in a project management course I taught this week: “ How do I motivate my team members when even I don’t believe in the project? “ While I’d been posed this question for the first time, it is not an uncommon challenge.

2020 165

How effective are your agile ceremonies?

Kiron Bondale

We hope that by conducting effective ceremonies we will achieve the agile trinity of improved value delivery, better quality and more fun. But these objectives might be reached via multiple paths so we might not be able to prove causality between our ceremonies and those objectives.

Agile 233

Social Collaborative Management: Harnessing the Power of the Many

Speaker: Peter Taylor, Speaker & Author of The Lazy Project Manager

Social Collaborative Management aims at delivering, at the enterprise level, a common goal for the business while harnessing the performance advantages of a collaborative community. This is a vital paradigm shift that many organisations are trying to understand right now - balancing traditional work and centralised leadership against the value of decentralised teams and trust. But the principles of harnessing collective power, collaboration, and community build an underlying ‘constant change’ capability that is critical in today’s new work environment.

Building virtual teams starts with effective kick-off meetings

Kiron Bondale

Remote teaming is not a new concept but physical distancing restrictions have forced many project managers who had never previously worked with teams of dispersed team members to quickly adapt. While this transition might create a few hiccups with a well established team it will much more challenging when we are working with teams whose members have never worked together.

2020 195

Low psychological safety might be why planning assumptions remain unstated

Kiron Bondale

Scott Adams does a good job above of illustrating one of the many perils of low levels of psychological safety within a team. Dilbert is trying to raise reasonable doubts with his leader, the Pointy-Haired Boss, but his concerns are met with the threat of losing his job. How likely is it that Dilbert will raise such concerns in the future? While this scenario has been dramatized for comedy purposes, it sometimes ends with tragic results.

2020 133

Impacts of traditional project funding models on agile delivery

Kiron Bondale

In one of my previous articles I’d written about the need for change across multiple areas of an organization when undertaking an agile transformation.

2018 199

Don’t ignore appetite when it comes to risk response!

Kiron Bondale

I’ll admit to being hyperbolic with the title of this article, but a question posed today in one of the project management LinkedIn discussion groups managed to sidetrack what I was intending to write about this week. The author asked what needs to be considered when planning risk responses. The majority of the answers offered focused on characteristics of the individual risks themselves such as their probability, impact, ability to be responded to and so on.

2020 139

Collaborate Better with Your Customer-Facing Teams

Speaker: Hope Gurion, Product Leader Coach, Fearless Product LLC

Customer discovery is the lifeblood of product teams to identify the most important customer needs to solve next. Often it's the Product and UX members of the trio who take lead on facilitating this discovery. But what about other customer-facing teams in an organization? How do product teams best partner with these teams to understand customers’ unmet needs and decide which needs to address next?

How open are YOU to changing your launch plans?

Kiron Bondale

During the last week PMI announced that, based on the feedback they had received from stakeholders, they would be delaying the significant changes to the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification exam which had originally planned to be launched in mid-December 2019 to July 1, 2020. When I first read this, I felt a burst of vicarious relief for those exam candidates who were likely experiencing a lot of stress with the original date.

2019 183

Do not compromise on knowledge when filling the Product Owner role

Kiron Bondale

The product owner role is extremely challenging for most organizations to fill. It is also the role which has the greatest impact on achieving expected delivery outcomes. An average delivery team might still be able to successfully launch a product or service even if it is late, over budget or not at the highest level of quality. But if the product or service itself is lacking key requirements which stakeholders need, it will never succeed.

2020 159

Agile advice from our ancestors

Kiron Bondale

Old sayings might not be the first thing which comes to mind when considering agility, there are many proverbs which are apropos. Two heads are better than one (or the similar Maasai proverb “One head cannot hold all wisdom.”) ”) : I’ve found this saying to be useful when presenting pair programming.

Agile 192

Use uncertainty poker to increase alignment on delivery approaches

Kiron Bondale

Part of tailoring our approach to delivering a project needs to consider its relative level of uncertainty. While it is not the only determinant of complexity, uncertainty is certainly a key contributing factor. And while there are other dimensions which need to be evaluated when deciding whether to utilize a predictive or adaptive life cycle, higher uncertainty would be a supporting factor for the latter.

2020 160

Leading Under Uncertainty

Speaker: Greg Coticchia, CEO & Founder of ENTRA

Organizations of all types and sizes are facing common challenges of how to deal with the uncertainty in our current professional and personal lives. How can you plan when you are uncertain of what's next? On a product level, how can you be sure of delivering the ‘right’ messaging, products, solutions, and services to customers? How do you survive to fight the fight another day? In this session, we will discuss important tips for you as a Product Manager dealing with uncertainty. At the same time, we will discuss another important aspect of dealing with uncertainty, and that is building trust, especially while many of us are working remotely or in new or different settings.

What are the tipping points for your agile transformation?

Kiron Bondale

I’ve frequently said that agile transformations are marathons and not sprints. But when someone runs a marathon there are mile markers to understand how far they’ve come and to help them get their second (or third or fourth) wind.

2018 208

How can we evaluate risks more objectively?

Kiron Bondale

Objective : Expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations (Merriam-Webster). I responded to a discussion thread on ProjectManagement.com this week about categorizing risks and after doing so, I spent some time thinking about the impacts of bias on how we evaluate risks.

Risk 144

Thriving at the Edge of Chaos – a review

Kiron Bondale

Over the past couple of years I have regularly heard companies, their portfolios and even individual projects referred to as Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS).

2020 181

How many hats should a Scrum Master wear?

Kiron Bondale

I’ve run into a few situations recently where Scrum Masters (SMs) are performing multiple roles and while they might have the capacity to do so, on any moderate sized initiative, it might be difficult for them to fulfill all the responsibilities of the SM role.

SCRUM 229

Use Discovery and Delivery to Experiment Our Way to a New Normal

Speaker: Johanna Rothman, Management Consultant, Rothman Consulting Group

Many of us are accustomed to planning for either discovery or delivery. We know how to plan for where we want to be for a product (delivery). And, we know how to plan to discover a market (discovery). Right now in 2020, those plans might not be worth anything. The world is still in upheaval—and no one has a crystal ball to know when we should plan more in-depth. Instead of planning for either discovery or delivery, we can use experiments—for all our work. When we focus on experimentation, small bets, and short feedback loops, we can create the kinds of products our customers will love.