4 steps to solving issues in projects

In many different projects and organisations, I’ve seen people struggle with techniques on how to solve issues without creating huge issue registers that weigh down the project and takes an inordinate amount of time to manage, resulting in the actual problems often not getting the attention they deserve. There are lots of agile techniques for tracking stories and work, like card walls, but what’s...

Agile Project Management in a Larger Organisation – Video of my talk

I was recently asked to do a short talk and Q&A for an agile project management meetup in London. You can see the full video here: https://skillsmatter.com/skillscasts/7115-agile-project-management-in-a-larger-organisation Lots of great questions, so hope...

Burning Down Hours is Anti-Agile Because Working Software is the Primary Measure of Progress

A burn-down chart can use anything for the units, such as hours or points, but originally Scrum's burn-down chart tracked hours of work remaining in the iteration. Many people still use an hours-based burn-down chart as their primary measure of progress during...

Dependencies Break Agile

I’ve been running around lately telling people that the presence of dependencies break Agile. Just for the record, I want to explain what I mean when I talk about dependencies. Agile in general, Scrum specifically, is predicated on the idea that the team has...

The Case for Project Management

How far ahead should we plan? I depends on what you are building, when you need to have it done… and if you aren’t going to get done… how soon do you need to know about it. If your goal is to build the highest value features possible, deliver continuously...

Who Owns the Risk?

Back in my late 20′s I was a project manager in a pretty good sized IT shop. I worked under a great VP that put me in situations that were really beyond my abilities.  He fundamentally believed that I’d do a good job for him. He trusted that I’d learn what...

Agile Project Management – Extending PMBOK

I have long held the belief that agile is only a part and a subset of the wider topic of project management.  I feel there are various aspects of project management that aren't particularly covered by any of the most popular agile methods, or at least not by Scrum...

PMBOK and Agile

When I was a project manager using more traditional project management methods, I found the PMBOK (Project Management Body Of Knowledge) really useful.  Unfortunately the PMI (Project Management Institute) charge for it now, but it was useful to me at that time,...

Discussing the Definition of Done: 8 Questions & Answers

Establishing an upfront, common understanding of “done” that suits the unique dynamics of each development project can be one of the most critical activities for Agile teams. With a consistent meaning of done, agreed to by the whole team, velocity or throughput...

Do Not Drive Beyond Your Headlights

I’ve heard stories where organizations have “tried Agile” and the results were so bad that they’ll never make that mistake again. In some of these stories the blame is laid at the feet of bad coaches. In some it’s blamed on lack of coaching. In some,...

Feature Folly

In my executive presentations I spend a fair amount of time on the topic of Do Less, talking about how we waste an incredible amount of time and money building features that are rarely or never used. Published studies put this number at far greater than 50%. I...

A Sample Format for a Spreadsheet-Based Product Backlog

I want to show a real easy way to put user stories in a spreadsheet-based product backlog. I wrote this after seeing someone tweet a screen capture of a product backlog I made 9 years ago and thought to myself, “Yikes, that’s out of date for how I do it today…” As...

Balancing Adaptability and Predictability

One of the most vexing issues for executives and managers is balancing the need for both predictability and adaptability in software delivery. While this might seem like an either/or issue, the solutions are really both/and ones. In presentations I often ask the...