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Interchangeable Project Lenses Can Reveal the Unseen

by George Dinwiddie

When we see the same view every day, we get complacent. A prudent project manager does not rely on any single view of the project, as multiple views can expose unforeseen problems and opportunities.

The Music of Agile Testing

by Paul Carvalho

Agile testing is commonly mistaken as only referring to the Quality Assurance/testers on the team. This is a destructive, limited view of this critical agile development piece. This article places the emphasis on the often neglected, misunderstood and essential collaboration tool.

Big Agile, the Route Less Travelled

by Mike Griffiths

In attempting to make agile methods scalable, it is tempting to add more process to assist larger-scale coordination. However, that is the last thing we should do. Scaling collaboration, not process, is the key to enterprise agility.

Are You Ready to Go Agile? (Part 3 of 3)

by Kevin Aguanno, PMP, MAPM, IPMA-B, Cert.APM, CSM, CSP

This is the final article in a three-part series on the factors to consider when determining whether an organization, team or project is “ready” for agile. This third installment continues the discussion by examining factors that are specific to the project itself and whether it is really suited to an agile approach.

Can Agile Teams Get Burned Out?

by Bob Galen

Can agile teams--even high-performing ones--burn out? Of course. Far too many teams seem to schedule their sprints sequentially or back to back, without a pause or break. So if you are suffering from burnout, what are some helpful techniques to refresh and recharge your teams?

Are You Ready to Go Agile? (Part 2 of 3)

by Kevin Aguanno, PMP, MAPM, IPMA-B, Cert.APM, CSM, CSP

This second article continues the discussion by looking at the second group of factors related to the readiness (and willingness) of the project team to adopt agile best practices. As with sponsorship factors, we need to consider cultural, structural and management aspects.

Are You Ready to Go Agile? (Part 1 of 3)

by Kevin Aguanno, PMP, MAPM, IPMA-B, Cert.APM, CSM, CSP

Many organizations have struggled with their early agile experiments. Due to the issues faced, they typically cannot answer the simple question: “Are we ready to go agile?” This first article examines the factors that indicate whether the sponsoring organization is ready (and able) to modify the way it works to increase the chances of a successful agile project.

Applying Agile to Emergent Projects

by Johanna Rothman

Most of us work on projects where we know the end date or the budget--or both. But there is a category of projects where we might not know either: emergent projects. Emergent projects are change projects such as your agile transition or any other project that you have no control over. Can you apply agile to those projects? Yes. Carefully.

Debunking Myths about Product Managers

by Ken Whitaker

Project teams quite often assume that the product manager is a true partner--and when a project is under scrutiny or stress, the product manager can transform into a very tough adversary and oftentimes a combative stakeholder. Put yourself in a product manager’s shoes for a change! Let’s explore a couple of myths about product managers that should hopefully spark a new level of collaboration and success…

The Economics of Compassion in the New Economy

by Mike Griffiths

Being nice is not a courtesy or even a basis for competitive advantage anymore. In today’s connected workplace with a less loyal and more mobile workforce, the economics of compassion are very real. See what smart companies are doing to recruit and retain the best talent.

Three Practical Guidelines for Business Decisions

by Michael Nir

It is a practical approach to understanding why decisions are so complex and what can be done about it. In order to create the combination between top-down problem decisions (waterfall-like approaches) and local problem decisions (agile-project approach), here are three practical guidelines.

Agile Development: Great for Engineers, Not So Much for Project Management

by Tushar Patel

With over half of companies using a blended agile and waterfall approach to development, it’s critical to be aware of how an agile approach affects planning and alignment with the overall business strategy. Here are the most common challenges in enterprise agile development--and some tips for how smart companies are navigating the new landscape.

Three Essential Leadership Practices that Improve Team Ownership

by Pollyanna Pixton

Why is team ownership important? It is essential to agile team success because individuals thrive on ownership. With ownership, you have a stake in the game and push to find the best solution. The difficulty is that most corporate cultures have command-and-control leaders. Here is some help...

