Friday, February 28, 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I clicked this photograph using my Samsung mobile...again proving that technique is as important as the tool. In order to apply techniques properly one need to understand the subject. Without the sound knowledge of project management good practices, no tool is going to help you. In the photography circles they call it as making a photograph than taking a photograph.
Without the knowledge of critical path, fast tracking, crashing, earned value management, no project management tool is going to give you better results. It is more like some one using a camera without knowing aperture, shutter speed and iso.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Right now I am in the middle of a consulting assignment of transitioning a large team from ‘scrum but’ to right scrum. When I say right scrum, I refer to the scrum guide by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland which can be downloaded from http://www.scrum.org.
This team from this very large multi national product company came with the baggage of ‘I know scrum, and now you teach me scrum’ attitude, because they have been practising some sort of scrum. This attitude is not something new for me, as I have come across similar situations before as well.
Since agile is value based, like religions, a loss in faith is very difficult to be restored. No amount of talking would have convinced them. This is the biggest risk/challenge while dealing with teams with partial knowledge of s rum. At least that is my judgment, based on my past experiences with teams with partial knowledge of scrum.
As a coincidence, this was the time I came across the theory ‘U’ which was advocating the postponement of the three fears of;
Fear of judgment
Fear of cynicism
Fear of change
for effective change management.
I decided to implement the concept of ‘postponement of these fears’ at every stakeholder level, me being the first one. All the coaching sessions started with the request to postpone these fears till the completion of the first sprint, and the results are very positive. After experiencing the right scrum, most of these fears are automatically addressed. So, make it explicit to postpone the fears of judgment, cynicism and change before implementing scrum..it will give you a smooth start.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Start it on time and finish it on time.
Each person gets 2 minutes to update the status of his work to the rest of the team (what did I do yesterday, what am I doing today anx what are the issues I am facing.
Do not convert it into an issue resolution meeting
Very often the team members will talk to the senior most person in the group. In that case deliberately cut the eye contact with that person so that she will be forced to have eye contact with the rest of the team.
For issue resolution have separate meetings.
In case you are clubbing the scrum with the issue resolution meeting, formally divide the meeting into two and at the same time ensure that the scrum follows its rules.
Please remember that going for a meeting late or skipping an agreed upon meeting are not positive indicators of mutual respect.
If somebody violates the meeting norms anyone in the team can highlight it so that the correction happens then and there itself.
Every one must stand up during the stand up meeting.
Switch off mobiles
When a persontalks listen
Meeting must not take more than twenty minutes.
Stand up in a circle.
Donot stand with the boss on one side and others on the other side. This creates a divide. Always stand in a circle.
Who will start the meeting?. The person standing on the right side or left side of the scrum master
Whenever someone requests help pls note it down.
Always have the scrum meeting near the tracking board.
Conclude the meeting by putting your hands together for the progress made. Celebrate even small achievements.
Trust this helps.
Friday, February 21, 2014
- Satisfy the needs; task needs, team needs and individual needs.
- Project manager's role is a strategic role
- Understanding and applying the project management good practices
- Area specific skills
- General management competencies related to knowledge, performance and personal
- Leadership qualities
- Team building skills
- Decision making
- Political and cultural awareness
- Trust building
- Conflict management
Reference PMBOK Version 5, pages 16,17,18
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Some days ago I had a meeting with a division head of a global giant, to roll out agile project management within the division. To be honest, I went for this meeting without taking any extra effort from my side to understand this particular organisation, like their geographic spread, business case behind this initiative, status of the previous agile implementations, lessons learned, risks, how they were addressed, nature of employees, organisational policies, structure, decision making process, established work flows etc. The discussions started, and due yo my past experience with similar organisations, I could be practical enough to identify the areas I could contribute, and those which I could not. Without prior experience and the formal knowledge of the terms 'Organizational process assets' and 'Enterprise environmental factors', I would have a cut a sorry face infront of this customer who is a global giant in it's field, by agreeing to provide solutions to all their problems, which include business process reengineering of a global giant. Can I do it as an individual?, Never. If I had agreed to that in that meeting, it would have undermined whatever credibility I have with this customer. A proper understanding of the business case, stakeholders involved, enterprise environmental factors and the organisational process assets prior to the meeting will help anyone to be realistic while dealing with customers (existing, probable). In this case, my prior experience came to my rescue, else I would have landed up in deep trouble.
Let us take a closer look at 'Enterprise environmental factors' and 'Organisational process assets';
Enterprise environmental factors
All those factors around the enterprise, which may have an impact (positive/negative) on the project at hand will fall under the definition of enterprise environmental factors;
Visa processing norms
Availability of raw material
Availability of manpower
Organisational process assets
The intellectual property of the stakeholders of the project which can be leveraged during project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring & controlling and closing phases of a project comes under the definition of organisational process assets;
Risk management measures from past projects
Proprietory technology, procedures, components etc
Knowledge of these have a great impact on project planning, and has even higher value during pre-sales stages to understand the customer's needs and propose the best practical solution possible, which will yield the best results within the operating environment of the organisation.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Recently I had to interview a person over skype for a senior project manager's position in a country outside India. The fact that he is PMP certified was a matter of big comfort to me. We could easily strike a common vocabulary. My focus shifted from testing his knowledge about the project management good ptactices to his experience in using them, and about his outlook theory x vs theory y. This is very true with a pmi acp, or scrum certified professional as well. I consider it as a hygiene factor when it comes to opportunities. Having just a certification will not get you a great opportunity, but definitely not having them can cost you great opportunities by way of missing the screening criteria or failing to strike rapport with the interviewer. Well known certifications have value, and they have even greater value if the certificate holder is passionate about demonstrating the knowledge gained at the work place.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Most of the manufacturing, services organisations fall into this category. Organisations are divided into key functions, headed by functional managers (VP sales, VP Production, VP Finance, VP HR etc). Project managers report to the functional managers. Projects do not bring in any direct revenue, hence project teams are considered as support teams. If you are the project manager to implement a production planning and control system, then most probably you will be reporting to the VP production. In functional organisations the project manager will have least authority, where as the functional managers will have maximum authority levels.
