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.

Why Gannt Charts Are Useless For Agile Projects

gannt chart

What can you learn about your agile project from this Gannt chart? The one above looks out two years. It shows task dependencies and concurrencies. If you’re iteratively developing software, do you really expect to know what you’ll be doing two years from now, to know if you truly have a dependency? You may understand the dependencies with a two-month time horizon. But how much effort are you investing in creating a detailed, two-month Gannt chart? And how much value are you getting from it?

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Barrier To Agile Development

brain scan

Why don’t more companies and teams use agile development techniques? We know some teams just aren’t aware of them – although that list is getting shorter every year. The benefits of iterative development over waterfall development are pretty well established. I don’t believe I’ve seen a study that shows that waterfall is more effective. Do people refuse to believe in the data? Or maybe they are unable to believe.

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Prioritization and Value Maximization

emperor's clothes

We all know the story about the emperor’s new clothes. I’ve been thinking about prioritization and scheduling, and as far as I know, no one is promoting that we maximize value – they (and we) have been promoting that we do the most valuable stuff first. Doing the most valuable things first does not result in getting value the fastest. In this article, we show why not.

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Juggling The Elements of An Iteration

juggling

You expect analysis to happen before design, and both to happen before implementation and testing. But how much should these activities be staggered? When a project is being run with monthly releases, it might seem logical to have each group working on a different release. For example, the test team working on the current release (3), the developers on the next release (4), and architects and analysts working on releases 5 and 6 respectively.

If your team is this staggered, you have a problem. It takes four months for a requirement to be released from the time the analyst has documented it.
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Benefits of Agile Story Decomposition

open book

When you plan a release, agile user stories, or classic use cases are the best sized pieces to use in the planning – from the perspective of your customers. Each user story can be further decomposed into a set of specifications, and those into development tasks. Development tasks are the right sized unit to manage your work breakdown structure – communicating the release schedule internally with your development team.

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Planning for Effective Meetings

effective meetings

Jonathan Babcock has written a couple interesting articles on preparing for a review meeting. He touches on a couple generic “good ideas” and explores one critical idea in more detail. We focus on that detail – helping participants be prepared to participate – in this article. His articles, and this topic in general are useful to anyone who runs meetings that require participation from attendees – business analysts, product managers, and project managers, for example.
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APR: Scope and Vision

telescope
To define the boundaries for our agile project, we need to define the scope. To provide a guiding framework for the rest of the work, we need to document the vision. We could create heavy-weight scope documents and vision documents. And we could run them through reviews and get approvals and wordsmith them to death.

But we won’t. Agile processes are about documenting enough, not documenting for the sake of documenting. This is a small project with an even smaller team (one person right now – but that will grow as people start helping out). An informal documentation style will be sufficient. The key element is to have something referenceable and mutable. If we can’t change the scope or the vision based on market feedback, we aren’t being agile.

These two project management artifacts seem logical to combine into a single article

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