Helping Your PMO Help You

by Mike Griffiths

For agile teams, a traditional PMO can seem to Present Many Obstacles--but it does not need to be that way. With some alignment and time invested, they can be useful advocates.

The Importance of Oblique Goals

by George Dinwiddie

What are your big goals? Productivity? Speed? Happiness? All of these are understandably desirable. They also share another attribute: They all are best achieved by seeking other, lesser goals rather than by seeking them directly.

It’s Not the Process, Stupid

by Mike Griffiths

Agile is as much about process as Disney theme parks are about Mickey Mouse (i.e., very little). Yet people seem to focus on the process, probably because it is easier than capturing the true intent of agile. Here we peel back the facade of process to uncover the agile heart that beats beneath.

Agile Project Management: Keeping it Simple

by Ken Whitaker

Agile project management, and particularly Scrum, can become overwhelmingly consumed by methodology, jargon and rules. This is just the opposite of what was originally intended for agile-lead projects, and it is the communications part of our role that is so important.

People First: Uprooting Project Management for an Agile World

by Paul Carvalho

The Agile Movement continues to pull in project managers who have been steeped in traditional approaches. In this PM's experience, relatively few successfully make the transition. Here’s why…and what we can do about it.

Agile Advocacy

by Mike Griffiths

We all need some help sometimes when introducing agile methods into a traditional organization. Fortunately, a new guide to ease the transition is available. The recently published Software Extension to the PMBOK Guide Fifth Edition acts as a Rosetta Stone for mapping and replacing traditional approaches with their agile alternatives.

Anything but Waterfall?

by Andy Jordan

Is your organization embracing agile, or rejecting traditional approaches? People look to agile to be more effective than a waterfall-based approach, but to move to agile only because the current approach is failing is shortsighted. In this article, we try to identify a few things to help ensure that agile is a success.

Topic Teasers Vol. 32: Are We Agile Ready?

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

Question: Don’t get me wrong, I want my team to be agile. But it doesn’t seem to me that the organization around here is ready to support it. Do we just go ahead anyway, or do we wait until management and department heads figure out their roles before we change our project practices?
A. Not every team needs to be agile. Wait until the larger organization changes enough that you think it can be successful. In the meantime, change nothing.
B. Your organization can benefit if it becomes attuned to the agile philosophy. Change your IT practices and the rest of the people will eventually automatically alter the ways they support you.
C. Change your team now! Ignore the rest of the organization. As long as you and your co-workers create agile artifacts, the value stream for the business will automatically flow.
D. Agile teams planted in an indifferent or hostile environment cannot grow and flourish. Figure out in detail where your organization stands on a readiness scale, and then work to move it toward a more supportive environment.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Three Large Banks, Three Different Approaches to Agile Adoption

by Kevin Aguanno, PMP, MAPM, IPMA-B, Cert.APM, CSM, CSP

As the use of agile methods spreads into larger organizations, senior managers struggle to decide their agile adoption strategy. Here are three stories from three large Canadian banks who each took a different adoption approach.

Topic Teasers Vol. 30: Changing Agile Attitudes

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

Question: My agile team does okay with the new structure of how we do things, but it seems like we’ve just replaced one set of rules with another. How can I get them to change the way they think about things, not just follow the new processes? I understand that is the underlying key to agile success?
A. Management does not care what team members believe as long as they turn around work more quickly than they did in the past. Leave people to think what they will.
B. In addition to the team rules and the agile methodology process rules, tell people each day what they are to think about the work they do and how they should view others.
C. You can’t mandate change. You can only find a fun way to demonstrate and remind people on the team about the premises of agile philosophy.
D. If your team won’t quickly adjust to knowing and following the agile philosophies, this approach to doing projects will fail. Return to traditional project management practices.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

From Turkeys to Agile Eagles

by Michael Aucoin

While there is almost unanimous agreement on the importance of teams, the vast majority of people don’t like to belong to them. This raises a loud warning for you and your agile team, one you must address proactively, because an agile project succeeds or fails on the health of the team. Maybe the GCCR Plan can give your team members wings that fly.

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If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man but deteriorate the cat.

- Mark Twain