Musings on Project Management

Agile: revolution to evolution

Musings on Project Management

20 odd years ago, Agile was a revolution in methodology and some say a revolution in business objectives, all set down in some now-well-known principles from the last '90s. But, has there not been an evolution in the last two decades? Mike Cohn, a spearhead in the Scrum world to be sure, says this: Originally, agile meant valuing individuals and interactions, working software, customer. agile

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Alice, the Cat, and Agile

Musings on Project Management

I've heard it many times that this little ditty is the essence of why Agile is problematic with its dearth of plans, estimates, etc: "Would you tell me, please which way I ought to go from here? That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat. 'I I don't much care,' said Alice. Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat. 'So So long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice. agile

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The Agile Canon

Musings on Project Management

I thought this posting on the "Agile Canon" was worthy of passing along in its entirety. So, there's the link for a pretty good read on the most important elements of a canon that all should be interested in adopting: Measure Economic Progress: Outcomes, means to measure, means to forecast Proactively Experiment to Improve: Assess options, embrace diversity and variability, execute. agile

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Leveraging customer relationships

Musings on Project Management

One of my students offered this strategy for establishing, maintaining, and leveraging relationships with the customer. I thought it was pretty good, so here's the idea: 1. Customer Account Responsible (ACR) -- who. is the Account Manager. for the domain, market or dedicated to the customer (big accounts) responsible for: Account relationships, Opportunity identification, Commercial. customer human factors

2018 170

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?

Validation and Verification -- in Agile? Really?

Musings on Project Management

Validation and Verification: traditionalists know these ideas well. Do they still have relevance in the Agile space? My opinion: Yes! Traditional V-and-V: the way it is Traditional projects rely on validation and verification (V-and-V) for end-to-end auditing of requirements: Validation: the requirements ‘deck’ is validated for completeness and accuracy. If there are priorities. agile

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Program success dashboard

Musings on Project Management

Looking for project dashboard that really provides insight at a glance? This one from John Higbee might be the answer If you've not a Higbee person, maybe you've not seen it. Take a look at John Higbee's presentation about "Program Success Probability". (*) Take notice of the neat arrangement of program success divided left and right by internal and external factors. On page 5 of Higbee's Project Management Risk Management

2018 170

Bad Haircut

Musings on Project Management

The bad haircut What do you say when your colleague comes in with a bad haircut? (*) Jump on it? Criticize it? Threaten abuse? Probably none of the above; probably you ignore it or make some civil remark The bad idea What if the same person comes in with a bad idea? Now what? Probably you can't ignore it, but your commentary can be civil, inquiring, benefit of the doubt and all that (Speak communication human factors

2018 170

Plan A (or B, C, D)

Musings on Project Management

There is always Plan A: "Do nothing" This is actually different from "do no harm"; do-no-harm could be Plan B Following that theme, sticking with Plan A could actually be harmful. thus, Plan B could be not only less harmful but also could be essential for limiting harm So, presume there is always Plan A, and good management principles say: there should be a Plan B What about Plan C. planning

Communications v content

Musings on Project Management

"The New York Herald pointed out [that] the telegraph appeared to make it possible for the whole nation to have the same idea at the same moment. Henry David Thoreau raised an eyebrow: "We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate" The New York Times Nothing important to communicate? communication

Ratios! Some good; some evil

Musings on Project Management

Ratio's. as commonly applied. often violate the higher law: "Do good; avoid evil" Poster child for the evil ratio: Wouldn't it be nice if we could ban % Complete from the lexicon of project management! Complete is a ratio, numerator/denominator. The big issue is with the denominator. The denominator, which is supposed to represent the effort required, is really dynamic and not static estimate planning schedule

2018 185

Managing The Project Budget - Developing Your Project Management Skills

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

Situating reslience

Musings on Project Management

"Scholars. have situated resilience, the ability to sustain ambition in the face of frustration, at the heart of. leadership growth. Why some people are able to extract wisdom from experience, others not, remains a critical question" Doris Kearns Goodwin, Historian "Leadership in Turbulent Times". In another venue, we might say some people are naturally street smart, while others. leadership Quotations

Run to the challenge

Musings on Project Management

In the last posting, it was about heavy tails. if it doesn't happen about now it grows less likely it will happen at all. But, what if it does happen, all good management to the contrary? It could, you know. Manage the consequences As part of the management group you have to "run to the challenge", sort of a first-responder paradigm, but with much less bodily risk. Gather yourself. Risk Management

2018 170

Plausible or probable?

