Archive

Archive for the ‘Agile’ Category

Quick SCRUM write-ups and videos

June 16, 2011 Leave a comment

SCRUM Write-up
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum_(development)

What is SCRUM
http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/topics/scrum

 

Implementing Scrum 1 of 2 Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbNO9HLo4No&feature=related

SCRUM Master Video 10 Minutes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5k7a9YEoUI

Advertisements
Categories: Agile Tags:

What are the three most important qualities of a Project Manager?

June 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Project Management is a collection of many qualities but there are those that are more important than others. The following explains the three most important qualities a Project Manager should have related to the single most important approach a software development project must have today – agility.

Process Agility

Project Management’s methodologies have changed in last few years. For many years, project management was considered a well-defined set of steps and deliverables that all projects completed. These project management deliverables helped ensure the project was completed on schedule, on budget and all requirements were implemented. A good example of this is the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMI’s PMBOK)

Today’s customers are expecting more functionality to be delivered in less time. The time needed to produce these project management deliverables can start to create their own risk to the project schedule. Although these processes are still important in assuring a successful project, Project Managers must adjust their processes to adapt to these new expectations while ensuring the keys of project management processes are still delivered.

The Project Manager must be able to understand the proper formalization of the Project Management deliverables. For example, some projects may have a high probability for risks; this may warrant a very formal risk management process. While at the same time the project is implementing a well-defined solution, project plan documentation can be less formal, saving time to the schedule and allowing delivery of the solution sooner.

Communication Agility

Due to these Process Agility needs, a Project Manager must ensure they are communicating at a high level of effectiveness. The ability to communicate to all stakeholders is the most important quality a Project Manager can have. Without proper communication between the project team and the stakeholders, there can be breakdown in processes which can have a negative impact on the project. If a Project Manager is implementing Process Agility, the team may not initially be familiar with such adjustments and may not perform the updated Project Management methodology correctly.

Proper communication of the updated methodology is the responsibility of the Project Manager and he/she must ensure the team is fully aware and understands any new changes to the process before it can be implemented in the current project. Without proper communication of these changes, the team may risk missing key project planning steps in lieu of simplifying the process, missing any gains an agile process provides.

Project teams can consist of members that are remote to each other. This can include members in different cities to members in different countries. The ability to communicate by a Project Manager in these environments is even more important.

The agility of communication for a Project Manager is directly related to the Project Manger’s knowledge of the various communication methods. Knowing the most effective and most efficient way to communicate the given information to a specific group of stakeholders separates successful Project Managers from the rest. Methods can be as formal as a PMBOK communication plan to as simple as an email.

Consistent Diligence

One of the most underappreciated qualities a Project Manager must have is consistent diligence. The ability to stay focused on the project management process will ensure a successful project. As a projects methodology becomes more agile, the Project Manager must stay that much more diligent in the assurance that the process is being completed by the team. Agile processes are designed to be less formal but this does not mean less rigid. Some team members may not understand the difference and mistakenly treat agile processes as less rigid of a process. It is the responsibility of the Project Manager to ensure consistent implementation of the agile methodology to ensure the project remains successful.

Using MS Project And Agile

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

We are using a Feature based Agile approach where stories are grouped by Features. We meet with the customers and decide which priority to put on each feature based on its deliverable need.

Since I have a team that is focused on different features and various times, I have to prioritize and identify predecessors at the same time. (This is very useful when a customer wants to know when a specific “simple” feature will be done. But the feature has a major predecessor that will take time to complete).

SETUP THE PROJECT

To keep this trackable for all parties, I create a Microsoft Project 2010. Add the Priority to each item (higher priority gets done first). Then set the proper predecessors. This will give me a WBS but at a high level.

image

LEVEL THE RESOURCES

To level the resources, you have to change the default settings.  By default MS Project will level based on predecessors first then by Priority. To change this:

1. Click on ‘Leveling Options’ on the Resource Ribbon
2. Change the Leveling Order to ‘Priority, Standard’
3. Remove the checkboxes to get the cleanest leveling (breaking tasks will kill any clear approach to this).

image