What is the ideal tester-to-developer ratio for the development team? On the surface, this might sound like a perfectly reasonable question—one that should be easy for an experienced practitioner to answer. However, when you look deeper into the question, you will see that it has layers of underlying assumptions—including ones about corporate culture, politics and the likely skills of their own staff.
by Kevin Aguanno, CSPM (IPMA-B), Cert.APM, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM, CSP, FPMAC, FAPM
Agile practitioners generally agree that regular retrospectives throughout the project are a good practice; however, many are not seeing the full benefits from the practice. This article shares a number of tips on how to perform retrospectives effectively—getting the maximum value from this important agile process.
If agile is still considered a “hot” trend, then strategic-level agile has to be the hottest part. But what does that really mean? Are strategic agile approaches a bad idea, are they a good idea badly implemented...or is something else happening?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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…
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."