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  Management Articles    

The Agile Customer:
Making Your Supplier a Bit More Agile

This article is also published on Project Connections.
Topic: Agile, Management   •   Date Published: 31 Mar 2010

"We are adopting an Agile method for our internal development projects. But on my project, some of the development work is being done by an outside contractor who is decidedly non-Agile! How can we be Agile when they are not?" Agility is relatively easy when you control all of the parts of the project. But when others are involved, barriers to Agility can begin to spring up. The best way to overcome those barriers depends upon your situation. So let's explore options for injecting some Agility in spite of the Waterfall raining down on you from your supplier.

Blurring the Line Between Dev & QA
This article is also published on Project Connections.
Topic: Management, Quality   •   Date Published: 25 Oct 2010

What's the difference between development and QA? It's been decades since we began distinguishing between these two project roles, and in most organizations the fact that they are necessary and distinct from each other is taken as an article of faith. But new voices have arisen in recent years. Most of them do not suggest that we go back to the 1960s, but they do raise interesting questions about the Dev/QA dichotomy. How well has the traditional structure worked? What dysfunctions are crying out to be addressed? Can we make our projects more effective by re-thinking these two roles and how they relate to each other?

Employee Recognition in an Agile Team
This article is also published on Project Connections.
Topic: Agile, Management   •   Date Published: 3 Sep 2009

Fred sent me this question: "I've read that recognition (in whatever form is most valued to the individual) is an important motivator. In the context of Agile team dynamics, I'm guessing that individual recognition could be counterproductive to everyone working well together, but recognition would be a better motivator if it were directed toward the entire team rather than just to a few individuals on the team that stood out. What do you think?"

The Agile methods are designed to make the work environment itself a motivator for the team members. But well-placed recognition can be a powerful addition – if it is done in an Agile way!

Fix It Fast vs. Fix It Right
This article is also published on Project Connections.
Topic: ITIL®, Management   •   Date Published: 13 Nov 2009

They were already doing Root Cause Analysis (RCA), but they were failing to get any real benefit from it. The heart of the problem with their RCA process lies in the fact they were mixing and confusing the two distinct and different ways that you can respond to any problem that comes along: 1) fix it fast, or 2) fix it right. They were trying to do both of them at the same time, which often isn't possible. They learned how to fix things fast, and so the "fix it right" part of the equation kept failing, even though they were trying to make it work. A deliberate Root Cause Analysis process will help them get to the bottom of a problem and fix it permanently, not just quickly.

High-Maturity Project Management
This article is also published on Global Knowledge.
Topic: Management   •   Date Published: 17 Aug 2006

We are doing all of the things that the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) tells us to do. Have we reached the pinnacle of project management? Hardly! We have laid the foundation of good project management practice. With this foundation in place, we are ready to embark on our journey toward excellence in project management. We are ready to move into the area that the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI®) refers to as "higher maturity levels."

How Much Quality Can We Afford?
Improving our Cost of Quality

This article is also published on Project Connections.
Topic: Management, Quality   •   Date Published: 1 Jun 2010

Sure, it might be nice to build a higher quality product. But how much quality can we really afford? Well, let's break out our Cost of Quality Calculator and try out the numbers.

ITIL®: A Foundation for Project Success
This article is also published on Project Connections.
Topic: ITIL, Management, Requirements, Quality   •   Date Published: 9 Oct 2006

At its heart, quality is a matter of meeting the business need. Can the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) -- a process model for IT Service Management -- help us with our development projects? Absolutely! ITIL can help us to assure the quality of the systems we develop by providing the basis for understanding the business need and taking action on that understanding. ITIL can be our foundation for project success by defining the context for our project and for the product we will build!

ITIL® – Why Should I Care?
This article is also published on Project Connections.
Topic: ITIL, Management   •   Date Published: 27 May 2011

ITIL (the Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a framework of good practice in IT Service Management. You needn't look far to find articles and presentations that explain ITIL. But those explanations may leave you with many more questions. Cinda Voegtli, CEO and Founder of Project Connections engaged in a long-distance conversation with me about this. We invite you to listen in.

Lessons Learned: Its Not Just a Good Idea...
This article is also published on Global Knowledge.
Topic: Management   •   Date Published: 25 Sep 2007

Call them "Lessons Learned," "Retrospectives," "Postmortems," or whatever you wish; taking the time at the end of each project to look back is almost universally considered to be a good idea. In fact, I can't remember ever having someone tell me that they don't think it is a good idea. "Oh yes!" I am often told, "We should do them!"
... "Should?"

Negotiating the Triple Constraints
This article is also published on Global Knowledge.
Topic: Management   •   Date Published: 14 Jun 2006

"Here is what I need. I need it by the first of June, and it can't cost any more than this." The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) tells us that every project is governed by the "Triple Constraints" of Scope, Cost and Time, and that these three must be balanced with each other to achieve project success. But our project Sponsor either doesn't know about the Triple Constraints, or doesn't care. He or she gives us the mandate, and we are stuck with it!
... Or are we?

PM Network: Feedback: Dilbert Isn't Real
This article was published in PM Network Magazine.
Topic: Management   •   Date Published: Feb 2008

As I read Michael Hatfield's piece ("To the Rescue", November 2007), I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. "Ha!" he would write, "I tricked you!" But no! He really was writing about senior executives plotting stupidity. ... While this may have been intended as a humorous piece, it belies (and supports) the too-widely held idea that Dilbert's boss inhabits our boardrooms.

Project Quality Management Series Part 3: Quality Control, Ensuring "Good Enough"
This article is also published on Global Knowledge.
Topic: Quality, Metrics, Management   •   Date Published: 15 Mar 2007

I don't need to ask if you test and debug your products. We all do! But we are not all successful at ensuring that our products are "good enough"! In fact, many of us find that, in spite of our best efforts, the products that we put into production are disappointing. We are doing Quality Control activities only to find that they have been less than effective. Ensuring that our product is "good enough" takes more than just trying hard! It requires that we do the right things, and that we do them well.

Quantifying Risk: The Purpose of Testing
This article is also published on CM Crossroads.
Topic: Quality, Risk, Management   •   Date Published: 16 Feb 2010

Testing is such an integral part of our software projects that we often don't stop to think about why we do it. We must do it! What else is there to know? It is obvious that software that has not been tested is unready for deployment. But as painful experience has taught us, testing does not guarantee that the software is fit to deploy. Even rigorously tested software may still have hidden fatal flaws.

Software Quality Data Series Part 3: Quality Control Using In-Process Data
Topic: Quality, Metrics, Management   •   Date Published: 2003

In Part 3, we will discuss using in-process metrics to track against our quaity plan, and taking corrective action when the in-process data suggest it. This is how we actually gain control over quality!

Software Quality – Service Quality: What's the Difference?
This article is also published on CM Crossroads.
Topic: ITIL®, Management, Quality   •   Date Published: 16 Oct 2006

We have spent many years talking about building high-quality software products. But a high-quality application will not meet the needs of our customers if it exists in a context that is otherwise quality-challenged. And more importantly, we are unlikely to understand all of the quality attributes that are required of our software unless we examine them while considering the entirety of those IT Services. ITIL shows us how to do this.

Using Earned Value Series Part 2: Tracking Software Projects
Topic: Management   •   Date Published: 2003
How can 90% of our projects be 90% complete 90% of the time? Earned Value is a project planning and tracking method that removes much of the subjectivity from the process. In this second article (of two), we will learn how to track status against that plan, and how to handle problems like accounting for unplanned tasks.


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