Focus on quality and valuable results, as opposed to pro-forma documentation and not-always-valuable reports, is a huge focus of the Agile movement. You could perhaps say it's the primary focus. But shouldn't it be the focus for any project team? Documentation and reporting aren't bad by definition, of course, but used poorly they become a blunt instrument used to bludgeon the team, the customer, and sometimes the project outcomes. This week, two of our project experts counsel a different approach, one focused on ensuring the project is generating the things that are needed, without slavish devotion to reports and hidebound team roles. What would continuous attention to technical excellence look like on your teams?
Agile Advice for Any Team
Agile Testing: Technical Excellence
The founders of the Agile movement didn't get everything right. I believe they severely understated their case on Agile Principle #9. Excellence "enhances" Agility? Enhances?!?! That is like saying that breathing might be a good idea!
If I had been sitting at the table with Beck, Cockburn, Schwaber and the others as they were formulating the 12 Agile Principles at the Snowbird resort in Utah in February 2001, the statement about Technical Excellence would have been much stronger. How about "enables agility"? Or "underpins" it? Or "Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design is so absolutely indispensable to agility that you had better not even THINK you can be agile WITHOUT IT." I don't think you can overstate the importance of Technical Excellence, especially if you want to be Agile.
On high-achieving Agile teams, coders do a lot more than code, and testers do a lot more than test. »
Was Drucker an Agilist?
I first read Drucker many years ago and expected to find ideas that were woefully out of date. Instead, Drucker offered timeless wisdom about the role of the organization within society and the practice of management. In the chapter, ÒThe Proper Use of Reports and ProceduresÓ (excerpted from The Practice of Management), Drucker cautions about the misuse of reports and procedures as elements of oversight and control. "The Agile Manifesto" affirms Drucker. As project managers, we should consider DruckerÕs wisdom and the principles of the Agile movement when deciding how to manage our projects.
Was Drucker an Agilist? Are you making these critical mistakes with reporting requirements for your teams? »
Mini-Course (A benefit for Premium subscribers)
Keeping Status Visible
Almost no one looks forward to sitting around a table listening to other people status action items for an hour or two. In this mini-course, Agile expert Kent McDonald explains how your team can do effective status reporting in unique and visible ways that avoid those extended status meetings. Keep people informed with the minimum of overhead and effort using these unique techniques, even if you're using traditional phase-based management approaches. 1 PDU.
Driving Quality at an Organizational Level
Enterprise Project Management Office (PMO) Charter – PREMIUM
To increase the odds of successfully launching a Project Management Office, your charter should help build and document stakeholder consensus about the PMO's goals, mission, constraints, and resources. This charter outline, provided by an experienced and highly successful director of an enterprise PMO, walks PMO heads and stakeholders through key success factors for launching an enterprise-wide PMO, Project Office, or Center of Excellence.
Software Requirements Management – MEMBER
Requirements management isn't just for big companies and government contracts. Veteran software executive Anita Wotiz shares her myth-shattering experience with successful software requirements management implementations -- done with full buy-in and "on the cheap."
Software Requirements Capture Guideline – PREMIUM
Detailed guidelines from an experienced software development executive intent on capturing all necessary requirements, documenting them thoroughly, and ensuring they are well understood. Be sure you're actually building the right thing -- and be sure everyone else is sure, too.
Spotlight – Other Project Templates, Tools, and Techniques
Randy Englund and Alfonso Bucero will present "Integrating People, Organizational, and Technical Skills: the Complete Project Manager" in London May 14-15, 2015, after the PMI EMEA Global Congress. They will also cover this topic in Orlando July 20-23 at PMI Mega SeminarsWorld, and October 7-10 prior to the PMI North America Global Congress.
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