On an agile project, we often must accomplish the extraordinary. Yet how can we do so when we must work with such…ahem…ordinary people? Here are some suggestions for helping your group of ordinary individuals to accomplish the extraordinary on your agile project.
When two people are working together, there are going to be disagreements. Project teams are no exception, but there are good ways to navigate this conflict without completely derailing the project.
Governance happens in projects all the time, and a well thought-out governance process can be a powerful project tool. In this article, we will examine why governance is necessary, where governance is most effective and how we as project and program managers can use governance to powerful effect.
Every project has an issues log. But what about the PMO? Does your PMO manage issues and maintain an issues log? Do you look for trends across the issues of different projects and take proactive steps to address them? Do you attempt to prevent issues through good communication? In this article, we look at a model for PMO-level issue management and suggest ways that it can improve the quality of projects that your PMO is responsible for.
It was the best of times--your project seemed to be going along swimmingly. It was the worst of times--suddenly there was a surprise from a governance stakeholder. Will you avoid the guillotine?
It doesn’t seem to matter what methodologies are used--success is not a guarantee. While eyes always turn to the PM for blame, isn’t it time we examined why another significant party should also be sharing that burden?
Agile methods suggest replacing top-down, command-and-control management with empowered teams and shared leadership. That all sounds nice, but what exactly is shared leadership and how do you get it to happen?
Do you have a readiness plan in place for potential pandemics? Even if you feel protected or isolated from such an occurrence, having a readiness plan can also serve as an important reinforcement to customers and stakeholders who are dependent upon your continued performance and success.
While “blame” is not a constructive term to use in establishing where things went wrong, every element of a project should have clearly defined owners. If it isn’t clear where that ownership lies, there's a fundamental problem in the way your project is structured. Here we look at how we can establish that ownership--and ensure that the model is applied effectively.
The stress of dealing with the governance committee can quickly cause the word “governance” to become a four-letter word. Learn how to work the system to make governance effective and actually helpful to the project.
There are many ways that a project manager can find or create a community of support--and it extends beyond the project management office. Here we offer a few suggestions and starting points for finding communities for project managers.
To look into the future--more often than not--you must first look back. But if we are to do that and look ahead to envision what the future of project management might look like 10, 20 or even 100 years from now, looking at how the past envisioned the future may help point us in the right direction and show us where that journey into the future is headed. So what did the future look like, in the past?
Meetings are the lifeblood of projects, but they can quickly dissolve into chaos if not facilitated correctly. A few tricks will keep things on track and the meeting finished on time.
Question: My project “teams” are random, siloed people housed all over the building. We never meet, and multiple project managers all use the same departmentalized individuals to complete activities. How do I get them to prioritize my work requests?
|A.||Ask your organization to restructure from a traditional hierarchy to a projectized organization.|
|B.||Offer free coffee mugs, t-shirts and award certificates each time someone completes an activity for your project.|
|C.||Show your manager that having these people moved to a common workspace for the duration of your project will add value to the project deliverables.|
|D.||Transition yourself from a project manager to a project leader and create a sense of connection and personal relationships between these random, siloed workers.|
It would be simple for a development team to use agile software development practices to improve their development process, likely reducing the injection of defects and possibly increasing their productivity. But what happens if they don’t? A lesson in communication and human behavior may help.
Question: My organization outsources to save money, but it creates communication issues and other problems for my agile team. Can offshoring (outsourcing) work effectively for non-collocated agile groups?
|A.||Yes, but success may depend on how far away from your collocated team the outsourced resources are located.|
|B.||No. Agile practices stress collocated teams. If you are not based together, there is no way for an agile approach to be effective.|
|C.||Yes, but only if the teams switch the locations where they live every six months so that each group learns the language and culture of the other.|
|D.||No. Agile was created in the United States, and therefore it is only intended to work for American teams.|
The project plan can be a strange environment of murky waters, but the adventurous project manager can see clearly if they dive in and explore the depths.
Whether a project manager has a lot of experience or none at all leading teams, there are some basic guidelines they can follow in order to lead people successfully. A trip back to high school shows us three key roles the PM must play.
Interruptions are one of the main battles we face each and every day. What can a PM learn from them about how to manage personal productivity in a world of digital distraction?
Projects need resolute leadership, which emphasizes the importance of project management decisions. They can make a project successful, but they can also make a project fail. That is why obscure human heuristics (mental disposition) and biases (personal inclinations) are so important. PMs need to know how these can influence decisions, along with firmly commanding traditional decision-making techniques.
There’s nothing like getting the bitter taste of failure out of your mouth with poison from your attempt to get information to do better next time. Change the language used in the post-mortem to change the tone.
When one PM looks back at his project career, he knows it has had its share of missteps--hurdles both large and small that weren't so easy to clear. Here, he relates an early and misguided experience.
There are many ways a project can fail, but it's how the project manager handles the failing project that will make a big difference in how the failure impacts the people and organizations involved. Are you going to make this easy or hard?
While our activities involve human interactions, creativity and collaboration, many managers act as if their organizations should function like a well-oiled machine. Mechanistic thinking is so embedded into the work of project managers and knowledge workers that we often fail to notice it, and that needs to change.
Being a strong tester means being critical and assertive. This ability is not easy to control and can lead to finding flaws in all sorts of everyday surroundings. How to communicate these errors and mistakes without being a first-class jerk is also difficult. Can you keep everyone's frown upside down?