Monday, August 30, 2010

Differences between Waterfall, Iterative Waterfall, Scrum and Lean Software Development (In Pictures!)

We have enjoyed reading the posts over at The Agilista PM and we found one to be particularly worthy of a re-post here on our space. The Agilista PM has a bevy of awesome videos, blog posts and resources - we encourage you to check it out!

From the post, this simple overview of the different Agile-Lean methods found was too great to not share. Sometimes it is best to keep it simple to build a foundational understanding….then build on that.

We'll share The Agilista PM's description of Waterfall Development.

Waterfall Development
‘Waterfall Development’ is another name for the more traditional approach to software development.

It’s called ‘waterfall’ as this type of development is often planned using a Gantt chart – you complete one phase (e.g. planning) before moving on to the next phase (e.g. development).

In Waterfall approaches, you will rarely aim to re-visit a ‘phase’ once it’s completed. As such, you better get whatever you’re doing right the first time!

This approach is highly risky, often more costly and generally less efficient than more Agile approaches.

To learn about the other types of development, check out the post directly at The Agilista PM.

  • Iterative Waterfall Development
  • Scrum Development
  • Lean Development

Do you have a great blog post to share? Let us know via Twitter @Project_World

Friday, August 27, 2010

ProjectNews August Edition: Creating a Rescue Plan in Chile

August Challenge:
Rescuing the Chilean Miners

Each month we will present you with a HOT TOPIC CHALLENGE that will generate real-time discussion within the PW&WCBA community LIVE via the Discussion Module in our LinkedIn Group.

We'd then like YOU (the ProjectNews Community) to talk about, criticize, share and develop suggestions and improvements with your peers based on each monthly challenge. If you are interested in participating or would just like to hear what others are saying - join the conversation.

August Challenge:
How will Chile's national copper company, Corporación Nacional del Cobre, work to remove the 33 trapped miners from the mine?

Chilean government civil-defense and mining specialists, other government officials, Corporación Nacional del Cobre, Cia. Minera San Esteban Primera (the mine operator), rescue workers, drilling engineers

Topic for Discussion:
33 miners, trapped a half a mile underground in a San José mine since August 5, are still alive and currently waiting to be rescued. They are currently communicating and receiving nourishment through two holes drilled by rescuers. The miners themselves seem to be in good health and have hope to be extracted. The rescue effort is an ongoing process and is expected to last months.

There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before attempting to extract the workers from the mine. Because the mine is an unstable environment there are far more risks that need to be analyzed and execution of this project must be done carefully to have all the men removed safely. Project factors that need to be evaluated include equipment to be used by rescuers, conditions of the mine, safety and health of the trapped miners and the rescue workers.

For the full story on the trapped miners in Chile, click here.

Now It's Your Turn:
If you were in charge of rescuing a group ,
• What factors would you consider before starting?
• Who would need to be involved in the process?
• How would you organize operation of this project?
• What steps would you take to try and prevent similar accidents from happening in the future?

Now its time for you to join the conversation -
Share your ideas, suggestions and thoughts on our LIVE discussion on LinkedIn.

Conclusions based on the articles, "Chile Prepares for Long Rescue Effort" from The Wall Street Journal..
Your contributions are welcome!
We are always interested in hearing about new best practices, case studies or lessons learned. If you are interested in sharing your story in the next ProjectNews, please submit your ideas here.
This Newsletter has been brought to you by ... ProjectWorld & The World Congress for Business Analysts USA

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November 8-10, 2010 | Walt Disney World Swan, Orlando, FL
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Be sure to visit for tools, articles, templates and event updates.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Communication traps: Avoiding "Them" vs. "Us"

We discussed failures of communication earlier this week and today we want to discuss one major source of contention among stakeholders - "Them" vs. "Us." Thankfully, Bas De Baar over at Project Shrink gives us a great run-down of this roadblock and how to avoid it. He writes that he's found a useful framework for this purpose in Anxiety/Uncertainty Management, a theory developed by William Gudyfunst. This theory is used for analyzing effective communication and cultural adaption between people belonging to a certain group (ingroup) and strangers (outgroup). Effective communication and adaption occurs when there is a low anxiety towards strangers and a low uncertainty towards behavior.
So how can you make this happen with your team's communication process? We encourage you to check out Project Shrink for details and to enjoy a great video on the subject with Bas and Kimberly Wiefling.
What other strategies can keep communication in check? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"What we've got here is a failure to communicate."

