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Operating Agile with an ERP Implementation

by Jason Coe

This real-world example looks at how agile principles were applied to an international company’s global ERP project. It discusses how agile was used to provide continuous feedback into how the project operates. It discusses many of the company’s lessons learned and how it solved challenges in a typical waterfall environment using agile principles.

Agile: Adapt or Acquiesce?

by Naresh Saharya

How should a team calculate realistic velocity? How fast should a team go? The assumption of higher velocity points is a reality in agile projects, and the ability to adjust to the "right" velocity is a challenge posed to every agile team. Quickly adjusting the team velocity with respect to the sprint backlog is critical in accomplishing the delivery of the scope of the planned release.

Topic Teasers Vol. 94: Clearing Confusing Priorities

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

Question: Whether I’m working on an agile or a waterfall project, we always get an overload of features or activities to complete. In theory, it sounds easy to prioritize them; but in practice, that’s where most of our projects bog down. Defining the order becomes a politely disguised free-for-all. At the end, while we may be able to set up the project, I’m still not convinced that we have made the best long-term choices for the company in our selection of which items we have elected to implement. Is there a fresh way to handle these decisions?

Did Agility Slip Away?

by Tina Szarenski

What happens when you are not part of an agile development team? If you aren’t exercising your planning rituals and weekly sprints, will you lose muscle memory? Or is there an opportunity to apply what you know to better all aspects of what you do?

Servant Leadership: The Agile Way

by Johanna Rothman

Agile project managers exercise servant leadership, which includes guiding and steering. Here are three ways an agile PM can exercise servant leadership to guide projects to a great conclusion.

Implementing CRM Using Agile Approaches

by Mike Griffiths

Implementing a new customer relationship management system is typically a large undertaking for an organization. See how some agile approaches can help reduce risks, maximize value and establish early warnings for issues or impediments.

Tips for Maintaining Sustainable Pace on a Distributed Team

by Mark Kilby

Distributed teams need to keep an eye on sustainable pace even more so than other teams. What you need to find is the capacity the team can maintain indefinitely. How can you find it? There are several ways…

Agile Resources: Consistency, Flexibility or...?

by Andy Jordan

There has been a lot written about the importance of resource flexibility in project environments. How does that align with the need for consistency in agile teams to improve the chances of success?

Is the Center of Excellence PMO Dead?

by Andy Jordan

With more focus on strategy, more tool-driven automation and more diversity in project approaches, is there still a place for a PMO-driven center of excellence for project management?

The Hybrid Solution

by Ali Forouzesh

Implementing a hybrid methodology can be more effective and useful to your project needs, because traditional approaches can sometimes be too heavy and complex for incremental projects. Here, a practitioner shares his experiences consulting on a project.

Resolving Conflict on Distributed Teams

by Mark Kilby

Interpersonal conflict on distributed teams can be devastating. If you are in conflict with someone else on a distributed team, there are a number of things you can do to help resolve it.

Leading Distributed Agile Teams

by Mark Kilby

What is a crucial difference in distributed team environments? It's how you apply your leadership skills. Often, you need to amplify what you would normally do in a co-located team setting to provide those examples.

Peer Mentoring for New Distributed Team Members

by Mark Kilby

When first leading distributed agile teams, a key challenge that can sneak up on you is onboarding a new team member. You cannot show them around the office. How can you possibly get the new person oriented to their new organization and their new team?

Delivering Business Value on Agile Projects

by Dina Laresch, PMP

In a shift from traditional on-time and on-budget metrics, project managers increasingly collaborate with business analysts to measure business value as a key metric. Adopting a model based on feature analysis and determining feature business value sets the stage for results-driven, high-value project delivery.

Agile: Where the Magic Happens

by Paolo Birsa

Is agile outside of your team's comfort zone? Read how one practitioner successfully applied agile principles in the organization he's managing.

