Musings on Project Management

So, you need a System Integrator -- SI

Musings on Project Management

You've got a big (big!) project with a lot of moving parts (different contractors doing different stuff). You've been told: Get yourself an SI! The questions at hand: what is a System Integrator (aka SI), and what do they do?

2020 195

Agile down the ages

Musings on Project Management

In the beginning, there was pre-history Agile, almost prehistoric era: Before 2000 and the meeting in Utah that birthed modern Agile Rogue developers trying various "light weight" and "rapid" prototyping and coding practises.

Agile 195

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Job done?

Musings on Project Management

Agile Principle 5: Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. Trust them to get the job done. What job? Is it the job described in the business plan and in subsequent project plans, albeit lean plans consistent with the Agile Manifesto? Is it the job that has been estimated and scheduled? Is it the job. agile

Lean 163

Two doors for risk managers

Musings on Project Management

A narrative* Imagine two doors to the same room: One labeled risk manager; the other labeled decision maker. Though the risk manager's door, entry is for the inductive thinker: facts looking for a generality or integrating narrative Through the decision maker's door, entry is for the deductive thinker: visionary with a need to connect specifics to the vision And, consider this: Pessimists. Risk Management

Risk 150

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?

Agile -- what it means

Musings on Project Management

Dilbert: We need 3 more programmers. Boss: Use agile programming methods. Dilbert: Agile programming does not mean doing more work with less people. Boss: Find me some words that do mean that and ask again Dilbert is a creation of Scott Adams And so, you might ask: what does agile mean?

Agile 227

Stage gates and Agile?

Musings on Project Management

Stage gates and Agile? To some, that might sound horrifying! Not exactly! One of my Agile Project Management students asked me about stage gates and agile. My first response was this: Agile is not a gated methodology, primarily because scope is viewed as emergent, and thus the idea of pre-determined gate criteria is inconsistent with progressive elaboration and emergence. Agile does. agile

Agile 237

Scaling down, down

Musings on Project Management

Most of the posts I read are about scaling up to ever larger projects, but what about scaling down? What if you are doing bug fixes and small scale projects with just one or two people? Is a methodology of any help, And if you're working with software, can Agile be helpful scaled down? Methodology To the first point, my answer is: Sure! A methodology -- which is just a repeated way of. Project Management

2020 150

If you can't draw it.

Musings on Project Management

Many creative people will tell you that new ideas begin -- often spontaneously -- with a mind's sketch that they then render in some kind of media. Fair enough -- no news there. We've talked about storyboards, etc before. But then the heavy lifting begins. How to fill in the details? Where to start? My advice: Draw it first. If you can't draw it, you can't build it! And so the. planning Project Management system engineering

2020 150

Very short course in risk management

Musings on Project Management

Need a quick introduction to risk management? Don't have much time for this? Try this very short course on risk management (no math required!). Risk management short course from John Goodpasture. Buy them at any online book retailer! Risk Management

Risk 150

Managing The Project Budget - Developing Your Project Management Skills

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

Agile and R/D

Musings on Project Management

I was recently asked if Agile and 'R/D' go together. Good question! I'm glad you asked. The issue at hand: how do you reconcile agile's call for product delivery to users every few weeks with the unknowns and false starts in a real R/D project? Let's start with OPM. Other people's money. And the first question: What have you committed to do with the money? There are two possible. agile

Agile 150

Excel is watching you!

Musings on Project Management

2019 212

Backlog management

Musings on Project Management

Yikes! My backlog is blocked! How can this be? We're agile. or maybe we've become de-agiled. Can that happen? Ah yes, we're agile, but perhaps not everything in the portfolio is agile; indeed, perhaps not everything in the project is agile. In the event, coupling the culprit Coupling? Coupling is system engineering speak for transferring one effect onto another, or causing an effect by. agile

2019 190

The many flavors of scope creep

Musings on Project Management

Can there be scope creep in Agile? Doesn't agile define creep 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."

2019 212

Top 5 Project Management Report Templates

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

Can you beat a checklist?

