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 15 – Agile Rituals – Shu Ha Ri

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” Bruce Lee “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle I first heard of Shu Ha Ri in an Aikido Dojo. I was taking Taekwondo under Master Choi in a small school in Augusta, GA. My friends and I were consumed by the sport for several years, training constantly and regularly competing in local tournaments. I was attending a tournament in Columbia, SC, where I m

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 13 – Change Control

"It's a bad plan that admits of no modification." Publilius Syrus "A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow." Proverb I've taught thousands of students who were preparing for a variety of different PMI® certifications, and one of the topics that is often a challenge for them is integrated change control. Let’s see if I can simplify that topic. Predictive projects have several core principles, but the cornerstone is establishing a baseline. We gather requiremen

Project Management Basics – Chapter 11 – Occam’s Razor

“Occam’s razor uses the least energy; it is the most economic solution. Nature always operates this way, and it does so because it is mathematical. If it were not mathematical, it could never do what it does and would degenerate into instability and chaos.” Thomas Stark, Extra Scientiam Nulla Salus: How Science Undermines Reason “If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” Albert Einstein What is Occam’s razor and why am I discussing it in th

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 5 – Product Metrics Part 2

“That which cannot be measured cannot be proven.” Anthony W. Richardson, FULL-SCALE: How to Grow Any Startup Without a Plan or a Clue “What science has failed to notice is that the measurement has become more real than the thing being measured.” R.A. Delmonico In my last article I discussed the importance of differentiating between product and project metrics. I specifically made the point that only focusing on the success of the project could lead to a product or deliverabl

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

My experience with “Cancel Culture”, Part 8 – How I got canceled: The Final Result

“Useful men, who do useful things, don't mind being treated as useless. But the useless always judge themselves as being important and hide all their incompetence behind authority.” Paulo Coelho “There are few things more dangerous than a mixture of power, arrogance and incompetence.” Bob Herbert Cancel culture is part of our society now. You can’t just disagree with someone; you must destroy them. A friend and I were canceled from a nonprofit fraternal organization, and I am

My experience with “Cancel Culture”, Part 6 – How I got canceled: He owned the system

“Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad.” Henry Kissinger “Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect any who seek it.” Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune Cancel culture is part of our society now. You can’t just disagree with someone; you must destroy them. A friend and I were canceled from a nonprofit fraternal organization, and I am sharing the process that was used. To battle something, you must first understand it. I’ll then explain what I could have done di

My experience with “Cancel Culture”, Part 2 – How I got canceled: He aligned his resources

“There are no permanent alliances, only permanent interests.” Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston “Now the only sure basis of an alliance is for each party to be equally afraid of the other.” Thucydides Cancel culture is part of our society now. You can’t just disagree with someone; you must destroy them. A friend and I were canceled from a nonprofit organization, and over the next several weeks I'll be sharing the process that was used to do so. To battle something, y

Tip 3 for the Remote Manager – Follow the rules!

“People. They're not all bad, but do you really want to risk it? Perhaps that was the unofficial motto of the Soviet Union...” Dmitry Dyatlov “And thus, the pendulum must swing right to correct what is wrong so that it can in turn swing back when all that is wrong will be blamed on those who are right.” Volker G. Fremuth If you are working from home, the past several months are beginning to take on a “Groundhog Day” feel. Every workday feels almost exactly like the next. You

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

Using simple phrases to convey complex ideas

“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.” Aldous Huxley, Brave New World “Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.” G.K. Chesterton It is estimated that Project Managers spend over 90% of their time communicating, so it is important that they get good at it. I have found that it is helpful to condense complex ideas into simple phrases that anyone can understand. Here are a few of my favorites!

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

Mankind’s Greatest Invention!

“Put a good person in a bad system and the bad system wins, no contest.” W. Edwards Deming “Management by results - like driving a car by looking in rear view mirror.” W. Edwards Deming Even allowing for hyperbole, the Deming Quality Wheel is an amazingly important concept. It was designed to bring the scientific method first developed by Galileo to the business environment, and has been subject to reinterpretation by giants in the field of quality like Shewhart and Ishikawa.