Your project's success will depend heavily on stakeholder communication. Though we can't all be as smooth as Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke, we can avoid project failures by simply implementing a communication strategy. Technology News writes, that as Project Manager, it is your job to keep a number of people well-informed. It is essential that your project staff know what is expected of them: what they have to do, when they have to do it, and what budget and time constraints and quality specification they are working towards.

It is also your job to keep the Project Board informed of project progress. The Project Board usually includes the Executive (person ultimately responsible for the project), and representatives from the User and the Supplier.

What communication fails have you experienced? What advice can you give to new project managers in the art of communication? DM us on Twitter with your tips @project_world

Learn more: The Importance of Communication in Project Management

Monday, August 23, 2010

How important are logistics to project management?

The short answer is "very." Projects that fail logistically will fail all together. But what is logistics and how does this so positively or negatively affect project management? Logistics include the physical plants, materials and transportation; but Cargo Management writes that efficient logistics involves planning and good management, accurate forecasting, inventory management, transportation, supervision of loading and unloading, customs clearance, cargo insurance, docking control and storage. In short, the logistics, the supply of products accurately, effectively and in a time bound manner to the place and the person that it will be sent.

So how can you ensure that your project's logistics are carried through? Find a good logistics manager to ensure that your project continues as planned. Here are some tips when finding a good logistics manager:

  • They must be competitive, their prices and offers turnkey solutions that the project requires
  • Optimization of the road should be a priority
  • Planning complete end-to-end solutions are delivered seamlessly must
  • Must provide points of contact for all services from its hubs in strategic position.
How do you properly plan and execute logistics in your project plans?

Learn more: The Importance of Logistics in Project Management

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Your project estimates are always wrong - and here's why

eCameron, posted a great piece about the problems with giving estimates for your projects. More often than not, your estimate will be wrong - but why? According to the article, good estimates need to be looked at as a set, rather than individually. If each estimate is graded on its own merits without regard to the system they are in, then we are really treating them as quotes.

In the article, readers are given three different scenarios involving estimates. We encourage you and your team to use these estimates as part of your next team-building exercise.

Does this sound familiar?

From the article, unfortunately, managers often take estimates as quotes. They reprimand for people being a day late (for obvious reasons) and if the delivery is early, the expectation is that all tasks will be early since there was obvious pad. People have no choice but to pad their estimates heavily and to continue to perfect the deliverable until the delivery date is reached. The perfectly timed delivery averts the punitive response from management. Always on time, what could be better? Unfortunately, this develops a schedule that is severely longer than needed. Therefore, there is no sense of urgency, people start their tasks late, work on other tasks (thinking they have plenty of time) and eventually have difficulty making the deadline. Huge amounts of time and money are wasted.

Thinking about your team's structure, how do estimates and quotes differ? As a manager, what techniques do you implement to ensure on-time and on budget delivery of project goals?

Why Estimates Are Always Wrong

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What is the best online resource for project managers?

We asked our LinkedIn network via Answers to tell us the best online resources for project managers and below are a few of the links that we received.

We'd like a get a dynamic roster available for our readers so please let know who is missing.

If you're a Project Manager that possesses savvy blogging skills, we'd like to hear from you! We are looking for guest-bloggers for this blog and we'd love to have you join our team. If you'd like to apply, simply DM us on Twitter @Project_World or leave a comment on this post. We may invite guest bloggers to join us at Project World & World Congress for Business Analysts 2010 to cover the event.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What is your organization doing to develop next generation project managers?

As we prepare for the next generation of project managers to lead the industry, we want to know what your organization is doing to train the emerging project manager stars of tomorrow. What skill sets are changing and what’s next for the world project managers and business analysts?

Find out what’s next and network with the best by attending Project World & World Congress for Business Analysts 2010. Offering a new year-round comprehensive learning experience PW&WCBA provides more credits than any other event. Within one conference package, you can earn up to 24 PDUs/CDUs at the live event, plus gain up to 12 more credits post-conference through the new on-demand Web Seminar Series which is included in your conference registration.

At this year’s event, you’ll hear from a speaking roster filled with project management and business analysis practitioners, as well as industry leading CIO's and IT executives sharing stories from the trenches.

Project World & World Congress for Business Analysts
November 8-10, 2010
Walt Disney World Swan
Orlando, FL

Download the brochure
Register today and save!

-Maximize your ROI - Register by August 20th to Secure Your Spot & Save Up to $200!

