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Episode 382: Top Five Warning Signs that Agile Isn't Working

No More Brain Dumps During Exam Tutorial

Episode 381: Scaled Agile for The Enterprise

Episode 380: Scaled Agile

Episode 379: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Episode 382: Top Five Warning Signs that Agile Isn't Working

Categories: Agile

(Click to download MP3...)

NK Shrivastava

This interview about why Agile might be failing in your organization with NK Shrivastava was recorded at the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress 2016 in San Diego, California. We discuss his presentation and white paper Top Five Warning Signs That Agile is Not Working for You. Here are the abstract and conclusion:

Abstract: There are good possibilities of success when adopting an agile approach in an organization, but five symptoms in particular serve as warning signs that the organization’s agile transformation is not working well.

The five warning signs include: (a) no signs of value delivery for over 3 months, (b) teams resisting customer changes, (c) teams “waterfalling” sprints, (d) customers foregoing involvement in development and testing, and (e) lack of visibility for agile in the organization. Potential solutions for these problems are also described in this paper. Many organizations can solve these problems internally, but sometimes an external resource such as a change agent or an agile coach is needed. By addressing these issues, organizations can increase the chances of a successful agile transformation.

Conclusion: Agile doesn’t work by itself. Organizations that implement agile with minimal team support and expect it to work perfectly “out of the box” will likely be disappointed. Successful agile adoption depends on factors at the organization and team levels. Organizations need the right mindset, a strong commitment, a culture conducive to implement agile, and the ability to secure resources and outside help as needed. Teams need the training, skills, and empowerment to absorb and implement agile principles. With these factors in place, organizations and teams should be able to build the foundation for agile success.

(This interview was originally published on The Project Management Podcast.)

Posted on: January 16, 2017 01:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

No More Brain Dumps During Exam Tutorial

Effective immediately, Project Management Institute (PMI)® and Prometric have made the following change to the examination format of all PMI® certifications: You are no longer allowed to take any notes during the 15 minute time of the tutorial.

Here is what this means for you.

PMI Brain Dump Policy

Here is PMI’s policy on this matter and what will be enforced at Prometric testing centers:

  • Testing candidates can start to utilize their scratch paper/note boards once the exam has officially started
  • Doing a “brain dump” during the 15 minute tutorial period or prior is not allowed
  • All scratch paper/note boards will be collected at the end of the testing session

Are Brain Dumps Now Forbidden?

No. The policy states that you are still allowed to use a brain dump, but you are simply not allowed to write it down during the 15 minute tutorial. You have to wait until the exam has officially started. And once the exam clock is ticking, then -- and only then -- are you allowed to write down your brain dump.

Writing down your brain dump after the exam countdown has begun will of course "eat up" exam time that you could spend answering questions. So if you are concerned about not having enough time to answer all questions, then spending time to write down your brain dump may not be for you. However, spending a moment of your actual exam time in the act of getting everything you memorized onto paper will additionally give you confidence in your exam knowledge, and you now have a physical reference to go back to during the heat of the exam.

PMI Still Allows Brain Dumps

To clarify the policy, Gregg Shaffer (Manager, Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.) Program) posted the following comment on LinkedIn:

"To be clear, PMI still allows “brain dumps.” However, because of the importance of the tutorial, PMI simply states that the practice of “brain dumps,” in alignment with industry best practices and standards, not be allowed until after the tutorial is completed. We ask all to please respect and follow this direction."

We Recommend: When in Doubt... Ask!

At this time it is still early days and the exact implementation of this new policy may vary from one testing center to another. We therefore advise our students to ask the following questions before walking into the testing room:

  • When am I allowed to start making notes on the scratch paper / note board?
  • What am I allowed/not allowed to write onto the scratch paper / note board?
  • What else should I be aware of in regards of using the scratch paper / note board?

Student Experience

Here is what one of our students reported back regarding this new policy:

When I did my exam last week, I went in knowing I couldn't do a brain dump. So I spent 5 minutes going through the tutorial, started my exam, and did the brain dump as soon as I started the exam. If you go into the exam treating it as a 3 hour and 50 minute exam instead of a 4 hour exam, then you can take the time to do your dump, and just pace yourself slightly faster to complete the rest of it.

"I was given my paper when I was seated, and told that I wouldn't be able to write anything until I clicked the "start" button. Although in my case, I just had a bunch of EVM formulas, and in the end, there only a handful of questions that required EVM formulas..." Matt Mcdonnell

A Brain Dump is NOT = Exam Success!

Lastly, don't forget that a brain dump will not 'make or break" your exam. It is nothing more than a security blanket. The real factors that will bring you success on the exam are your experience as a project manager, your understanding of the material, and the hours and hours of preparation and taking sample exams that you put in.

