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Agility and Values-Based Leadership (Part 4): Commitment

by Andrew Burns

This fourth installment of articles scrutinizing agile frameworks based on values, principles and practices focuses on commitment (following the entries on courage, focus and openness). A stated value of the Scrum framework, commitment is everything in agile.

The Standard Project Methodology: Is it Still Relevant?

by Andy Jordan

Today’s project delivery environment is more complex than ever—more projects, more complex projects and more varied projects than ever before. Does this environment still lend itself to a single methodology? And if not, what should an organization’s approach be?

Agility and Values-Based Leadership (Part 3): Openness

by Andrew Burns

All agile frameworks may be examined in terms of core values. This third entry in a five-part series continues to explore agile frameworks from the vantage point of values, principles and practices. Agile’s Scrum framework in particular espouses five values: courage, focus, openness, respect and commitment. This offering looks at the value of openness to bring principles and practices into better relief.

Deep Dive Models in Agile (Part 1): Process Flows

by Candase Hokanson

This series provides valuable information for the product owner community to use additional good practices in their projects. In each installment, we take one of the most commonly used visual models in agile and explain how to create one—and how to use one to help build, groom or elaborate your agile backlog. The first in this series is the process flow.

Are Your Agile Testers Fish Out of Water?

by Paul Carvalho

Do you know what expertise you need now, as you enter into an agile development environment? Unfortunately, we use the same word (“testing”) in agile, but it means something different from what you have seen and managed in prior non-agile projects. If your testers are writing test cases, tracking testing progress and recording bugs in a separate defect tracking system, stop now; you are using the wrong people to do the wrong thing.

Topic Teasers Vol. 83: Does This Metric Make Me Look Fat?

by Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA

Question: Ah, the dreaded new boss! This organization works through other vendors to deliver our international training services. My team reviews them for longevity, education and certification of instructors, stability of organizational structure, quality and content of their materials, publicity and webpage honesty, and similar traits found in a high-value partner. The new boss has no background or understanding of our industry or training in general, and immediately wants to impose strict metrics to evaluate my team and me. This doesn’t seem like a good idea. Am I missing something?
A. Metrics or concrete, short-term data about the performance of each person working for an organization are crucial to make sure that team members are not slacking off and occupying a position someone else could use to bring the company more value.
B. The new boss is trying to make his or her mark by introducing the new metrics to have something concrete to show. These statistics will prove to not be a good idea over time, so let the organization figure it out for itself. Collecting them is the equivalent of the lion’s roar to mark this territory to all within earshot.
C. Only people who are fearful of what the data will show will object to having it collected, formed into charts and submitted to management. In fact, since you know what is being gathered you can change your daily performance to be sure you look good in these new metrics regardless of whether or not it is the best use of your time.
D. An organization should look at the need for and value received from any metrics gathered and used. Unless they are collecting data that is meaningful and will lead to better results, they are a waste of company time and resources, may be misleading and may be discouraging for the team.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Agility and Values-Based Leadership (Part 2): Focus

by Andrew Burns

This is the second in a five-part series of articles regarding agile frameworks based on values, principles and practices. Scrum espouses five values: courage, openness, respect, commitment and focus. In this series, each article will explore one of these values--on which a deeper discussion of principles and practices assembles.

Agile Risk Management

by Mike Griffiths

Agile approaches do not have risk management approaches built in as standard; they have the integration points, but not the steps required. Fortunately, with a little effort, we can fill those gaps and equip teams with the skills they need to address risks and opportunities effectively.

Topic Teasers Vol. 82: Balancing Business Analysts

by Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA

Question: After being team lead for our Customer Operations business unit transformation project, I’ve been offered a position to head the new department. It will now also include Information Technology (IT). Here’s my issue up front: I’m a traditional project manager and now I’ll have nine business analysts and an agile IT team to lead. Who is responsible for what on projects now? I need to figure this out fast.
A. Business analysts replace project managers, so once you assign a BA to a project, your work is over. All you will need to do is help referee the conflicts between the BAs and the IT teams.
B. If your business analysts are trained and certified, they’ll know their own roles or can adjust quickly to what you want them to do. The agile IT team should be fairly self-directed. All you need to understand is who does what, present the responsibility chart and stand back ready to support them if needed.
C. Agile teams do not need any supervision or direction over and above their own ScrumMaster, who is 100% devoted to one project at a time. Ask your BAs if they will cross-train as ScrumMasters to maximize the number of projects you can run at any one time.
D. Due to the new strategic and business requirements from PMI, project managers have now been renamed. Just have your newly christened business analysts do what project managers have always done.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Agility and Value-Based Leadership (Part 1): Courage

by Andrew Burns

This is the first in a five-part series of articles regarding agile frameworks based on values, principles and practices. Scrum espouses five values: courage, openness, respect, commitment and focus. In this series, each article will explore one of these values--on which a deeper discussion of principles and practices assembles.

