April 11, 2013, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.
From the Editor
Not sure where managers fit in the whole Agile scheme? You're not alone. Kent McDonald's column this week addresses this quandary for both technical and account managers, by focusing on meaningful project contributions, not just management "duties." Plus, you'll find a new telecourse, and resources designed to help you keep your project and your team on track.
Did you miss Project Crisis Bingo last week? Download your copy here and put your war room wall to practical -- or at least entertaining -- use.
Do Project Managers Have a Role in Agile?
Organizations moving to agile methodologies naturally have to embrace self-organized teams, which can leave managers wondering where they fit in. While introducing teams to agile, I often have the opportunity to help these lost managers figure out their new role. One organization I worked with recently had one manager for the developers on the team -- we'll call this the Technical Manager -- and another managing the relationship with the business stakeholders -- the Account Manager. Both managers were new to these roles; the organization had split responsibilities between technical ownership and the business relationship just a few months before. Both managers were having difficulty figuring out where they fit in the grand scheme of things, but for different reasons.
Find out how Kent defines each manager's new role »
By Kent McDonald
Blogger Brian Irwin also has some thoughts on the PM role in Agile environments, which he outlines in his entry this month. He even includes several different scenarios for how different role transitions might play out. It's a great complement to Kent's column, above.
Don't forget to check out the rest of the Project Practitioners entries this week -- highlighted below.
Test For Success
Project Test Plans and Tools - Free for Premium Subscribers
This bundle provides practical tools for planning and executing thorough tests of your project's deliverables -- before they are deployed to the customer! Correcting issues gets more and more costly as your project progresses. By testing pieces at each stage of development, then testing the system from the customer's viewpoint, teams can avoid a painful, expensive end-game, as well as post-deployment headaches.
$59.95 for non-subscribers, free for Premium subscribers. Multi-user licenses available.
Premium How-To Course
Is Agile Right for Your Project?
Presented by Kent McDonald
It's tempting to think of Agile as a silver bullet, especially if your existing project framework suffers under a monstrous bureaucracy. But if you think you want to try an Agile approach, you'd better first identify the problem you're trying to solve. 1 PDU
Learn more »
Keep An Eye On The Horizon
Does Anyone Else See That? Spiraling In – MEMBER
It's not enough to follow the rules. You have to keep your eye on the project goals, too. This case study tells the harrowing tale of a team that scrupulously followed their development process and solved critical problems in the high-risk design
and still failed miserably. The lessons learned here are important to any project team, and the senior managers guiding their efforts.
Please Turn to Page 12 - Project Status Reports – PREMIUM
Writing status reports is a frequently dreaded -- and often postponed -- project task, probably because there's far too much focus on writing. That's too bad, because a good status report can highlight issues at a glance and direct efforts to solving them before things get out of hand. This file includes five different formats that capture status on just a few pages (or slides) as well as a one-page format for summarizing status on multiple projects. Spend less time writing, and more time managing.
We've Got Everything Except the Parts - Checklist for Manufacturing Release Readiness – PREMIUM
If you don't have a supplier, you don't have a product. Consider the items in this checklist to be sure your product is really ready to be fully released into manufacturing. It asks key readiness questions in areas covering everything from product functionality to reliability, component sourcing to manufacturing yield.
Build A Team That Works Together
Confident Managers Mean Confident Teams - Project Coaching Check-in Calendar and Worksheet – PREMIUM
One of the best ways to help your project managers, especially newer ones, is to have colleagues provide advice and assistance throughout their projects. This template will help you schedule, plan, and monitor multiple PM check-ins in a busy project environment. The Calendar provides a table view of projects and their key upcoming milestones, as well as notes on possible areas of discussion or concern. The Worksheet provides a format for keeping track of key project status, issues, and items to discuss.
First One to Check Email Buys the Bagels - Preventing and Solving Meeting Disruptions – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until April 25, 2013
Inconsiderate behavior or overeager participants can severely disrupt a meeting. Meeting facilitators can usually avoid and correct these distractions with effective coaching during the meeting. This guideline provides ideas and suggestions for handling the most common kinds of meeting disrupters without dragging the meeting off-track.
Getting to Know You - Partner/Vendor Assessment Checklist – PREMIUM
Before you sign on the dotted line with a new outsourcing company or contract resource, make sure you have compatible project philosophies and expectations. The questions in this checklist are aimed at ensuring you have a common understanding and good fit in goals, skills and experience, processes, and priorities.
You have to know how the game is played before you can decide whether to play it. Randy Englund asks us to consider whether or not we are truly "in the game," and whether or not we want to be. The point is to make a conscious choice, and use that choice to improve our contributions to the organization as a whole.
Alfonso Bucero shares his thoughts and best practices on Influence and Integrity this week. In his succinct and pointed words, will you bend your actions to conform to your principles, or bend your principles to conform to your actions?
Challenges breed both opportunity and learning, and few things are more challenging than starting a company. Ann Drinkwater encourages us to be open to that passionate, focused, and completely committed mindset, even inside our existing organizations, so we can reap the startup rewards.
Ready for more Reasons for Project Failure? Morley Selver has several doozies this month, along with suggestions for avoiding them on your projects. Are you paying sufficient attention to your stakeholders, your communications, and your team morale?
Carl Pritchard is teaching his last PMP Exam Prep class oriented to PMBOK® Guide 4th Edition in Maryland on May 1-2. If you're coasting ahead to version 5, he's already planning this year's Seminars at Sea cruise in August, which will cover the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition and ISO 21500. Get more information on both events from Carl's website.
Kimberly Wiefling will be in San Diego in May, providing a keynote and workshops for the PMI San Diego Chapter Annual Conference.
Morley Selver is teaching Fundamentals of Capital Project Cost Control in locations around British Columbia in May.
Corporate Subscriptions and Licensing
Want your team members to have their own access to templates and how-to resources for their project work? Need to share documents and deliverables beyond your project team? We make it easier with affordable corporate subscriptions and licensing. Detailed information regarding corporate options is available online. Give your whole team, or even the entire organization, cost-effective access to our comprehensive online library of resources. You already know how helpful it's been for you. Now it's time to share with everyone else. Find out more »
Not sure if corporate terms apply to you? Check out our licensing terms at the top of our Terms of Service page, in refreshingly ordinary, everyday English.