Posts Tagged ‘Project Management’

Project Management in an Agile World

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Agile not only requires project teams to operate differently, it also demands that project managers apply new leadership techniques. Traditionally managed projects (waterfall) are typically governed by a top down management approach. Agile, however, puts the power in the hands of the team and its members. It assumes that the individuals who “do the work” have the best knowledge of how to get the work done.

After the Manifesto for Agile Software development was written in 2001, the declaration was later generalized in 2005 to include other forms of management. It identified six key principles as essential to project management under the Agile framework. The generalized declaration, entitled the “Project Management Declaration of Interdependence”, is quoted below.

“We are a community of project leaders that are highly successful at delivering results. To achieve these results:
- We increase return on investment by making continuous flow of value our focus.
- We deliver reliable results by engaging customers in frequent interactions and shared ownership.
- We expect uncertainty and manage for it through iterations, anticipation, and adaptation.
- We unleash creativity and innovation by recognizing that individuals are the ultimate source of value, and creating an environment where they can make a difference.
- We boost performance through group accountability for results and shared responsibility for team effectiveness.
- We improve effectiveness and reliability through situationally specific strategies, processes and practices.”

(©2005 David Anderson, Sanjiv Augustine, Christopher Avery, Alistair Cockburn, Mike Cohn, Doug DeCarlo, Donna Fitzgerald, Jim Highsmith, Ole Jepsen, Lowell Lindstrom, Todd Little, Kent McDonald, Pollyanna Pixton, Preston Smith and Robert Wysocki.)

How are we doing? Quick earned value ratios to check your project’s health

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Project Managers use the Earned Value Management technique to zero in on their project’s health.   It’s a tool that helps the project manager to objectively answer, how are we doing?   The technique can provide an  early barometer of impending trouble.   In the heat of project execution, how many times have you asked yourself, is my project on track?  Are we where we should be?  If we keep moving at this rate, is it likely that we will we finish on time on budget?  

You can use the Schedule Peformance Index (SPI) and the Cost Performance Index (CPI) ratios to determine your project’s performance relative to the planned schedule and budget.  They can be powerful indicators to keep you and your project stakeholders informed.  NASA provides a wealth of detail about earned value management at  You can also visit the The Project Management Institute’s College of Performance Management to learn more.

-Project Walker

Is It Really a Project?

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Your company’s largest most profitable client has complained to the CIO.   From their perspective,  your organization is not meeting their service level agreement.   The client was unable to process transactions on the customer portal ten times last month, and they are threatening to pull their business.  You were copied on the email that advised the customer, the business unit director and the CIO that you have been named as the IT project manager to lead the issue resolution.  Your assignment will last as long as the customer is dissatisfied.  Your charter is to pull together any IT resources that you need to make the customer happy. 

Congratulations, you’ve been named as the project manager, but is this really a project?  Well, let’s see.  Projects have a definite beginning and end.   Their objective is provide a specific unique deliverable such as a product or service.    In the scenario above, you don’t have much information to work with.  What kind of transaction was the customer trying to process?  Is it really an IT problem or is there a business process issue?   What if the employee at the customer site didn’t have a valid user id?  In short, you really don’t know what problem you’re trying to solve and you don’t know what you need to deliver.  So, satisfying the customer is important, but…you really don’t have a project…yet.  You’re going to need to gather more information before you’ll have an idea about what to do next.  You could end up with several projects when you’re done!  Next on the blog –   How are we doing? Quick earned value ratios to check your project’s health.