26 Sep 2015 Value-Driven Project Plan

After very stressful three weeks of current work in preparing project plans and design proof of concepts (to validate estimations :-) ), I looked at my personal calendar for PMP PDUs, I realized that I was behind the schedule in gaining 3 PDUs and started looking for interesting webinars and articles.

I looked at the following articles

  • What’s Wrong with the Plan? : With different perception of building capacity and value driven execution and instead of plan-driven execution
  • Prepare to Pitch : an advice to senior project managers to Keep your eyes and ears open, find new opportunities, pitch, execute, repeat. That’s the formula for long-term viability in today’s project management profession.
  • Alignment Map : Mapping from business Cases to project initiates, execution and IT Support

After reading these articles, it enforces further that the project plans should be aligned with business cases and value driven execution

Another interesting article http://larsbarkman.com/2015/08/26/alignmentmaps-with-graphviz/ using graphviz to build a graph. I will try this tool for next assignment :-)

You can check it out another interesting Book www.agileorgdesign.com/p/table-of-contents-preface.html by Sriram Narayan to look different perception of agile in business,team and delivery contexts.

30 Jan 2015 can sprint plan/review meeting reschedule frequently?

"Sprint Review Meeting postponed for 2 hours."

"Sprint Planning Meeting rescheduled to tomorrow because ..."

Do you see these messages frequently while working with various sprints?

Generally, Coming late for any meeting or reschedule meetings frequently (mainly India) are taking lightly for different reasons.

Sometimes, When was I coming late to home at 10 PM then My Wife referred that it was big mistake because her next scheduled plan disrupted and it leaded to missing school bus for my children in next day because they are delayed to reach the bus stop. It has an impact on taking food.

In Software Development, Do you see any impact on coming late for Sprint Review Meeting or frequently reschedule meetings ?

Agile Practices are more focus on Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Scrum Masters, Product Owners are the role models for Scrum Team; Team will get influenced or tuned by Product Owner's behaviour.

As product owner, If he/she is coming late to the meeting and not presenting focused backlog items then it signals to team that Product Owner was not focused or this project is less priority for the product owner; Team may take this signal and delivery very poor quality and finding excuses like insufficient time,scope or it is big work for sprint. Follow up meeting like retrospective meeting will be delayed or skipped.

Agile Practices are stressful and highly disciplined practices. I see coming late and delay in sprint plan and review meetings are some of anti-patterns that it may leads to sprints and project poor deliveries.

12 Oct 2014 Are Agile Practices worth?

Scrum and XP Practices are designed for incremental software deliverables when

  • scope is not clear or very frequently changes in requirements
  • difficult to identify activities to perform
  • technical or project risks are high
  • visualize an idea

Traditional Project Management Practices will work very well when

  • scope of work seems to be clear :-) and ability to identify activities and their order of execution
  • less technical or project risks

Both approaches are great based on the context and nature of work.

But I experienced something different during recent assignments.

For one of the recent assignments in product development, I strongly believe Scrum and XP Practices will fit it correctly due to building the concept and understand the technical constraints

we proposed software development practices based on XP and Scrum and build Continous Integration system and shared with the team

we executed four sprints, but it ended up with

  • Sprint items are not ready and too many bugs
  • Basic integration of components is not made.
  • Process owners are team are not happy the process of work.

I think that this situation occurred due to

  • Process owners, Scrum Master are unable to influence the team about agile practices though organization is ready to adapt Agile Practices. Here are a couple of observations
    • delay or overtime for planned meetings like standup,planned and review meetings
    • insufficient information in sprint items with acceptable user stories
    • fail to arrange retrospective meetings
    • lack of mentoring teams and unable to handle anti-patterns development practices
  • Team is unable to accept or adapt practices due to team internal interaction. Here are a couple of observations
    • coming late for the meetings
    • passive in planning and review meetings
    • ineffective standup meetings
    • no interaction with scrum master or process owners to bring sprint results
  • Team members are not ready for the challenge themselves for delivery best from them.Here are a couple of observations
    • consistently missing their sprint items and sharing silly reasons in review meeting
    • ineffective planning their planned works
    • ignore their mistakes that learned from previous sprints
  • Skilled Team Members are not identified for the project(may be)
  • Team size(~12) make slow in decision making

Now, Process Owners don't see other options to meet project schedule back to traditional project management like assign tasks to members and follow up the work with mixing of some agile practices

In summary, People and time are one of the critical factors to choose and adapt right development practice.

Are you facing similar situations then refer of excellent book Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum which covers transition and challenges in agile adaptation