Everybody's a Project Manager

Along with a few colleagues, I’m taking a project management course at work. We’ve learned many things already, one of them being that verbal communication is much more effective than textual, which is why this list of tips and techniques is presented to you in scannable bulletform.

This list is the 1st of 4, and is a general introduction to Agile development (Scrum). See also part 2, part 3 and part 4.

  • Using the agile project management method, work in iterations (a.k.a. sprints) of two or three weeks and make deliveries at the end of each iteration.
    • While the overall goal and vision of the product is specified at the beginning, only the first iteration is actually spec‘ed out. This is called game planning.
    • At the end of each iteration, the customer will have to approve the delivery and participate in working out the spec for the next iteration.
    • Iterations with fixed durations will give a sense of rhythm, produce visible results, and let the customer know when to be available.
    • If a specific task takes more than 16 hours, divide it into two tasks.
    • On huge projects, documenting project estimates can be a delivery in itself.
  • Instead of working under varying work pressures, strive to find a balance that provides an even pressure—a pressure that people can continuously work under.
  • Embrace change. Unknown factors will appear during the course of the project.
    • Change the plan, not the project.
  • Make daily standing meetings. This will ensure meetings are short and concise.
    • At least one meeting in the morning, if necessary one after lunch.
  • Prioritize tasks using the MoSCoW method (Must have / Should have / Could have / Won’t have). Put as few things in the “Must have” pile as possible.
  • Keep documents simple. Preferrably a single page per:
    • Project schedule
    • Iteration task list
    • Business case (is it worth it?)
    • Risk analysis
    • Initiation documents like these are alive and to be changed during the course.
  • Digitally photograph whiteboard notes. It’s faster than typing them down.
  • Finish projects and close them.

5 thoughts on “Everybody's a Project Manager”

  1. I recognize many of the structures you describe (great list btw) and particularly standing meetings are interesting, making sure it is keep short by simply not allowing anyone to sit 🙂

    The remaining pivotal and challenging task is implementation.

  2. Joen says:

    The remaining pivotal and challenging task is implementation.

    Hopefully that’ll follow in the coming weeks of the course.

  3. Anders Rask says:

    … making sure it is keep short by simply not allowing anyone to sit 🙂

    I’ve attended standing meetings that went on for hours … Unfortunately it’s not necessarily a sure-fire way to keep meetings short.

  4. Joen says:

    I?ve attended standing meetings that went on for hours … Unfortunately it?s not necessarily a sure-fire way to keep meetings short.

    Ouch. Even so, it sounds like a much better way to meet than having to round up people and bring them to a room, getting coffee ready, opening the meeting and so on. More “ad hoc” if you could say so…

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