Musings on Project Management

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."

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Culture vs Strategy

Musings on Project Management

Culture vs strategy? Put that way, it sounds like a competition Hello! It is. And: "Culture eats strategy for breakfast every day" (Unknown author) Meaning: Change is hard! People are gounded in culture; it's foundational; it's a matter of security and well-being. Resist! Bring your A-game Any strategic idea that has to overcome culture better be a strong one. Come with your A-game! Expect. human factors Strategy

Value stream mapping -- new or old?

Musings on Project Management

Value stream mapping seems to be a new label on old wine. But nevertheless, the wine ages well. In the "old days", we simply called it process mapping. Value stream mapping derives from the Lean community, where of course the focus is on leaning out non-value add.

2019 244

About choice

Musings on Project Management

I've been working on a couple of projects with my wife. From her I get this little item in a text: I wasn't laughing. honestly! Buy them at any online book retailer! human factors

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Organizing for Customer Centricity

Speaker: Tatyana Mamut, Head of Product, Nextdoor

Most companies today say they are “customer centric.” Yet many still make decisions primarily based on competitor threats, technical architecture, or executive opinions. So what sets apart those that talk the talk, and those that walk the walk? Join Nextdoor's Head of Product Tatyana Mamut, PhD as she outlines the 7 habits of truly customer-centric companies.

Feasibility and risk assessment guide

Musings on Project Management

A posting from Matthew Squair put me onto a nice one page pdf template for requirements feasibility and risk assessment. The chart links compliance, achievability, and technical consequences.

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Crafting a value statement

Musings on Project Management

Value, like quality, is elusive to define "they" say. In the eye of the beholder, etc. Fair enough What do we think of this manifesto (*)? The purpose of professional management is to serve clients, shareholders, workers and employees, as well as societies, to harmonize the different interests of stakeholders" Certainly "professional management" includes professional project management. And Project Value

2019 163

Let them figure it out

Musings on Project Management

"Let them figure it out" is the mantra for small team management at its best. I'm constantly amazed at how fast and successfully small teams converge to a local optimization, finding a methodology for doing whatever they are doing that maximizes their interests. Local optimization In several recent situations I was an observer and a participant as 20 or teams of anywhere from 2 to 6 people. Teamwork

2019 188

microknowledge vs micromanagement

Musings on Project Management

Robert Gates, former U.S. Defense Secretary, 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. " But, this stuff is not free. Didn't Malcolm Gladwell say: Project Management

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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

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.

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?

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Unintended consequences of metrics

Musings on Project Management

In the online "Cross Talk -- Journal of Defense Software Engineering" for Sept Oct 2016 there is a an article entitled "Positive Influences and Unintended Consequences" by Rob Ashmore and Mike Standish of the U.K. Defence Science and Technology Laboratory On the general topic of metrics, they make the point that generally all metrics have unintended consequences. (No No news there; I think we. Project Management system engineering

2016 204

Business literacy

Musings on Project Management

In a recent essay, we learn that law students are now beginning to get courses and intern experience about running a real business. How novel! People who work for money acquiring an understanding of how money is made in a business. Business and the PMBOK? Now, looking through the PMBOK and similar guides and manuals, you'd be hard pressed to find much from a MBA agenda or even basic. Project Management

2019 163

Who said 'hybrid Agile'?

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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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.

Approaching team burnout

Musings on Project Management

Are you on one of those death march projects about to burn out. Want some time off? Perhaps it's in the plan Formula solution Google among others -- Microsoft, etc -- are well known for the "time off, do. what you want toward self improvement and personnel innovation" model; formulas like that lend objectivity to the process (not playing. favorites, etc). Note: more on this in the "6x2x1". human factors Teamwork

2019 163

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

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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

Getting it done

Musings on Project Management

"Others may have plans; I have deadlines" Amy Klobuchar Senator This sentiment has been expressed in other forms, most famously by many: Plans don't survive first touch with reality Plans are nothing; planning is everything The big idea: Plans are the process; outcomes are the value. Manage with milestones Detail planning is good -- it brings out the interdependencies and. planning Quotations

2019 163

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?

Think for yourself?

