From ganttheads to Kanbangers?

Southern Alberta Chapter

Mike Griffiths is a consultant and trainer who help organizations improve performance through shared leadership, agility and (un)common sense. He maintains the blog LeadingAnswers.com.

The recent rebranding of gantthead to ProjectManagement.com with the explanation that project management is no longer synonymous with Gantt charts got me thinking about what tools agile project managers use most often. If geologists of the future unearthed the desk of a 1992 project manager, they would find Gantt charts, network diagrams and computer-based scheduling tools. Skip forward 20 years to the project managers of 2012, what would they find? Index cards, task boards and planning poker cards? What plunged project managers back into the dark ages? Was there a 10-year power outage?

Tools tend to restrict plans (and their flaws) to only those people with the tools installed. Since tools are costly and require training, not all team members have them--so we lose insight into the plan. “But our tools have free viewers!” the vendors claim. But viewing is not the same as building or using, and we really need all our team members using the tool to be able to spot missing tasks and all the dependencies.

It’s a little like a well-known concept: you don’t read a bicycle, you have to ride a bicycle to understand it. We want team members to help create the plan rather than just look at one created by the team member furthest away from the technical details (the project manager). By actively creating the plans and revising them based on actual …


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