Musings on Project Management

Ponder this for a moment: Adding detail to the description of an uncertainty may make it seem less probable (the more you know, the less you think it will happen than a more abstract version), though it may make it more plausible Now move forward to that first tool of choice among risk managers, the risk register. The logic is this: As detail abounds and abstraction abates, plausibility Risk Management Statistics

2018 185

Is your tail heavy?

Musings on Project Management

Is your tail heavy' is the question raised at 'critical uncertainties' in a recent post. It might be if you are a risk with some "memory" of the immediate past. Risk with memory? What does that mean? The immediate past influences the immediate future The probability of the arrival of an outcome is not time-stationary: as time passes, the probabilities change The distribution of the arrival. Risk Management Statistics Testing

2018 170

What flavor is your scope creep?

Musings on Project Management

Can there be scope creep in Agile? Doesn't agile define it away in a stroke: "Scope is whatever is prioritized in the backlog that fits within the budget (OPM, other people's money) and the time. The backlog changes all the time, but that's not creep, it's just backlog management." What I just wrote is a "best value" definition of scope. But, sometimes it doesn't sell. I credit my agile. agile Project Management schedule

2018 184

Top 5 Project Management Report Templates

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

3-point estimates. good for you!

Musings on Project Management

Here's my three point estimate paradox: We all know we must estimate with three points (numbers). so we do it, reluctantly None of us actually want to work with (do arithmetic with) the three points we estimate. In a word, three point estimates suck -- not convenient, thus often put aside even if estimated -- and most of all: who among us can do arithmetic with three point estimates? But Monte Carlo Risk Management Statistics

8 Administrative Professional Conferences You Can’t Miss in 2018

Musings on Project Management

8 Administrative Professional Conferences You Can’t Miss in 2018. Have you ever noticed the amazing ideas and inspiration that come from connecting with other like-minded people who have the same profession as you? We want administrative professionals to feel that invigorating spark again and again!

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Hybrid Agile. what's that?

Musings on Project Management

What's the hybrid thing? It's agile coexisting in the same project with a traditional methodology, presumably for the swim lanes that are not software. Some call hybrid agile as: agile in the waterfall Are hybrids practical? After all, the traditional is top down planned, most requirements up front, much system testing at the end, etc. Agile is the not-traditional. Can you fashion a hybrid. agile

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Pert v Monte Carlo. some still care

Musings on Project Management

A note from a reader of some of my stuff on slideshare.net/jgoodpas: ". I just read your slide presentation on using stats in project management and am a bit confused or perhaps disagree. that using Monte Carlo will improve the accuracy of a schedule or budget based on subjective selections of activity or project. a) optimistic, realistic and pessimistic ($.Time) Time) values, b) a. Risk Management schedule

2018 170

Living With Technical Debt: Balancing Quality and Perfection

Speaker: Cliff Gilley, The Clever PM

As a Product Manager, you probably have to deal with technical debt. Regularly. Whether you like it or not - because it can’t be avoided. Unexpected details pop up, as small as UX that needs clean-up, and as big as a previously unforeseen flaw in the infrastructure of a project. We have to accept that nobody gets away without some technical debt. And of course, the longer you take to deal with your technical debt, the more difficult it becomes to address fully. Feeling frustrated? Fortunately, we can take a step back, gain clarity, and see how the decisions we make impact our technical debt. Then, we can make decisions about how we want to balance technical debt with other priorities. Are we willing to live with some level of technical debt in order to ship product and meet deadlines? Can we mitigate technical debt to get to an MVP faster?

