Custom software development is notoriously difficult to estimate. We start with vague ideas of what we want, expecting to fill in the details later. We’re usually doing something a little different than what we’ve done before, or completely different. How can we act more productively?
Project issues and risks, like zombies, move relatively slowly. It’s extremely rare that a project manager will be introduced to a project one day and be overwhelmed by the same failed project the next. Therefore, like survivors of a zombie apocalypse, project managers have time to prepare--and to look for those indications that projects are turning...
It's hard to know if we're producing systems as fast as we could produce them. We can, after the fact, always identify ways in which we "wasted" time without contributing to our desired outcomes. But why can't we identify which will be waste before the fact? Because we want to go as fast as possible!
Using a step-by-step approach to budgeting will make your life easier in the long run, allow you to accurately answer any questions about project expenditures, make much more accurate future cost estimates for similar projects and generally give you more control over the project. Here's some help.
The answer is “yes”, even though the typical fixed-price mentality violates the values stated in the Agile Manifesto. But fixed-price contracts are necessary for the market, so agile projects will have to adjust and offer a workaround.
Question: I’m so confused. I was a Quality Tester at my last job, but here the employees seem to use the titles Quality Assurance, Quality Control and Testing interchangeably. I started out in a more traditional organization, but now I’m a tried and true agile believer. Since I have no job description, what are my responsibilities?
The three concepts are often used interchangeably. Ask what it means in your new organization and accept that as your role in your workplace reality despite the real definition.
Find the specific meanings for each term from a university professor in the town where you work. Use that information to correct the organization so that they use proper terminology.
Once you learn your job description from Human Resources, create a new title for yourself so that others can understand what you do. Perhaps Defect Engineer would be apt.
Since agile teams work without formal processes or documentation, there is no need to answer to a particular title. Everyone on the team is merely a team member.
If an organization is engaged in project work on a continual basis, a project management office may be the best investment in securing successful projects. What are the benefits of having a PMO versus just having project managers?
How do you take the ultimate step of removing a team member and preserve the team? As project managers, we need to ensure that the way that we lead our team after a termination is optimal for team success--regardless of whether we or someone else made the decision.
A project can get in a great deal of trouble when the tail starts wagging the dog instead of vice versa. Here are some issues to look for so that the project manager can keep a tight hold on the project leash.
Project work is only as good as its weakest link--and oftentimes, documentation is the culprit. Here are a few pointers for making sure that effective minutes are captured in meetings that happen during the project.
There is no silver bullet that will allow us to remove all uncertainty, but we can apply some business intelligence practices to the concept of annual planning to at least increase our confidence levels and reduce the risks around the decisions that we make.
This document consolidates information from the External Risk Checklist and Internal Risk Checklist templates to provide a summary of the expected risk exposure for a proposed initiative and adds additional information designed to assist in decision making.
Question: Since our agile team is self-managed, we have recently received notice that we can also oversee procurement on items that would not be commonly used by the rest of the organization. None of us has a background in this area. How do we make good buying decisions?
People who are agile should not be buying things. That slows down software development. Tell management you will need a Procurement Department to make purchases so you are not involved in this low-level process in any way.
Agile projects do not need anything except enthusiastic and inventive people to create success. Leave any procurement issues to those who follow traditional project management processes.
If your team is often short of money to add all the extra bells and whistles to the project, being in charge of procurement gives you the opportunity to ask prospective vendors for free merchandise to use for the project or for team incentives.
There are some common questions you can ask to help the team make better procurement decisions. It is a positive move to gain procurement responsibility since you are in the best position to evaluate buying options and get the features you really need to optimize your project success.
The Project Procurement Management knowledge area often causes stress to potential PMP exam takers, but it doesn't have to be that way. There are, however, a few important elements within the process that will need to be studied in further detail.
In an initial business intelligence project, you run the risk of failure from loss of the initiative’s momentum due to inadequate support from business leaders. What tactics are needed to defeat this loss of momentum?
While our writer is inspired by a well-known vision of what project management should be, he is sometimes a little unsure as to what, exactly, the value of project management is. And is it really as valued by others as he feels it to be? Do they see the value that he sees in it? Or is it perhaps less consequential--and therefore less valuable--than he thinks it is?
"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important. "