When is a constraint not a constraint? When your customer doesn't care about it, it might be a strong clue. Kent McDonald weighs in this week on some expensive lessons learned (at his expense) about the importance of balancing your project constraints against what really matters. Before you rush to assume you're getting schedule pressure, consider what your customer really cares about.|
Wisdom, Perspective, and Advice from the Field
Don't Risk Value for the Sake of Schedule
by Kent McDonald
"It started, as all good stories do, on a dark and stormy evening in May." If you've ever been tempted to make schedule (or scope, or cost, or even quality) the absolute number one primary success factor for your project, this is a story worth reading. You may want to reassess your project's priorities.
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Kent McDonald speaks at the Columbus Chapter IIBA's BAPDD on September 5 , where he will discuss why "Business Value is a Conversation, not a Number." Then it's on to Sandton, South Africa, to the Business Analysis Summit Southern Africa on September 18. His topic there will be Analysis in Agile: There's More to it than User Stories. For information on appearance by other ProjectConnections regulars, see the Where's ProjectConnections section, below.
Being a Business-Driven Business-Savvy PM (the kind Execs adore)
Business savvy includes understanding what your project's risks and rewards will really cost the company ... and whether or not it's worth it.
Calculating Expected Monetary Value (EMV) of Risks – PREMIUM
It's one thing to make a list of risks, and another to be quite clear about just how badly a particular risk could impact the project in financial terms. This template helps teams assess the financial impact of a given risk and determine how much time and money to spend avoiding it.
Executive Summary of Project Status/Risks – MEMBER
This easily scanned form condenses the project information executives really care about on a single page. Heavily risk-focused, it emphasizes changes and trends, not just dates and numbers.
Agile Corner (tools for breaking the rules productively)
We've said it before, but we're going to say it again: Agile is not a panacea. If you're looking to solve your project problems by using agile techniques, make sure you understand what your project problems really are.
Are You Elegantly Solving the Wrong Problems?
"Remember, agile will NOT solve your problems but it will perform exceedingly well at exposing them." Brian Irwin provides a handy table (!!!) describing common Agile problems, the "solution" that's usually applied, and the cures that are most likely to provide lasting relief. Are your teams applying the wrong cure to any of these agile diseases?
Wanna Bet? Agile Technique Brief: Estimating – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until September 4, 2014
This agile approach to generating task estimates -- or "story points" -- makes a challenging task more fun and more accurate, by focusing more on relative feature sizes and actual production during a project iteration.
Personal Power Tools! (Grow critical strengths and keep your sanity, too!)
Organizational Structures, Modes of Power, and the Prisoners' Dilemma
Say you are assigned to a new project. What process do you follow to determine your approach to engaging the team? Do you analyze the project's organizational structure? How do you decide which role and power type to use? "Establishing power and influence within a project team can be complicated." This detailed column by Alan Zucker bears reading and study while you consider multiple possible approaches.
How Do I Develop Myself as a Leader? – MEMBER
In this paper, Warren Craycroft takes a look at the study of leadership and compares the approaches of two leadership scholars, Warren Bennis and John Gardner, as they wrestle with common leadership questions.
Spotlight – Other Project Templates, Tools, and Techniques
Who Put the #$!&@ in Teams?
"40 percent of those who have worked on teams have witnessed a verbal confrontation between team members, and 15 percent reported a physical confrontation." Talk about stunning statistics. Mike Aucoin embarks on a mini-series of blogs designed to combat the "comprehensive and systemic failure on the part of our organizations and the schools and universities that prepare us for work in those organizations."
Medical Product Risk Management Process – PREMIUM
If you want to do thorough, fully-documented risk management, it's hard to beat ISO 14971:2007.
Project Alternatives Tradeoff Table – PREMIUM
Document and communicate the alternatives you are considering for scope and features, and the impact of various combinations.
Tools and Equipment List – MEMBER
Document the tools and equipment you'll need during a project for testing, prototyping, etc.
Premium How-To Course
Using Meeting Notes Wisely
Presented by DeAnna Burghart
It's not as though anyone reads it, right? So how do you create and use meeting notes that fit your project needs and are worth everyone's time? This mini-course by DeAnna Burghart covers the ins and outs -- mostly outs -- of creating meeting minutes when you absolutely have to, and generating useful meeting notes when that's good enough. 1 PDU
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This summer, Cinda Voegtli is busy "Fast Ramping" PMs and teams in several different types of companies, including pharma, energy, and product development. If you're interested in getting the FastRamp tools and techniques approach, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Randy Englund and co-author Alfonso Bucero present a four day pre-Global Congress seminar in Phoenix, Arizona October 22-25 for PMI's SeminarsWorld on Integrating People, Organizational and Technical Skills: the Complete Project Manager." Register now with 20% discount code AB20. Randy and Alfonso also present papers during the Congress.
Brian Irwin will speak on agile transformation at the PMI® Global Congress in Phoenix, Arizona October 26-28.
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