Introverted. and at a conference

Musings on Project Management

If you're an introvert, attending a 3-day conference where you're expected to network and bring back new relationships, contacts, and business intelligence. Looking forward to that has got to be nothing but dread. Three days of small talk and useless chit chat about the weather? God awful! Agree? So, a few useful ideas are found here in a hbr.org essay entitled: "How Introverts Can Make human factors

2018 170

The case for "little data"

Musings on Project Management

"Big Data" is the meme of the day, but most projects run on "little data", the sort of data that fits into the constraints of spreadsheets like Excel. It's everyday stuff that drives estimates, scorecards, dashboards, task assignments, and all manner of project analytics. So, assuming you using Excel as a spreadsheet for doing actual calculations and data entry, and not a row-column table. data management Problem Solving Project Management

2018 170

Putting risk register and project plan together

Musings on Project Management

David Hulett has a presentation on his website, projectrisk.com, entitled "Schedule Risk Analysis using the Risk Driver Method and Monte Carlo Simulation". In this presentation, he develops an interesting operating idea: first, shift the Monte Carlo method to the higher level of events on the risk register, and then use those results as drivers on the schedule. His idea he explains this way: Risk Management

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"Off the cuff" is a better style

Musings on Project Management

Every project manager speaks to groups in public. it goes with the territory. But, what happens if someone drops in unexpectedly and an off the cuff briefing or speech or speaking opportunity portends? If this is not your strong suit, here's some worthy advice from John Coleman writing at the hbr.org network blog: Define a structure: The pressure of extemporaneous remarks comes from. Project Management

2018 186

The Business Opportunity of Embedded Analytics: New Findings from 500+ Application Teams

Speaker: Josh Martin, Director of Product Marketing, Logi Analytics

Embedded analytics has evolved from an afterthought to a necessity. But most companies don’t realize that the features they embed and how they develop have a lasting impact on revenue, customer churn, and competitive differentiation. The state of embedded analytics in 2018 is in flux. Learn from the experiences of 500+ application teams embedding analytics—including which features actually move the needle, how analytics benefits their companies, and what development approach yields the best results.

Did someone say: Baseline?

Musings on Project Management

In one of my past Agile classes I facilitated this discussion re baselines: Student 1: "I have a new Operations Director, and he says once you've missed a date, you re-baseline, and the item is no longer indicative of a bad/out of date status. In previous positions, we didn't always or weren't allowed to do that, so that they could track the original dates vs. current progress. Project Management

2018 150

Getting to done, even in Agile!

Musings on Project Management

Now we're getting somewhere! No less an Agile/Scrum eminence than Mike Cohn -- author of some really good books and articles -- has come out with a newsletter on -- are you ready for this? -- what's the meaning of DONE in Agile. His acronym, a bit a poor choice to my mind, is "DoD". definition of done. But, there you have it. perhaps a new GAAP "generally accepted agile practice" for. agile

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Alliance networks?

Musings on Project Management

On the HBR Blog Network, Andrew Shipilov has a eye-catching post on "hub and spoke" project networks, or alliances between project partners, as he describes them. Say "network" to me, and I always jump first to a mind's-eye image of a "mesh", but actually that's one of several general ways to think of networks, and in most situations not a good general model for governance.) When simple is. Project Management system engineering

2018 150

Musings on Project Management - Untitled Article

Musings on Project Management

A great technique for writing proposals, papers, or books -- as I do a lot -- is to storyboard the ideas. My favorite expression: "If you can't draw it, you can't write it!" Here's Einstein on the same idea: I rarely think in words at all. A thought comes and I may try to express it in words afterwards If you're not a storyboard person, check out this website for insight. Project Management

2018 150

A Guide to Designing Delightful Dashboards

Speaker: Daniel O'Sullivan, Product Designer, nCino and Jeff Hudock, Senior Product Manager, nCino

We’ve all seen the increasing industry trend of artificial intelligence and big data analytics. In a world of information overload, it's more important than ever to have a dashboard that provides data that's not only interesting but actually relevant and timely. Dashboards assist decision makers facilitate new ideas and business opportunities, increase customer approval rates, and analyze current business process. All of these activities play a vital role in providing the superior experience your customers demand.