Invitation: The Secret Tool for Distributed Agile Leaders

by Mark Kilby

With over a decade of working with cross-organizational and cross-geographical teams, this practitioner has found that “invitation” is a powerful yet little utilized technique to encourage team self-management. And self-management is not a nice-to-have, it is absolutely critical.

Agile Experience Preferred?

by Andy Jordan

In the last year or so, this practitioner has seen an increasing number of project management job postings asking for agile experience. What’s driving this trend? Is this something project managers need to be aware of when considering their career development?

Agile is Not Always the Answer

by Gil Broza

All over the world, agile is the new darling. But is agile the right fit? According to this practitioner, too many people are inappropriately trying to force-fit their work into agile frameworks.

Agile is a Culture, Not a Methodology

by Ashwin Katuri

From one experienced project manager's perspective, agile is not a methodology but a culture within an organization. He shares his experiences here--and why so many projects are bound to fail.

When Earned Value Meets Agile

by Madhu Velamati

The purpose of this article is to guide project managers in implementing an earned value management system by following ANSI/EIA-748 guidelines in a manner consistent with agile software development methodology.

Benefits Realization: The Agile Way

by Kevin Aguanno, CSPM (IPMA-B), Cert.APM, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM, CSP, FPMAC, FAPM

Agile encourages project teams to work with the sponsor to understand the greater context surrounding the project. With this broader understanding, the team can look for ways of structuring the project to improve the chances that the business will actually achieve the business case benefits.

The Trend to Call Agile a Trend

by Andy Jordan

How much longer will project management see agile as a trend? That perception of agile identifies some underlying issues organizations need to deal with.

Digital PM Controls: Low-Tech/High-Touch vs. High-Tech/Low-Touch

by Mike Griffiths

Project management tools are getting more and more sophisticated as they compete with rivals on features and spread to support more platforms. Yet sophistication has a cost. Let's explore how a combination of deliberately low-tech inputs and outputs can be used with modern tools to deliver the best of both worlds.

Overcoming Agile Testing Inertia with Mind Maps

by Paul Carvalho

When teams transition to agile development and the QA/testers continue to follow the same testing processes and tools they used before joining the agile team, you're asking for trouble. In this article, we contrast agile and traditional testing--and give an example of how a mind map can facilitate the testing process.

The Impact of DevOps on Traditional ERP Transformation Project Management

by Arnab Kumar Jana

When large enterprises are trying to embrace DevOps principles for their ERP transformation programs and similar other packaged software implementations, how should PMs running these projects tailor their traditional project management principles to adapt to the new philosophy?

Agile Portfolios: A 3-D Approach

by Lourdes Medina, PMP, PfMP, ITIL, CSM

Portfolio management is responsible for translating strategy, changes, innovation and dynamism into value for an organization. To achieve portfolio agility requires synergy in all aspects of the enterprise: in the strategic environment, in the portfolio tactical environment and in that of the projects.

Project Failure as a Scapegoat for Organizational Failure (Part 2)

by Majeed Hosseiney

Organizations often talk of project management failure and put us in a vicious cycle of cause/effect analysis loops. The problem is that we look for the cause of project management failure where the light is--and not in the dark spot where the true issue is. This three-part series helps to uncover some key underlying and recurring sources of confusion within organizations. Part 1 looked at decision-making dilution; we now turn our attention to methodological and structural confusion.

The 8 Change Mindsets

by Braden Kelley

There are many different reasons why people will do the right thing to help you build and maintain the momentum for your change initiative and to help you achieve sustained, collective momentum. The key to building and maintaining momentum is to understand and harness the different mindsets that cause people to choose change.

What It Takes to Manage Hybrid Projects

by John Reiling

These days, it takes more than project management skills to succeed. It takes a person with agility—flexibility in understanding and applying the ins and outs of any method. Let’s investigate what "hybrid PM" is all about!

The Hybrid PM: Time to Learn a New Language

by Andy Jordan

As more and more projects blend waterfall and agile elements, the role of the project manager—and to some degree the ScrumMaster—changes, but in what ways?

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