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Topics: Agile, Schedule Management
Agile & MS Project :
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How much do you think we need to master in Microsoft project in this new Agile world, it seems to be obsolete to have lengthy schedules, as sprint completes in 2 weeks. Please guide me
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Network:2251



Still a good idea to have knowledge on using the various tools available to us and that remain widely utilized across the profession. Additionally, MS Project has recently incorportated Agile functionality into the tool.

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/u...94-2b97deb9945b
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1 reply by VISWANATHAN RAMANI
Apr 15, 2019 2:16 PM
VISWANATHAN RAMANI
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Thank you Andrew
Network:36



I wouldn't say you need to Master MS Project but being familiar with it is still critical since ANY modern waterfall tool has taken queues from MS Project and will help you adopt other software much easier. It will also help you understand the "why" other software may behave the way it does...not to say it functions ideally but many platforms try to mimic MS Project and share many of the same shortcomings MS Project does as well.

Now, does a CSM need to master MS Project? No, and if that role is all they plan on doing then they have no need to even look at MS Project. However, anyone in the Project Management career tract should know their way around the tool. BTW, arguably the same can be said of JIRA especially if you're in software development.
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1 reply by VISWANATHAN RAMANI
Apr 15, 2019 2:17 PM
VISWANATHAN RAMANI
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Thank you John, yes MS Excel can do all the magic.
Network:1435



Unless your project is 100% delivered in sprints (which is usually not the case if you are managing a project rather than a product) there is benefit in tracking activities outside of the work done by the team during sprints. The sprints themselves could be reflected as a single activity per 1/2/3/4 weeks.

Kiron
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1 reply by VISWANATHAN RAMANI
Apr 15, 2019 2:18 PM
VISWANATHAN RAMANI
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Kiron, yes I agree with your point. thanks.
Network:26



Apr 15, 2019 1:29 PM
Replying to Andrew Craig
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Still a good idea to have knowledge on using the various tools available to us and that remain widely utilized across the profession. Additionally, MS Project has recently incorportated Agile functionality into the tool.

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/u...94-2b97deb9945b
Thank you Andrew
Network:26



Apr 15, 2019 1:45 PM
Replying to John Albaugh
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I wouldn't say you need to Master MS Project but being familiar with it is still critical since ANY modern waterfall tool has taken queues from MS Project and will help you adopt other software much easier. It will also help you understand the "why" other software may behave the way it does...not to say it functions ideally but many platforms try to mimic MS Project and share many of the same shortcomings MS Project does as well.

Now, does a CSM need to master MS Project? No, and if that role is all they plan on doing then they have no need to even look at MS Project. However, anyone in the Project Management career tract should know their way around the tool. BTW, arguably the same can be said of JIRA especially if you're in software development.
Thank you John, yes MS Excel can do all the magic.
Network:26



Apr 15, 2019 2:01 PM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
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Unless your project is 100% delivered in sprints (which is usually not the case if you are managing a project rather than a product) there is benefit in tracking activities outside of the work done by the team during sprints. The sprints themselves could be reflected as a single activity per 1/2/3/4 weeks.

Kiron
Kiron, yes I agree with your point. thanks.
Network:253



Not all organizations are Agile. I'd say relatively few have achieved that, although a growing number of organizations are trying. And Agile organizations can still have predictive projects. Not all Agile teams use sprints. Project management is still relevant in the business world; we make a mistake when we think we need to abandon all project management practices in favor of more modern IT product practices.

I don't think the average project manager needs to master every feature of MS Project, but it is the "gold standard" to which other tools are compared. It's a good idea to make yourself familiar with at least the basic functions you'll need in planning and tracking.
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1 reply by Patrick Dicey
Apr 15, 2019 6:48 PM
Patrick Dicey
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I agree... I would take it a step further and venture to go out on a limb and say that there is NO PM on any SINGLE project/program that uses EVERY feature of MS Project. When I teach MS Project courses I always state this up front at the beginning of the training. It has a massive amount of functionality and not all of it is applicable to every project/organization.
Network:1821



We use Scrum and we use MS Project. If you ask me, the only reason is I can not convince corporate audit people about it has no sense. By the way, you do no need to master MS Project. With basic knowledge is enough.
Network:193



I would consider myself an MS Project "expert" and while I am a certified Professional Scrum Master (PSM), I am very beginner when it comes to agile, with limited professional experience.

