How does Agile differ from traditional PM practices?

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Applying Agile to Emergent Projects

by Johanna Rothman

Most of us work on projects where we know the end date or the budget--or both. But there is a category of projects where we might not know either: emergent projects. Emergent projects are change projects such as your agile transition or any other project that you have no control over. Can you apply agile to those projects? Yes. Carefully.

Getting People to Do the Right Thing

by Gil Broza

Every aspect of product development can be done better or worse. That includes being a team player, writing code, communicating requirements, testing functionality...you name it. But how do you ensure that people do the best thing? And, can you even do that? That is, can you somehow force good practice? And what can you expect to happen by doing so?

Topic Teasers Vol. 26: Agile Construction

by Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA

Question: I work in the construction industry and am under some pressure from management to make my projects “more agile”. It makes no sense to me that IT processes would be of any use when building actual residences, industrial sites and office buildings. What am I missing?
A. You are correct is thinking that building a tangible construction is very different than creating a software application that is only electronic bits. The methodologies for each are at odds with each other.
B. If you change the wording, such as “customer demos” to “site inspections” and “constant quality testing” to “meeting technical requirements”, you will find that SCRUM, TDD and other IT methodologies can be used in construction and have extensive training available to you.
C. It is a mistake to believe that agile IT practices are the entirety of what the methodology has to offer. If you investigate the true methodology, you will find there is much to blend with your current processes to add to construction project success.
D. You can use part of the agile philosophy in your construction projects, but plan for extra time and cost to accommodate the changes the customer is now entitled to add as you go.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Debunking Myths about Product Managers

by Ken Whitaker

Project teams quite often assume that the product manager is a true partner--and when a project is under scrutiny or stress, the product manager can transform into a very tough adversary and oftentimes a combative stakeholder. Put yourself in a product manager’s shoes for a change! Let’s explore a couple of myths about product managers that should hopefully spark a new level of collaboration and success…

How Do You Reward Achievement Within a Team?

by Ken Whitaker

With the shift to a more agile, team-centric organizational structure, singling out individuals can become a cumbersome and stressful task for even the best and most experienced managers. In this article, we cover how rewards can actually backfire--and give you three rules of thumb for rewarding your best performers.

Slowing Down to Go Faster

by George Dinwiddie

It's hard to know if we're producing systems as fast as we could produce them. We can, after the fact, always identify ways in which we "wasted" time without contributing to our desired outcomes. But why can't we identify which will be waste before the fact? Because we want to go as fast as possible!

Keys to Chartering an Agile Project

by Johanna Rothman

When you’re a project manager for a traditional project, it’s easy to write a project charter. On an agile project, is that the right thing to do? Should you even use the same template? Here are some fundamental steps to get your project or iteration started on the road to success.

Ready, Set, Go...and Ready Again: Planning to Groom the Backlog

by Andy Berner

For an agile project to progress smoothly, the backlog must be groomed and ready for each sprint. That work must be included in your project plan. This article gives you five points to consider when planning that work.

Is Agile Your Solution or Your Problem?

by Kevin Aguanno, CSPM (IPMA-B), Cert.APM, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM, CSP, FPMAC, FAPM

Are agile practices themselves ever so rigid that they become stifling rather than liberating? Sometimes, strict adherence to an agile framework can cause problems for project teams. Be on the lookout for these issues...

When Estimates Go Wrong

by George Dinwiddie

Custom software development is notoriously difficult to estimate. We start with vague ideas of what we want, expecting to fill in the details later. We’re usually doing something a little different than what we’ve done before, or completely different. How can we act more productively?

Visual PM: Something Old, Something New...

by Michael Wood

Taking a lesson from the automobile industry, some project managers have found ways to improve project team and stakeholder communications through the use of tools that help people better visualize the status of projects and related issues. Here is a primer on Visual PM--its origins, use and more...

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