Musings on Project Management

Can anyone image doing serious risk management without a checklist? The answer, of course, is No. or, it should be!) Actually, any procedural management can benefit from a checklist. There's been whole books written about checklists. In fact, one of the more prominent books -- "The Checklist Manefesto" by Dr. A. Gawande -- entitles Chapter 1: "The Problem of Extreme Complexity", Project Management

2019 243

Risk un-management

Musings on Project Management

Risk un-management? Perhaps the largest task within risk management, and requiring the greatest judgment, is "risk un-management" On any project there are going to be dozens, perhaps hundreds, of unmanaged risks. These comprise the population to be un-managed. I doubt this is news to anyone, but these are, as a group, more numerous than those selected for the usual risk management paradigm. Risk Management

Risk 197

Two doors: risk and decision managers

Musings on Project Management

A narrative* Imagine two doors to the same room: One labeled risk manager; the other labeled decision maker. Though the risk manager's door, entry is for the inductive thinker: facts, experience, history looking for a generality or integrating narrative Through the decision maker's door, entry is for the deductive thinker: visionary with a need to articulate specifics for the vision Risk Management

Risk 207

Hey, we can put it off until.

Musings on Project Management

Are you a procrastinator? Do you procrastinate and still try to manage schedule? Do you think of yourself as a procrastinator who can manage risk? Do you understand that managing schedule risk is tantamount to managing the concept of schedule buffers and the critical chain methodology? Then, you'll understand that handling your tendency to put things off, and thereby forcing upon you. Risk Management

Walk a Mile in Your Customer's Shoes

Speaker: Steven Haines, Founder and CEO, Sequent Learning Networks

Product professionals use phrases like "voice of the customer," and "user experience" so often that it can be easy to lose sight of their actual meanings. How can we, as product professionals, learn to keep customers and users at the heart of our work? Join Steven Haines, globally recognized thought leader and author, as he guides us through a memorable journey demonstrating how you can walk a mile in their customer's shoes. He'll explore how, by developing true empathy for your users, you can ensure you're creating the features and products they actually want.

Mixing Agile with 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

Agile 183

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!

2018 269

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

Agile 183

Against the Gods. (no luck required)

Musings on Project Management

If you are in the project management (read: risk management) business, one of the best books that describes the philosophy and foundation for modern risk management is Bernstein's "Against the Gods: the remarkable story of risk". Between the covers of this "must read" we learn this bit: The essence of risk management lies in maximizing the areas where we have some control over the outcome. Risk Management

2019 200

How To Take Action on Customer Discovery

Speaker: Nick Noreña, Innovation Coach and Advisor, Kromatic

We all want to build successful products - and that means satisfied customers. Before anything else, you must understand what problems you can solve. The best way to do that is to get out of the building and start asking questions. But how can you make the most of those conversations, and ensure that you walk away with productive insights? Join Nick Noreña, educator, entrepreneur, and currently Innovation Coach and Advisor at Kromatic, as he covers how we can effectively action our findings from customer discovery conversations.

Agile for Project Managers: an analogy

Musings on Project Management

It's been a few years since I wrote the material for the presentation below, but I find it timeless. It's all about an analogy It's all about how a self-directed team working on a mission of top-down importance and specification -- these imperatives coming from executive leaders -- get the job down sufficiently well (in Agile speak: well enough) to succeed. Agile for project managers - agile

Agile 204

Through the doors

Musings on Project Management

A narrative Imagine two doors to the same room: One labeled risk manager; the other labeled decision maker. Though the risk manager's door, entry is for the inductive thinkers: those armed with facts looking for a supporting generality or an integrating narrative Through the decision maker's door, entry is for the deductive thinkers: those visionaries with a capacity to envision specifics. Risk Management

2019 150

Agile and the V-and-V thing

Musings on Project Management

Have you thought much about this? Two of the conceptual conundrums of the hybrid methodology project are: How do you verify that which is incomplete and. How do you validate the efficacy of that which is yet to be conceived? Verification and validation (V-and-V) are traditionally held to be very important project practises that are difficult to map directly into the Agile domain. agile

Agile 215

Agile strong -- a reveiw

Musings on Project Management

Trying to remember how you got here? Perhaps Understanding why you're sticking around is also important So, here's my top ten reasons why agile has worked for me 1. Agile is a "best value" method: it's doctrine is centered on value and accomplishment for the customer and user, not so much adherence to cost and schedule--though the sponsor's investment can not be exceeded, so cost is at. agile

Agile 195

Make an Impact with Analytics and Journey Maps

Speaker: Kirui K. K., Co-founder and CEO of Tanasuk Africa

If you want to offer a better user experience, it can be tempting to track each and every data point in your product. However, this can quickly get complicated and overwhelming as you collect more and more data. How do you know which metrics will help you improve? Kirui K. K., Co-founder & CEO Tanasuk Africa, wants you to know that analytics don't have to be complicated to make an impact - no matter the size of your company. Join him as he explains how to create a customer journey map, then use that map to figure out the metrics you need to know - and how to use them.