Musings on Project Management

"Don't take a [drink of] the Kool-Aid when you don't know the flavor" Cory Booker Senator. In other words: You may like what you hear; just be sure you understand what it is you like Buy them at any online book retailer! Project Management Quotations

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Project narrative

Musings on Project Management

Agile leans heavily on the idea of "the narrative" or "epoch"; other. methodologies speak of strategic outcomes and value statements. In any form there is the. inference of "the" narrative, as though there is only one arching aiming point for the project. Not so fast! Not all might agree; alas, there might be (are you ready for this?) disagreements regarding the value statement, narrative, or Project Management

2019 163

I've got to write a RFP

Musings on Project Management

Ever been asked to write an RFP (request for proposal)? It may not be as easy as you think. My metric is about 2-3 hours per finished page, exclusive of specifications. Specs are normally just imported. So, it could take you the best part of a week to put an RFP in place.

2019 247

After that, we had 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) You've got to smile at that witticism! The Admiral Dr (*), of course, is credited with leading the team that developed the first linking complier that led directly to COBOL. system engineering

2019 163

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.

Kanban, WIP, etc

Musings on Project Management

Kanban, WIP, and three others are what I frame as "five tools for managing" I've put it together in this slideshare.net presentation (*): Five tools for managing projects from John Goodpasture. (*) See: slideshare.net/jgoodpas for all of my online stuff. free for download, but an attribution would be appreciated Buy them at any online book retailer! Project Management

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Critiquing behaviors

Musings on Project Management

It was famously said, in a paraphrase: lead people, manage things. I buy into this advice, so I'm always on the alert for something that plays into it. So here's a distillation of best practice for delivering criticism. And, full disclosure: the first time I really had to do this, I really screwed it up! So, the main points are: Deliver the news in person, not on the phone, Facebook, or by human factors

2019 163

Grand strategy -- an illusion?

Musings on Project Management

Every enterprise engages in strategy. It's a matter of routine to some: Driven by the calendar, it's now time to do the "strategic plan". To others, it's another name for how to engage with risk -- a risk might be a tactical failure, but at the same time, it could be a strategic success: The other guy won today, but he killed himself doing it. And, of course, there is always self-interest: Strategic Plan Strategy

"Little Data"

Musings on Project Management

"Big Data" is the meme du jour, 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. Let's Excel So, assuming you using Excel as a spreadsheet for doing actual calculations and data entry, you will find that. Project Management

2019 163

Managing The Project Budget - Developing Your Project Management Skills

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

Micrometers, chalk, and axes

Musings on Project Management

On a recent aircraft restoration project I learned this 3-step process of. mechanics (who knew? You can't make this stuff up!), which in three short statements illustrates the axiom that a process, viewed end-to-end, is not better than it's worst component, and also. Precision and accuracy, no matter how diligent, are wasted on the poorest resolution of the process. Measure with a. Project Management

2019 163

Who calls anymore?

Musings on Project Management

Who calls anymore? Some, but many fewer than before. unless it's a robo call It's surely not news that a lot of business communication has moved to the text and email. Fair enough But, that leaves much more communication open loop and unacknowledged than is/was the case with the telephone call. That may not end well. Such open loop communications violates basic control-loop theory. To wit Project Management

2019 174

Soccer for 3 year-olds

Musings on Project Management

Ever been to a soccer match with 3 year-olds on the field? All go for the ball all the time; it's just a herd moving around the field (*), more or less with ball the center of attention. But, little is done except to kick at the ball. And certainly no one is ready for the breakout. And this applies to project management how? The best example is email with the dozen addressees. Everyone gets. communication human factors

2019 163

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

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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.

Oceans to fly

Musings on Project Management

Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it. Is it reckless? Maybe. But what do dreams know boundaries? Amelia Earhart This month we celebrate the Apollo program and the flight of Apollo 11 specifically, the first man-to-land-on-moon mission completed 50 years ago this month. (*) Surely Apollo was our ocean of the times, 50 years ago. And, coming only 11 years after the. Quotations Risk Management

2019 163

Executive leadership -- the big three

Musings on Project Management

Want to be a leader? Think you are a leader? Admire someone who is a leader? These three attributes better be in place, and obvious: Be able to recruit the right people. Recognize talent; get the talent fitted to the task, considering not only experience, but temperament and judgment; toughness and stress tolerance. if you make a boo-boo here, have the strength to relieve the untalented. leadership

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

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A historical perspective

Musings on Project Management

The future may not repeat history, but it rhymes Anonymous No linearity Another way to understand the opening witticism is that activities guided by people aren't amenable to linear -- that is, straight line -- projections and forecasts. But they are often close Fair enough. most would agree. Experience keeps us between the lines, as it were. The upshot is that using the facts of. Project Management

2019 163

Top 5 Project Management Report Templates

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