I would be interested to gain more experience with agile. I foresee using MS Project in an agile environment in a manner such as this, but would be curious to hear how others have been using it, or why they feel it's unnecessary to use a scheduling tool. I know there are existing PMI webinars on scheduling in an agile environment you can lookup as well:
-Create a "parking lot" of the Product Backlog Items near bottom of the schedule.
-Create sprints as "planning packages" with their timebox durations and link them to milestones such as release dates. This way you can see sprint durations and quantities leading to major milestones. Dependencies may exist at the sprint level.
-Per scrum, pull PBIs up into the sprint as it becomes time. Perhaps they can be notionally assigned to the next few sprints if desired, to see/predict functionality to be phased in over time. As other's have said, this will be very fluid. At the end/start of each sprint items will be pushed/pulled out of and into the current sprint which will affect subsequent sprints. This is fairly quick and easy to make these adjustments in project within the summary tasks and modifications of dependencies.
-If you have multiple scrum teams (scrum of scrums) you can have multiple sprints running in parallel driving functionality milestones/releases/deliverables.
-Other external (schedule visibility) tasks case be added as needed that affect development such as: hiring of specific skillsets, adding of infrastructure, third party dependencies, signing of contracts, etc. In the three dimensional world these dependencies do exist and having them in the schedule will help ensure they are managed accordingly.

As I said - I am an agile/Scrum beginner but these are my thoughts. I really do like MS Project and integrated schedules as an organization tool, if nothing else or more than that.
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2 replies by John Albaugh and Patrick Dicey
Apr 16, 2019 10:48 AM
John Albaugh
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Patrick,
I've worked in environments where they tried to manage Agile projects with waterfall and excel and it becomes a maintenance nightmare. You end up becoming a slave to the tool just to keep the dates and resourcing up-to-date and that's hoping you're not expecting your resources to manage their tasks in those tools as well. From a Product, Feature, and Release perspective you could manage those via timeline without a ton of trouble but for me, I've always found it easier to manage those aspects in the tool where the work is being done as well.

If you're a Microsoft guy then look into MS Planner (basic, like Trello) and Team Foundation Server to run your agile projects from a day-to-day or sprint-to-sprint standpoint. Understanding velocity and flow will really help you communicate timelines if that is a requirement.
Apr 16, 2019 7:53 PM
Patrick Dicey
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Thanks for the feedback John. My explanation of a complex process was probably not great but I would not call what I described waterfall methodology. It's not an end to end plan, but it does allow you to forecast. In DOD realm I've seen a similar approach implemented successfully on very large development programs; they call it a 'rolling wave' approach but I see it very adaptable and similar to agile as well - just with different terminology.

I have never used MS Planner - I will take a look at that. I have used TFS for requirements breakdown purposes but did not see how it can provide the same visual/organizational tool with forecasting capabilities as I described, but I am sure there are TFS capabilities and ways to adapt the tool I have not seen first hand.

Thanks again for your input.
Network:193



Apr 15, 2019 2:55 PM
Replying to Wade Harshman
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Not all organizations are Agile. I'd say relatively few have achieved that, although a growing number of organizations are trying. And Agile organizations can still have predictive projects. Not all Agile teams use sprints. Project management is still relevant in the business world; we make a mistake when we think we need to abandon all project management practices in favor of more modern IT product practices.

I don't think the average project manager needs to master every feature of MS Project, but it is the "gold standard" to which other tools are compared. It's a good idea to make yourself familiar with at least the basic functions you'll need in planning and tracking.
I agree... I would take it a step further and venture to go out on a limb and say that there is NO PM on any SINGLE project/program that uses EVERY feature of MS Project. When I teach MS Project courses I always state this up front at the beginning of the training. It has a massive amount of functionality and not all of it is applicable to every project/organization.
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