Category Archives: Project Management

Articles that provide guidance to project managers, analyse the impact of product management techniques, or are otherwise related to the management of projects.

Agile Estimation, Prediction, and Commitment

Your boss wants a commitment.  You want to offer a prediction.  Agile, you say, only allows you to estimate and predict – not to commit.  “Horse-hockey!” your boss exclaims, “I want one throat to choke, and it will be yours if you don’t make a commitment and meet it.”  There’s a way to keep yourself off the corporate gallows – estimate, predict, and commit – using agile principles.

This is an article about agile product management and release planning.

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Stakeholders in a Barrel

There’s really only one way to travel down a waterfall – in a barrel.  A lot of people died this way, but some survived.  Software projects have been predominantly waterfall projects since the start of software projects.  And stakeholders rode down those projects, basically in a barrel.  The people riding Niagara Falls 100 years ago didn’t know if they would survive until they got to the end.  Stakeholders in waterfall projects don’t know if they will succeed until the end.

An agile project is dependent upon tight interaction (and feedback) with stakeholders.

If you’re running an agile project, and your stakeholders are old-school barrel-riders, how do you make it work?

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Effective Status Reports

forecast

An effective status report is one that

  • Instantly conveys the state of the project.
  • Creates a minimum of overhead for the project team.
  • Gets you help when you need it, and latitude when you don’t.
  • Is fun / energizing to the author and the readers.

An effective status report is not a myth, it is actually easy to achieve.

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Successful Products: Lucky or Intentional?

headstails

Is your product successful because you were lucky, or because you were methodical and intentional?

Do you want to build a plan where you are dependent on good fortune, or do you want to make your own “luck?” Both approaches work, but only one makes sense as an intention. Slide 3 of your presentation to a venture capitalist should not say “And then we get lucky!”

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Recycling An Article on Timeboxing Your Project Plan

recycling

We’re dedicating our “blogging time” this week to doing some infrastructure upgrades – we have to address some security issues on the site. Until we get through these changes, we’ll be recycling some of our existing content. For our recent readers, it will be “new to you” and for our long time readers, we appreciate your patience. Today we look at one of our most popular articles – on using Timeboxes to manage your project plan.

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Outsourcing Debate – Two Guys Talk it Out

ping pong paddles

Bill Miller, who writes You Want it When?, a blog focused on improving the way you manage software development and I had a debate over email about outsourcing. We looked at pro’s and con’s, and our discussion centered around the best outsourcing model, and what the ramifications of outsourcing really are. Read on to see the back-and-forth.

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Estimating an Inestimable Project

gondola

We create cost estimates at many times in a project. From budgetary estimates at the start of a project all the way to PERT estimates of tasks in a work breakdown structure. Creating a budgetary estimate seems impossible – you have to make many assumptions, your estimates are based on the unknown – they can’t be good. There are ways to make budgetary estimates easier to generate and refine – but they can create a sense of false precision.
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