These companies are sending their BA and PM teams to Project World & World Congress for Business Analysts to ensure they redefine project management and business analyst roles to deliver high business value, strong customer satisfaction and come in one time and on budget:

Baxter Healthcare Corporation
Bayfront Medical Center
BBC World Service
BioPharma PM
Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC
BMO Financial Group
BMO Mutual Funds
Bright House Networks
Cadbury Schweppes
Canadian Blood Services
Capital One
Carnival Cruise Lines
CGI Federal
Churchill Downs Inc.
Crico Rmf
Deloitte & Touche LLP
DHL Express
EBG Consulting
Electro Industries
EW Scripps
Express Scripts Inc.
Farm Bureau Insurance
Federal Depositors Insurance
Forrester Research
Great American Insurance Group
Hawaii Medical Service Association
Honeywell FMT
IBM Software Group
Intel Corporation
Kindred Healthcare
Lisa DiTullio & Associates
Luman International
M&I Bank
Mayo Clinic
McKee Foods Corporation
Microsoft Corporation
Monetrics LLC National Insurance Producer Registry
Oklahoma Department of Human Services
Plains All American
Plains Marketing LP
SunLife Financial
TCS America
University of Greenwich
University of South Florida
US Department of the Interior
US Geological Survey
Value Creation Associates
Vanguard Group
Vermont Information Technology Leaders
WEA Trust
WellDyne Inc.
Wells Fargo

Attend keynote presentations from Mary Gerush, Analyst, Forrester, Victor Newman, Professor, The Business School, University of Greenwich, United Kingdom, Susan Cramm, HBR Blogger, Author, 8 Things We Hate About I.T., David King, Chief Information Officer, WellDyneRX, James R. Lucas, CEO, LUMAN INT'L, Author, The Thinking Principle, The Paradox Principle, plus more than 40 additional world-class speakers.

Download the brochure for the full speaking line-up and session descriptions.

We hope to see you in Orlando this November!

All the best,
The Project World & World Congress for Business Analysts Team

Monday, August 16, 2010

Change Control and Managing Expectations

Josh at writes, that finishing projects on time is very important; but holding yourself accountable to a baseline is only as valid as the change management process you have in place. The definition of “on time” changes based on context and how expectations are managed. The article outlines two scenarios for a similar project, both with very different outcomes. The first scenario, offers no or poor formal change control and the other had good formal change control. We encourage you to check out Josh's examples and see if they can help you with your project goals.

Change Control and Managing Expectations

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Project gone sour? How to set the course for recovery

We struck upon this article from PMTips. net and we'd love to share it with you. Brad Egeland writes that from his experience it’s very difficult to recover from a poorly planned or kicked off project; however, all is not lost. Egeland offers three ways to recover a good project that has gone sour.
  • Work stoppage to re-plan
Egeland personally believes in – and finds the most success with – putting a work stoppage or major slowdown in place on a project that he has taken over is one of the quickest ways to assess the situation and inject some additional much needed planning. Of course, this additional planning would have been better served and cheaper had it happened at the beginning of the project. Undoubtedly, there is going to be some hit to the project budget and probably and even greater hit to the project schedule, but it’s far better to do this now than risk losing the project entirely.
  • Adjust the schedule, reset customer expectations
The next option involves just accepting the problem and adjusting the schedule accordingly. If the customer isn’t interested in halting the project to perform necessary re-planning, then the next best option is to work hard to reset customer expectations on both schedule and budget and possibly on the quality of the end solution, but that will be a very very hard sell. Get the customer to understand there will be a delay and negotiate with them on budget issues to hopefully keep from having the plug pulled on the project.
  • Add resources
Finally, the old “adding resources” option. Throw more bodies at it. Every seasoned project manager knows that this likely won’t work well. At best it gets the project completed well over budget and probably long past the original due date – hopefully salvaging at least some customer satisfaction. At worse it becomes a behemoth project that devours dollars and days faster than you ever thought possible and becomes about as effective as a BP oil spill disaster plan.

We encourage you to go to to discover how you can turn around project failure and keep stakeholders happy and well-informed. Our thanks to Brad Egeland for the great article!

What do you do when your project is the express lane to failure?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Business Analysis Professionals – How to Thrive Now

We know it's often difficult for business analysis professionals to get out of the office. That's why this year we have made it easy for you at ProjectWorld® & World Congress for Business Analysts®. In just three days, our unique agenda urges you to move beyond the core principles of the BABOK® through REAL WORLD CASE STUDIES and PRACTICAL TOOLS that tackle your current challenges.

Plus, earn up to 36 CDUs with the all new All-Access Conference pass!

