Project Management Pills


01.07.2019

How Can Companies Switch To Agile?

Many companies are not able to make the switch to Agile approaches (from predictive to agile) overnight.

Usually, the bigger the company the longer it will take to change from one approach to another.

To reach the objective it is important to plan a gradual transition.

In detail, teams can start by adding more iterative techniques to improve learning; then teams can add more incremental techniques to accelerate value and return on investment.

The mix of approaches creates a hybrid approaches.

Keep in mind: test the strategy on a simple project with few risks. Then, when a company is ready to adopt the hybrid approach, the test can be done on more complex projects.

24.06.2019

The Hybrid Approach

To reach a certain goal Project Managers can combine elements of different life cycles (predictive and agile).

A combination of different approaches generates a hybrid approach.

For example, a Project Manager can follow agile approaches by using short iterations, daily standups and retrospectives.

At the same time, in the same project, the same Project Manager can take advantage of predictive approaches such as upfront estimation, progress tracking and work assignment.

Using both approaches (agile and predictive) is a common scenario.

No matter the type of approach used, the objective of Project Management is to produce business value to customers given the current environment.

Keep in mind: the right question to answer is: how can we be most successful?

17.06.2019

Agile Life Cycles

To reach a certain goal Project Managers can combine elements of different life cycles (predictive and agile).

A combination of different approaches generates a hybrid approach.

For example, a Project Manager can follow agile approaches by using short iterations, daily standups and retrospectives.

At the same time, in the same project, the same Project Manager can take advantage of predictive approaches such as upfront estimation, progress tracking and work assignment.

Using both approaches (agile and predictive) is a common scenario.

No matter the type of approach used, the objective of Project Management is to produce business value to customers given the current environment.

Keep in mind: the right question to answer is: how can we be most successful?

10.06.2019

Incremental Life Cycles

Some projects cannot afford to wait for everything to be completed.

In these cases, it is possible to deliver a subset of the overall solution to customers.

Frequent delivery of smaller deliverables to customers is done through incremental life cycles.

Incremental life cycles optimize work for delivering value more often than a single, final product.

The team can choose to deliver a minimum viable product (MVP) to a subset of customers.

The customers’ feedback helps the team to learn what they need to provide for subsequent delivery of the final finished feature.

Keep in mind: incremental life cycles are used to ensure customers get value sooner than at the end of the project.

03.06.2019

Iterative Life Cycles

To manage projects characterized by frequent changes to the requirements and high complexity Project Managers can use iterative life cycles.

Iterative life cycles improve the product through successive prototypes.

Stakeholder feedback are used to create new prototypes which incorporate new information by repeating one or more project activities in the next cycle.

Iterative life cycles may take longer than other types of life cycles because they are optimized for learning rather than speed of delivery.

Keep in mind: Iterations are also used to identify and reduce project uncertainty.

27.05.2019

Predictive Life Cycles

Predictive projects typically deliver business value at the end of the project.

Project Managers use predictive life cycles to take advantage of high certainty around requirements and project team.

To use this approach, the team requires detailed plans to know what to deliver and how. Project activities are often execute in a serial manner.

Project Managers aim to minimize change for the predictive projects; in fact, they monitor and control changes that might affect the scope, schedule, or budget.

When predictive projects encounter changes they will incur unexpected costs.

Keep in mind: predictive life cycles take advantage of high certainty and low risks.

20.05.2019

Project requires planning

All types of project life cycle share the element of planning.

Regardless of the project life cycle, the project requires planning.

Predictive: the Project Manager defines the plan upfront in order to estimate when the deliverables can be delivered.

Iterative: prototypes are constantly planned. In this case initial plans can be modified by project outputs.

Incremental: teams may plan several successive deliveries which influence the future project work.

Agile: teams plan and replan as more information becomes available from review of frequent deliveries.

Keep in mind: what differentiates a life cycle is how much planning is done and when it is done.

13.05.2019

Four types of Project Life Cycles

There are different ways to undertake projects.

Project Managers need to be aware of the options available to select the right approach for a specific situation.

Let's analyze four types of life cycles:

  • Predictive life cycle: the Project Manager focuses on defining the scope for the project. Then he/she develops a plan on how the product can be delivered. Finally the plan is executed through project phases.
  • Iterative life cycle: the phases can overlap or happen sequentially. The cost and time estimates are modified routinely especially when the understanding of the product increases.
  • Incremental life cycle: it develops a product through the implementation of incremental steps which have predetermined timeframes.
  • Agile life cycle: it is both iterative and incremental to refine work items and deliver frequently.
Keep in mind: we can say that agile is at one end and predictive is at the other end.

06.05.2019

Iterative and incremental approaches reduce waste

Some projects have uncertain functional requirements that contribute to high rates of change and project complexity.

If project uncertainty increases, so does the risk of rework and the need to use a different approach.

In fact, to mitigate the impact of these risks, teams use small increments to rapidly understand what are the customer requirements.

Project Managers who want to manage complex projects easily can use iterative and incremental approaches.

Keep in mind: iterative and incremental approaches help to reduce waste and rework because project teams can use feedback purposefully.


29.04.2019

Agile Approaches Help Organizations

To remain competitive today, companies need to stay focused on customer satisfaction.

To constantly deliver products and services of high value, they have to run projects that have high rates of change, complexity, and risk.

It can be difficult to manage these types of projects by using traditional predictive approaches.

Whereas, agile approaches help organizations respond to market changes better.

Having said that, if a project team is not ready to adopt a formal agile approach it can start by dividing up one large project into several releases, if that works for the project context.

In fact, the objective is to implement changes that will help the project succeed.

Keep in mind: regardless of the approach used, the final goal is to deliver a continuous flow of value to customers and achieve better business results.


15.04.2019

Stakeholders Engagement

As a project manager, you should daily monitor the level of involvement of project stakeholders.

Enhancing the effectiveness of stakeholders engagement, as the project evolves, is key to its success.

Involving project stakeholders early can help understanding their views and interests which could lead to more efficient decision-making.

Also, efficient engagement is critical to building trust and obtaining stakeholder support throughout the project life cycle.

Keep in mind: stakeholder management takes time and money, but repairing relationships could cost a lot more.


01.04.2019

Manage Contractor or Supplier

A complex project may involve managing multiple contracts.

Each contract life cycle may begin and end during any phase of the project life cycle.

According to the application field, the seller may be identified as a contractor or supplier. Whereas, the buyer may be the owner of the final product.

Buyers should evaluate the seller’s ability to perform by checking references and discovering as much as possible about previous engagements.

It is also important to evaluate seller's performance periodically in order to check if everything is on track, if there are new risks to consider and so on.

Keep in mind: in small organization and those without a procurement department, project managers may assume the purchasing authority role to negotiate and sign contracts directly.

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