Having Your Personal Brain Dumps is STILL Valuable

Are you wondering if you should still develop your own, personalize brain dump, what to put on it and what the "secret" of a brain dump is? Read this article:

The Secret Of Creating Your Project Management Professional (PMP)® Brain Dump

Read this Forum Post

For additional details please visit our website forum where we have an ongoing discussion on this topic.

Posted on: January 12, 2017 10:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Episode 381: Scaled Agile for The Enterprise

Categories: Agile

(Click to download MP3...)

Joy Beatty

We continue our look at the topic of scaled agile that we started in the previous episode, this time by looking at "agiLE" - Agile in the Large Enterprise.

This interview about Scaling Agile with Joy Beatty, PMI-PBA was recorded at the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress 2016 in San Diego, California. We discuss her presentation and white paper Making "agiLE" Work: Agile in the Large Enterprise. Here are the abstract and final thoughts:

Abstract: Almost all large enterprises are making some transition to agile practices. There are many approaches to scale agile in the large enterprise, and we’ll give an overview of the most common scaled approaches and their limitations. This paper also discusses the most common challenges our customers’ teams are facing when scaling agile and provides suggestions to overcome those challenges.

Final Thoughts: This sounds like a daunting task—to transition to agile approaches in a large organization. However, with solid collaboration and communication, it’s absolutely doable. Teams will constantly be collaborating through elicitation, answering questions, and testing the actual product. Business analysts have a critical role to play in keeping the collaboration running smoothly, including helping to facilitate backlog grooming and elaboration, participating in planning in sprints, working with interfacing teams to identify dependencies, and serving as a product owner proxy on any teams as needed. Likewise, project and program managers can act as advisors about appropriate levels of process, help guide projects toward common goals, and ensure a focus on prioritization based on business needs. Instead of instilling a hierarchical control between PMO and product owner, in agiLE the PMO and product owner work together to achieve the objective. The real goal for agiLE teams is self-organization and creativity, while still contributing as a part of a large organization

(This interview was originally published on The Project Management Podcast.)

Posted on: January 08, 2017 11:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Episode 380: Scaled Agile

Categories: Agile

(Click to download MP3...)

Andrew Burns

Agile began with the promise to make smaller project teams more able to react to ever changing customer requirements. But what if your project is big? I mean really, really big. Can we have scaled agile?

This interview about Scaling Agile with Andrew Burns, PMI-ACP, PMP, was recorded at the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress 2016 in San Diego, California. We discuss his paper and presentation Dragon Scales: 50 Teams Scrumming -- Implementing Adaptive Project Management Practices at Scale. Here is the abstract:

Product portfolios can easily scale to 50 teams or more in meeting large organizations’ needs. Large portfolios with strong foundations are derived through values-based leadership. The technique links corporate and individual values to scientific principles. Scientific principles inform us that change is constant and therefore adaptation defines good practices. Values-based leadership’s agile practices take root, thrive, and adapt at the pace of business change.

The three-hundred software engineers considered herein innovated within a portfolio of 18,000 colleagues. Their agile, adaptive product development practices continue to evolve from plan-driven provenance. Leveraging agile practices at the portfolio, program, and project level continually unleashes innovation, quality, and throughput of value. Though contextualized in terms of software product development in the 2010s with Scrum, the message of innovation through values-based adoption of scientific principles is timeless and framework unallied. Implementation of practices observant of values and principles endures as a way to deliver the best products regardless of toolset.

(This interview was originally published on The Project Management Podcast.)

Posted on: December 20, 2016 12:23 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Episode 379: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Categories: Leadership

(Click to download MP3...)

Kim Wasson

At its core project management is all about effectively leading your team. Therefore emotional intelligence for project managers and project leaders can be just as important (if not more) than knowing how to interprete the latest earned value data.

This interview about emotional intelligence in project management with Kim Wasson was recorded at the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress 2016 in San Diego, California. We discuss her paper and presentation One Unhappy Person Can Ruin Your Beautiful Plan -- Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers. Here is the abstract:

Just one unmotivated person on your team can bring everything crashing down. Unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and lack of motivation are highly contagious; ‘one person’ quickly turns into an unhappy and possibly dysfunctional team.

We're all focused on getting the process right and there’s no doubt that process is important. What many of us don’t take into account is that the success of most projects depends largely on the teams actually doing the work Process is important but it’s not going to build anything on its own – it’s a team of satisfied, competent people working together who will actually deliver a product.

The people side of the project management equation is critical. Managing effectively requires the ability to understand individuals and teams, establish working relationships, manage goals, and motivate team members. Effective tools and techniques discover what makes the team members and the team itself tick, to communicate effectively with many different people both one-on-one and as a group, and to generally balance the process part of the equation with the people part of the equation are critical to project success.

(This interview was originally published on The Project Management Podcast.)

Posted on: December 12, 2016 09:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
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