"Open" risk management

Musings on Project Management

To be open Every text and paper I've read describes risk management like many other project processes: open, transparent, available to any on the project team. Risks are identified, evaluated, ranked, made subject to some form of risk reduction paradigm; and everyone is made aware. Oh, but if it only were! Most of us can handle the text book process. It's more will than capability But, on. Risk Management

Risk 163

Council for the product owner

Musings on Project Management

I got this idea from a student; I think it has merit, so I'll pass it along here: The POCOur backlog is managed by our Product Owners Council (POC), made up of 7 voting members representing the users in the global markets. The voting members are responsible for translating their constituent user requirements into user stories for review by the council. The council members bring their user. agile

2019 150

Quantitative risk for the new guy on the street

Musings on Project Management

Repetition and review are good--Malcom Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to be expert at anything--so here's a few words that will take a few minutes on three important quantitative concepts every risk manager should know: Concept 1: Centrality Most phenomenon of interest to projects, particularly naturally occurring phenomenon, tend to cluster around a central value, given enough samples. risk Risk Management

Risk 207

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

Your Post-Launch Toolkit for Understanding Your Users

Speaker: Brittney Gwynn, former Director of Product, Simple Health

If you've ever launched an MVP, you know that the journey has only just begun. How do you figure out what to do next? You know that you need to look at how different user segments react, but how do you quickly distinguish signal from noise so you can iterate and improve? Join Brittney Gwynn, former Director of Product at Simple Health, as she explains how you can use early customer feedback, usage data, and continuous experimentation to optimize your journey to product-market fit. Whether you're at a brand-new company, or looking to innovate within a more mature organization, or anywhere in between, you'll come away with a new skill set, ready to make the most of your launches.

Agile and R/D

Musings on Project Management

I was recently asked if Agile and 'R/D' go together. The issue at hand: how do you reconcile agile's call for product delivery to users every few weeks with the unknowns and false starts in a real R/D project? Good question! I'm glad you asked. Let's start with OPM. Other people's money. And the first question: What have you committed to do? There are two possible answers: (1). agile

Agile 183

Measure the measurable

Musings on Project Management

Without Metrics you're just another guy with an opinion - Stephan Leschka, Hewlett Packard* I get it; and mostly, I agree with Mr. Leschka BUT, there are a few other rules: Don't measure -- meaning: don't invest the effort to collect and analyze -- that which you don't manage Don't measure the unmeasurable -- meaning, don't assign false values and dimensions to that which is fundamentally. estimate Strategic Plan

2019 204

Kill the messenger?

Musings on Project Management

The messenger: “Unfortunately, my King … here I am, unwilling and unwanted … because I know that no one ever welcomes a bearer of bad news.” Antigone by Sophocles, circa 442 BC The surprise: “It is pardonable to be defeated, but never to be surprised.” Frederick, the Great Who's listening? Pedro C. Ribeiro, writing in NASA's ASK magazine, has a nice posting on risk perception. Risk Management

2019 163

Percent complete -- Boo!

Musings on Project Management

Perhaps I've said this before. I certainly intended to. But, percent complete is a worthless metric Not a value measurement: Percent complete is a ratio. The ratio is dimensionless, whereas value has a dimension; it can be measured. Percent complete is not only not a measure of value completed; it’s really not even a measure of completeness, even if some things are "completed" at less. agile Project Management Project Value

2019 163

A Simple Framework for Complex User Goals

Speaker: Hannah Stegen, Customer Service Manager, Crescendo

How can you measure and affect your users' behavior if they're not doing something that's easily measurable? You can monitor usage, activation, retention, and more, but those metrics don't always align with every one of your goals for your users. Hope is not lost, however: with the right framework, you can still make sure your users are on track. Join Hannah Stegen (she/her), Customer Success Manager at Crescendo as she explains how you can monitor even the most complex user journeys by breaking them up into Attitude, Intention, and Behavior.