Female Element

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Female Element blog is about experience and current trends in project management, digitalization and agile organizational transformation seen by eyes of a woman. Why to distinguish such view? Female and male brain operates differently and we may have various interpretations for the same situation. Female leadership is a thing and should be recognised. But mostly because more inclusivity for women is good for all aspects of business and we still have way to go.

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Seeking work-life balance

Getting ready for job interview

Do you have project portfolio, or rather just a to-do list?

Tackling gender bias at workplace is like with any other bias, it’s part of leadership.

Back to basics. Sometimes it is all about how well you can write meeting minutes.

Virtue of keeping project momentum by your leadership skills

Project momentum is energy that makes your project moving. But there are so many possible situations that takes the motivation and spirit from your team or even from yourself. Maintaining project momentum requires true leadership skills and solid project management base in terms or knowledge, methods and experience.

 

Celebrate success

Do you know that feeling when your team reaches a milestone, everybody is a bit tired after all the effort and seeking for at least a short break? Let your team celebrate and enjoy their success. Highlight their achievement and transform their positive energy into motivation to achieve further deliveries.

One of the advantages of project work is that people experience tasks beyond their regular job assignments. Project managers may enhance their learning, skills development or even support their job promotion. All these steps motivate the team members to contribute to the project success.

 

Be always one step ahead

To keep the project moving, project manager must be focused not only on the currently happening activities, but also foresee, plan and initiate necessary steps in advance to ensure smooth transition between project stages that require changes in the team structure, processes or methods of work.

Such transition may involve redirecting the team focus to different type of tasks, e.g. from business requirements analysis to development, establishing relationship with new stakeholders, e.g. system ramp-up support after implementation that requires communication with broader spectrum of the system users, or enlarging the team with new roles and experts.

 

Lead by example, show your energy to energize the others

There will always be some moments that drag your team spirit down. Not approved change request that was really important for your customer. Key stakeholder took another challenge in the company and is no longer supporting your project. System architecture reveals more and more issues impacting your delivery and you can’t change that. Unexpected budget cut. You name it.

At such moments it is the project manager that everyone is looking at. And that’s the time to show the true leadership! Use your own energy to motivate the others to find solutions to sudden obstacles. There are always solutions. Maybe not visible at the first sight, but motivated team can find them.

 

So nope, there’s never really any time for a project manager to take a nap. The project management discipline is very complex not only in terms of knowledge to be acquired, ability to learn new technologies and products, but it also demands emotional intelligence maturity and high level of leadership skills. Keeping project momentum is not a magic, it is rather a lot of hard work.

Posted on: November 02, 2018 10:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (16)

Diving into SAFe. Large scale agile is not about mastering Scrum.

SAFe is currently the leading framework for implementation of large scale agile approach. What is it about?

I recently took a course and certification exam for one of the SAFe framework roles. I took me a while to decide if I want to go this way, I’ve heard both good and bad feedback and I was not sure if it’s worth it. So I did some research, connected with experts coming from practical experience and asked questions here on the discussion forum to hear your opinions. At the end I’m very happy that I decided to go for it.

These are my main, personal learning points:

  1. Enterprise-wide agile transformation can’t be solved with Scrum

As much as agile approach suggests lean, lightweight methods, you can’t avoid dealing with high level complexity on enterprise-wide level. Even the most skilled and empowered team need to know what direction to follow to create a customer value. Such direction should come from the company strategy. But here comes the real life, it takes a long way to translate strategic vision into specific projects that are sized to fit small agile teams. The virtue of large scale agile approach is not about mastering Kanban, XP or Scrum, it is about maintaining the two-way flow of communication between corporate strategic decisions and IT projects.

 

  1. Don’t expect new methods, SAFe is more of a puzzle put together

SAFe framework does not really provide revolutionary ideas. After digging into the detail you would probably realize that you’ve heard a bit about most of its aspects. But that’s totally fine with me. SAFe combines several methods together and provides comprehensive view from the top to the team level. Some of the applied methods are adjusted and it’s all connected together to enable strategic alignment with IT projects execution in a way, that supports fast and frequent deliveries of a software product.

 

  1. IT architecture and infrastructure are enablers or a stop sign

I don’t really see a way around IT architecture and infrastructure when aiming at agile software delivery. Principles that are the heart of SAFe, such as continuous integration, automated testing or deployment decoupled from release, relies heavily on software tools and characteristics of information systems you are dealing with. It makes a difference if you’re developing a modular product such as web application, if the goal is to automate processes executed in legacy ERP systems or if the company aims to build a competence in IoT where physical products are involved.

 

  1. Implementing large scale agile approach is about years, not months

I asked and this was the answer, at least 3 years. I’m not surprised because to put this whole model in a large company requires a lot of discipline, long-term commitments and ability to deliver cross functional changes that involves large number of people (hundreds to thousands), technology and company culture.

 

I believe there will be more and more discussions about large scale agile transformations. At the end we have to treat it as any other organizational transformation with all of its aspects and complexity. There is never a single method that would solve it all and the key is to cover the organization head to toe.

Posted on: October 28, 2018 10:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (13)
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