Projectized or Project based organisation (PBO)
In these organisations, everything is managed as a project. It is the projects which bring in the money for the organisation, hence project teams are considered as the bread winners of the organisation. Other functions support the projects. In project based organisations, the project manager has the maximum authority and the functional managers have least authority.
The moment you hear the term 'dotted line reporting', you can be rest assured that you are in a matrix organization. In matrix organisations, the project team members report to more than one person (project manager, functional manager). Matrix organisations are ideal for teams which calls for cross disciplinary skills sets. Most of the product companies will have matrix organisational structures. Matrix organisations are further divided into;
- Strong matrix
- Weak matrix
- Balanced matrix
- In a strong matrix organisation, the project manager will have more authority than the functional manager.
- In a weak matrix organisation, the functional manager will have more authority than the project manager.
- In a balanced matrix, both the project manager and the functional manager shares the same kind of authority levels
- If all key decisions are taken by the functional manager, then it must be a functional organisation.
- If all key decisions are taken by the project manager, then it must be a projectized organisation.
- If all key decisions are taken by both the project manager and the functional manager together, then it must be a balanced matrix.
- If all key decisions are taken by the functional manager, after collecting inputs from the project manager, then it must be a weak matrix.
- If all key decisions are taken by the project manager, after collecting inputs from the functional manager, then it must be a strong matrix.
Reference : PMBOK Version 5, Pages 14, 21,22,23,24,25,26
Thursday, February 6, 2014
- Maintenance of an organisational backlog of issues to be addressed
- Project level agile transition goals as part of the organisational goals
- Decomposing the issue backlog into action items
- Daily updation of the tracking board and burn down chart
- Weekly stand up meetings
- Prioritizing them into sprints
- Maintenance of product backlog
- Defining the road map of releases
- Sprint planning meetings
- Daily scrum
- Update the tracking board
- Update the burn down chart
- Sprint review meetings
- Retrospective meetings
- Identification and prioritization of the organizational issues
- Identification of the teams for agile roll out
Different types of PMOs
Supportive - Provides a consultative role
Controlling - Provide support and require compliance
Directive - Controls the projects
Primary functions of a PMO
- Managing shared resources across all projects administered by the PMO
- Developing project management methods
- Coaching, mentoring, training and oversight
- Monitoring compliance
- Developing and maintaining project polices, procedures, templates
- Coordinating communication across projects
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Projects are temporary in nature Are performed by people Projects deliver unique products or services as an output Are progressively elaborated. When we start a project we have very less information about the project. As we get into the project deeper, we gain more insight about the project. Projects are constrained by limited resources of time, cost and scope. Operations are ongoing (continuous) in nature Operations produces standard outputs Designing a car is a project, where as manufacturing cars are operations. Watch the video below.
- Projects and operations
- What is a project?
- What is an operation?
- What is a program?
- What is portfolio management?
- What is a PMO?
- Project based organisations (PBO)
- Predictive and adaptive styles of project management
- Roles and responsibilities of a project manager
- Professional ethics and social responsibility of a project manager
- Skills required for a project manager
- Different organizational structures and the power equations
- Organisational process assets
- Enterprise environmental factors
- Organisational structures
- Organisational process assets
- Five process groups
- Monitoring and controlling
- Ten knowledge areas
- Project integration management
- Project scope management
- Project time management
- Project cost management
- Project quality management
- Project human resource management
- Project communications management
- Project risk management
- Project procurement management
- Project stakeholder management
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Saturday, February 1, 2014
The pmdistilled project management courses are evolved over a period of almost ten years and are focused to impart the right project management knowledge to the participants with least effort from the participants. The short cut to success is mastering the concepts from a practitioner's perspective which will give you better dividends in the longer run than just having a certification. In the past we have had students who tried to mug up the concepts without understanding them properly, and went blank during the exam. So, the easiest way to succeed is to understand the concepts first, and then later focus on the exam practice.
The PMdistilled pmp preparatory online, instructor led course
This course is for the busy excecutive in mind, who wants to learn from anywhere at his own pace, yet do not want to go for a record and play back course. When you join for this course, your pmp journey is considered as a project, and the instructor will work along with you till you pass the exam. For ease of grasping and recollection, we have designed the course process group wise (initiation, planning, execution, monitoring&contdolling and closing), which gives the natural flow of a project, which is easy to recollect as it reflects the natural flow of a project.
The course outline