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Project Management Basics – Chapter 16 – Agile – Product Roadmap

“Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” Richard Cushing “A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.” H. Stanley Judd The product roadmap is a recurring source of confusion for students aspiring to the Project Management Institute Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification. I believe it is because we describe the roadmap as a document that describes the vision and strategy, helps align

Project Management Basics – Chapter 14 – Agile Rituals – The Daily Scrum

“The human soul can always use a new tradition. Sometimes we require them.” Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline “We are our culture and tradition; if there is no culture or tradition we are no one.” Tamerlan A Kuzgov The rituals of agile matter. Several weeks ago there was a survey posted on LinkedIn that asked about the daily scrum. It specifically asked if the daily scrum was necessary for agile development. I can’t recall the survey results, but one my colleagues commented

Project Management Basics – Chapter 10 – Three Pillars of Agile

“Agile is to continue delivering, with quality; ASAP and AEAP; as soon as possible; as easily as possible.” Vikrmn: CA Vikram Verma, Agile Able: Project Management Simplified “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” Stephen Hawking Agile uses the iterative approach of repeating a series of structured development cycles where knowledge is gained about the final product, and an incremental approach by providing working software to the customer after each development cy

Project Management Basics – Chapter 9 – Core principles of predictive projects

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.” J.R.R. Tolkien “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Abraham Lincoln A predictive approach is used when you know how to deliver the stated business benefits of the project. This is “traditional” project management. A charter establishes high level scope, cost and schedule and the project manager (with the project team) develops a detail

Project Management Basics – Chapter 8 – Predictive, Iterative, Incremental, Adaptive

"Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning." Winston Churchill "Plans are worthless. Planning is essential." Dwight D. Eisenhower I think this is one of the topics that the PMBOK® makes unnecessarily complicated. Here is a quote from page 19 of the PMBOK, 6th Edition: “Project life cycles can be predictive or adaptive. Within a project life cycle, there are generally one or more phases that are associated with the development of the product, service, or r

Project Management Basics – Chapter 7 – The Business Analyst

“To think or not to think? That is the new question.” Nadina Boun, The Thinking Man, Paralysis by Analysis “The only people who see the whole picture are the ones who step outside the frame.” Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet A project has a start, a finish, and a unique outcome. The project manager normally helps to write the Charter, and that document sanctions the project and allows the organization to expend resources. The project manager then develops and exec

Project Management Basics – Chapter 6 – The Benefits Management Plan

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu “Strategy is a commodity; execution is an art.” Peter Drucker Organizations should have a strategic planning process and use that to identify threats and opportunities. The threats and opportunities are used to develop a “to be” state, and a gap analysis should be conducted to identify the delta between that and the current state. Projects are then initiate

Project Management Basics – Chapter 4 – Product Metrics

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts” Albert Einstein “What gets measured, gets managed.” Peter Drucker Last week I asked the question “Can I have a well-run project that delivers an unwanted product?” Sadly, the answer is “yes”. It happens all the time because organizations either don’t know project management basics or because management intentionally rejects good practices. Project should be initiated because someone has

Chaos isn’t a pit, it’s a ladder

“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is the ladder, and the climb is all there is.” Petyr Baelish, Game of Thrones “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” Sun Tzu How many of you have people in your lives that thrive on chaos? I know that I do! They seem to create disruption and turmoil everywhere they go, and they seem completely unaware of what they are doing. But they are aware. Why do they create chaos? As a project manager, I love predictability! In fact, predictability

Coring Pineapples and Other Management Follies

“Listen to those under your supervision. Really listen. Don’t act as if you’re listening and let it go in one ear and out the other. Faking it is worse than not doing it at all.” Robert I. Sutton, Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst “Lots of folks confuse bad management with destiny.” Kin Hubbard Did you know that many pineapple farmers “core” the pineapples they sell? They drill out the middle of the crown so you can’t grow one from the fruit

The Importance of “framing” Part 5 – Getting it Wrong – The Challenger

“After the Challenger accident, NASA put in a lot of time to improve the safety of the space shuttle to fix the things that had gone wrong.” Sally Ride “In 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded and crashed down to Earth less than two minutes after takeoff. The cause of that crash, it turned out, was an inexpensive rubber O-ring in the booster rocket that had frozen on the launchpad the night before and failed catastrophically moments after takeoff.” David Autor I can

Friction changes things

“Friction changes everything” Scott Adams periscope broadcast “It's not the work which kills people, it's the worry. It's not the revolution that destroys machinery it's the friction.” Henry Ward Beecher The other day a friend of mine called to complain about how things were going in his organization. He works in a completely different organization and normally the conversation turns to tales of bureaucratic ineptness. On this particular call he told me that “leadership” iss

Some thoughts about Ego

"Not everything is about you," Clary said furiously. "Possibly," Jace said, "but you do have to admit that the majority of things are.” Cassandra Clare, City of Glass “There are two circumstances that lead to arrogance: one is when you're wrong and you can't face it; the other is when you're right and nobody else can face it.” Criss Jami, Diotima, Battery, Electric Personality The other morning I put on a nice suit and headed out the door. It was around 5:30 AM, and the early

The Project Management Plan is the ultimate delegation tool!

“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don't interfere as long as the policy you've decided upon is being carried out.” Ronald Reagan “Don't be a bottleneck. If a matter is not a decision for the President or you, delegate it. Force responsibility down and out. Find problem areas, add structure and delegate. The pressure is to do the reverse. Resist it.” Donald Rumsfeld At first glance, the Project Management Plan might be seen as the ul

Delegation Makes It Easy!

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.” John C. Maxwell “Focus on what you are good at; delegate all else. Steve Jobs doesn't direct animated movies or woo Wall Street. He concentrates on what he's good at.” Leander Kahney I have a lot of experience in educating people. I have coached new executives, taught hundreds of students to prepare for the PMP® Exam and mentored scores of f

Rules, Rules, Rules

“Rules are mostly made to be broken and are too often for the lazy to hide behind.” Douglas MacArthur “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” Friedrich Nietzsche I was driving home from work when my car told me that the key fob battery was getting low. I am impressed when technology has a common sense solution to a problem like this! Since this has happened in the past, I have a supply of the required 3V batteries. If yo