Topic Teasers Vol. 92: Managing By Group

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

Question: I’m one of two middle managers in a small, 20-person state government office. Each of us has five to six direct reports who do individual, short-term projects. Our director also manages an equal number of staff. The issue is that she wants all of us to be in on every decision, saying it’s an agile approach. It means that with every decision, we always have unhappy people who did not get their way. Is this actually the way to run an agile office?
A. While agile practices can be productively used by non-IT teams and in situations where the entire Scrum core ceremonies are not adopted, asking everyone’s opinion on every office decision whether they have a stake in the project or not is decidedly not agile. Include only those who need to be there, and make non-project-related decisions among the three managers.
B. Millennials want to feel involved and important. It’s a good practice to hold office-wide meetings for every decision and take a vote to see what the majority favors. What is decided is less important than having everyone feel a part of the process.
C. Unless there is an area where the director does not understand the specifics involved in the decision, all choices should be made at the highest level with her. In this way, people are not pulled off focus on their day-to-day work.
D. In an environment this small, it is not necessary to have any formal processes or reporting structures. Each decision that arises should be made by an individual staff member in cooperation with their direct manager. These decisions do not need to be shared with others unless they are directly involved.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Robotic Process Automation: The Future of CRM (Part 2)

by Joe Wynne

With the growing use of robotic process automation in CRM, project managers should consider the needs of these projects as they plan their professional development. To be successful at the growing number of RPA projects, there is special preparation related to stakeholder management, vendor management and more.

Robotic Process Automation: The Future of CRM (Part 1)

by Joe Wynne

With the growing use of robotic process automation in CRM, project managers should consider the needs of these projects as they plan their professional development. To be successful at the growing number of RPA projects, there is special preparation related to delivery strategy, communications and more.

The Hidden Costs of Deadlines

by Gil Broza

Remember that agile is all about delighting the customer? We’ve seen how accustomed we are to dates and deadlines. Should we think of them differently if we work in an agile way?

The Epiphany: Agile + Business Analysis

by Melicia Grant

This article was birthed from the realization that business analysis can effectively contribute to the success of projects using agile approaches. The main focus of this article will be on the expected outcomes of an agile business analysis initiative.

How Cloud Solutions Can Help PMs

by Paul Visser

In this article, we will explore how IT projects can benefit from cloud technologies, both in traditional and agile projects. Online project tools are widely available for usage (team spaces, office software, etc.), but IT projects can take this a step further and save time and costs—and reduce risks when the infrastructure goes cloud.

The Relevant PMO

by John Reiling

PMOs are popular and have a lot of potential, but too often fail within organizations. PMOs have unique challenges as an organizational unit—which require them to become more agile. Keeping things simple and adding value in new and different ways are key success factors.

Topic Teasers Vol. 90: Is Agile Japanese?

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

Question: Our management team is extremely agile resistant, saying that there is no research or history to this practice—or no link to better productivity, despite recent statistics that disagree. What can I tell them to show that this is actually a way to engage millennials, the largest section of the current workforce? And to show that it also has a proven track record of maximizing high productivity, even if it wasn’t called by the same name?
A. Since agile was conceived in 2001 in Snowbird, Utah, it is 100% American in origin. The rest of the world had never tried these practices until the results of this famous meeting were released through a series of speeches, articles and conversations.
B. Agile principles rest on the behaviors Douglas McGregor believed to be basic to most workers, called Theory X. Because it suggests that people dislike work and try to avoid it, the more lax workplace of an agile team tricks them into thinking they are in management.
C. Dr. W. Edwards Deming developed the earliest agile-like philosophy, which he called the Hierarchy of Needs. If a manager can meet all of the needs for the employee, productivity will soar. If even one is left unfulfilled, project outcomes will be subpar.
D. Agile actually is an outgrown of the Japanese motivational theories of Dr. William Ouchi’s “Japanese Management” style from the 1980s. By now, the concepts have been well tested and proven to be effective in the modern-day workplace, first in Japan and then in other locations around the globe.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Continuous Agile Program Planning: Think Big, Plan Small

by Johanna Rothman

It seems as if the larger the agile program, the bigger the planning--but that kind of planning only works for some programs. What can you do? Instead of big discontinuous planning, consider small continuous planning.

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"Only two things are infinite, the Universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

- Albert Einstein