Systems! And then there were systems

Musings on Project Management

I was reading Matthew Squair's course materials on System Safety Fundamentals when I came across this slide: "Life was simple before World War II. After that, we had systems." Rear Admiral Grace Hopper (USN) Ya gotta smile at that witicism! The Admiral Dr,of course, is best known for inventing the system "bug" when she literally found a dead bug in in an inoperative computer system. Quotations system engineering

2018 150

A Turning Point for Humanity

Musings on Project Management

Ordinarily, we here at Musings don't go into for a lot of hyperbole, but when no less an eminence than the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shouts out: "A Turning Point for Humanity: Redefining the World's Measurement System" we have to sit up and take notice And so what are we talking about here? Does this mean that all the PMOs have to turn in their sliderules and. Project Management system engineering

2018 161

They say: Story is almost everything

Musings on Project Management

"Alasdair MacIntyre argued many years ago, you can’t know what to do unless you know what story you are a part of. Story is more important than policies." "You You can get a lot of facts wrong if you get your story right." Quoted by David Brooks That last observation -- good story, wrong facts -- sounds off key, but consider: facts are in the rearview mirror; only estimates lie ahead. If you Project Management Quotations

2018 150

Is this a mix? Agile, oil, and gas

Musings on Project Management

There comes a point where more planning can not remove the remaining uncertainty, instead execution must be used to provide data and remove uncertainty. This quote comes from a nicely argued case -- from the agile blog 'leading answers' -- for mixing agile methods in rather traditional businesses, like the oil and gas exploration/production business If ever there was a business that. agile Risk Management

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Turning Metrics into Dollars: How to Turn Your Analytics Data into a Real Financial Model for your Startup

Speaker: Tristan Kromer, Lean Agile Coach, Kromatic

Some teams struggle to constantly optimize conversion rates without understanding the financial impact of those conversion rates. Sometimes that 0.1% increase isn't worth the engineering time we're spending! Early stage startups in particular may not need a four year business plan, but they need to start building out a model which will show how they can someday be profitable. At the very least, they need to be able to see the impact of a change in retention rates to their user growth.

Big data -- sorting this and that

Musings on Project Management

Running a database project? Want to be agile and try different stuff quickly? Here's some stuff you can use, and it only takes 6 minutes to learn a few things It's all about sorting "big data", to wit: millions of records.

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Hello! Robots have limits!

Musings on Project Management

Elon Musk, lamenting at the June shareholder meeting about Tesla production “One of the biggest mistakes we made was trying to automate things that are super easy for a person to do, but super hard for a robot to do,” he said. And when you see it, it looks super dumb. And you are like, wow! Why did we do that?” Read in the library at Square Peg Consulting about these books I've written Problem Solving Project Management

2018 150

Micromanage vs Microknowledge

Musings on Project Management

Robert Gates, former U.S. Defense Secretary, recently wrote in his memoirs that a strong and effective leader in a big and complex organization needs to put the time and energy into acquiring "microknowledge" but refrain from "micromanagement. An interesting thought, to be sure. Let the emphasis lie on ". put in the time and energy. This stuff is not free. Didn't Gladwell say: 10,000. human factors Project Management

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Leadership the Admiral's way

Musings on Project Management

Nearly 10 years on, it doesn't get old -- or obsolete: In the November 2010 issue of the Harvard Business Review, there is an interview with Admiral Thad Allen, the retired Coast Guard commandant and the former "National Incident Commander" for the Gulf oil spill of 2010. Entitled "You have to lead from everywhere", it's a good read for those interested in how an experienced manager with a leadership

How Agile Approaches Change Project, Program, and Product Measures

Speaker: Johanna Rothman, Management Consultant, Rothman Consulting Group

Before agile approaches took the world by storm, we used Gantt charts and defects to measure project and program progress. We had trouble measuring product progress until just before release—often too late to change anything. Join Johanna as she discusses how agile approaches change what we measure, and possible measures you might use in projects, programs, and to assess the product as the team(s) build it.