Based on extensive practitioner research, we've developed an agenda that tackles your current challenges and we've recruited cross-industry experts to specifically address your needs.

The Agile Summit: The Power, Promise, Pain and Praise of Using Agile Practices - sessions include:
• Leading Agile Self-Directed Teams, Scripps Network Interactive
• Partner for Success: Using Agile and Lean Methodologies, Mayo Clinic
• Two Globally Distributed "Agile" Projects - 1 Success, 1 Failure and the Lessons Learned, Monetrics, LLC

Assessing and Improving Your BA Team - a full-day workshop dedicated to helping you understand the value delivered by business analysis, and creating an action plan to implement change.

Build Your Business Analysis Skills Set for the Future - sessions include:
• Are You Worth It? Formulating and Implementing a Value Proposition for Business Analysis in Your Organization, US Dept. of the Interior
• The Enterprise Business Analyst, IIBA
• Risk Management for Requirements and Use Cases, National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR)

Tools, Techniques & Trends - sessions include:
• Cloud Risks: Managing the Risks and Rewards of Cloud Computing, The Hartford
• Beyond SOA - The Business Semantics and Reusable Business Service Ontology of an Agile Extended Enterprise, TCS America
• Business Architecture Trends and Methods, Wells Fargo Bank
Plus, join your project management counterparts during the Collaboration, Communication and Leadership track and take advantage of this time to share best practices, insights and knowledge.

This is just a small sample of all that PW&WCBA has to offer.

Click here to download the full agenda, complete speaking roster and event details.

We hope to see you in Orlando this November!

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

What does a Scrum Master do?

While many of you may be clear on the roles when moving to Agile, we thought it would be fun to tackle the role of Scrum Master. While researching today we ran across Steve Novoselac's blog and a recent post on Agile roles.

Here's what Steve had to say:

But what does a Scrum Master do? Well a lot of it might depend on your process and team but here are a few things (there are probably a hundred more)..

* Facilitate the Daily Standup/Scrum
Each day when you meet for your 15 minute standup, the Scrum Master should make things start on time, and keep flowing, and make sure people are answering the 3 questions (What I do today? yesterday? What is in my way?). The Scrum Master should cut off people from going long, make sure things get tabled or moved to a hallway discussion instead of taking of everyones time.

* Make sure the Burndown/Velocity is being tracked
The charts! Of course, someone needs to make sure the metrics are being tracked and also displayed. Now depending on your team, it might just mean .. well, nothing but making sure do’ers are updating their burndown correctly. You might have virtual charts. But in some teams, you might need to print the charts for the board, or you might even need to add the burndown yourself depending on your process/system. Keeping track of these metrics is key. You want to keep people informed of your progress every day (at least for the burndown – I like to track velocity as a bullet chart for the sprint and update each day as well).

* Get all the Stories Ready for Planning
In some teams, the scrum master might be the only person doing this, in others there may be a group of analysts, etc. But the Scrum Master should be sure to have the stories ready for planning, to score and discuss. Your team probably has a backlog of bugs, features, enhancements, technical debt, and it should be prioritized, but the Scrum Master should be where the buck stops to make sure everything is in order for planning.

* Facilitate Sprint Planning
Just like facilitating the daily scrums, the Scrum Master should facilitate the “Sprintly” Sprint Planning meetings. Review, Retrospective, Scoring. Keeping things moving, being an observer but not really a decision maker – that is for the team to do.

Check out the rest of the Scrum Master's role over at Steve's blog.

After reading through the role of the Scrum Master - what other job functions may be missing?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Taking a Project Team Through the Four Stages of Team Development

Brad Egeland of has a clear outline of what managers must do when they've been assigned a new project management team.

The forming stage

A newly formed team needs considerable structure, or it will not be able to get started. A leader who fails to provide such structure may be rejected by the group, which will then look for leadership from someone else. A directive style of leadership is called for in the forming stage.

During the forming stage, members also want to get to know each other and want to understand the role each member will play in the team. The leader must therefore help team members get to know each other and to understand clearly the team’s goals, roles, and responsibilities. One error that may be made by very task-oriented leaders is to tell the team to “get to work,” without helping members get to know each other; such leaders tend to view purely “social” activities as a waste of time. It should be obvious, however, that it is hard to see yourself as a team when you don’t know some of the “players.”

Getting the team started with a kick-off party or dinner is one way to let members get to know one another in a purely social way, with no pressure to perform actual task work. If this is not feasible, you must find some mechanism for letting people get to know one another.

We encourage you to read the rest of Lewis' post by clicking here.