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Mike Russell — Project Manager http://execprojectmanager.com A gathering place for project managers to discuss PMBOK, Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, and XP Project Management strategies. Tue, 22 Nov 2016 23:35:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 AWS to Private Cloud Migration http://execprojectmanager.com/aws-to-private-cloud-migration/ http://execprojectmanager.com/aws-to-private-cloud-migration/#respond Tue, 22 Nov 2016 23:22:14 +0000 http://execprojectmanager.com/?p=285 Lots has changed since the last time I posted. For one, I have been assigned with migrating our SaaS applications out of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and into a hybrid private cloud. While at first blush that sounds like crazy talk, it is an investment my company decided to make for how the costs are allocated to the bottom line. Using a private cloud allows our company to reduce the annual impact of these costs to the bottom line. It definitely is not cheaper.

The project team was lead by the Cloud Architect initially and did not progress at the rate the executive team wanted. The CTO asked me to begin working with the team to manage the migration in a project management role. Initially I was hesitant to take the role because of my inexperience in the space. There were some really smart people already on the project team and truthfully I was a little intimidated by their expertise. I told the CTO my preference would be to not take the role, but he thanked me for my input and welcomed me to the team anyways.

It was clear that a traditional PMI textbook PMBOK was not going to work with this project. Some work had been done related to the infrastructure, but nothing more than buying some hardware and installing VMware. The backend services offered by AWS to help manage your ecosystem are fantastic. Migrating to a private cloud means you need to identify, deploy, and test what applications you will use to replace that functionality. The team had little direction for next steps beyond the VMware installation. On top of that, Engineering wanted to move to a Continuous Deployment model but was not ready to transition to full automation.

This project was at a standstill and needed to get some quick wins. We needed to identify the scope of the phases of the project and estimate the timelines. We needed to get individual team members committed to project goals and focused on their tasks. Bonuses were tied to project goals, so missing those goals would hit the checkbook of executives and others. Many executives identified this initiative as the highest priority for the company for a variety of reasons; all agreed that the outcome of having all geo’s migrated to our private cloud needed to happen in the next 12 months. You can see where this was a little overwhelming. However, I try not to steer clear of a challenge.

In the next several entries I will document many of the decisions that were made by the project team as it comes to the applications we are using in our private cloud for those of you who care. More importantly in my book, I will talk about the strategies used to manage this project. There are a large number of topics to cover, and I will do my best to discuss the most important issues. My hope is I can provide you with some insight into the lessons learned to date. We are still not 100% in Production with our private cloud, but we have made significant progress in achieving that goal.

I look forward to sharing our journey with you.

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DevOps — Atlassian Confluence Onboarding http://execprojectmanager.com/devops-atlassian-confluence-onboarding/ http://execprojectmanager.com/devops-atlassian-confluence-onboarding/#comments Mon, 21 Dec 2015 04:04:26 +0000 http://execprojectmanager.com/?p=277 Confluence

 

 

 

 

In my current role I was recently given the assignment of improving the visibility internal stakeholders had into Product Management and Engineering. After a thorough assessment, we decided to onboard Confluence from Atlassian to accomplish the goals we had set. This article is not meant to rehash best-practices related to communicating with internal stakeholders — I want to discuss some of the challenges we have experienced as the application has gained traction and the amount of information in Confluence has proliferated. While this continues to be a work in progress, I want to also explain some of the solutions that have been implemented. In another article I will explain the architecture that we have implemented to manage the spaces of multiple development, Product Management,  and operations teams.

  1. Product spaces took on a life of their own — When we decided to use Confluence as a repository for product related information, roadmaps, and tribal knowledge, we had to create a standardized architecture for the spaces to use. We have 10+ development teams, many of which manage more than one product. If we were to allow the development teams to create a distinct architecture for their spaces, the operations departments would have to spend significant time learning how to locate the information they seek in each space. Creating a common architecture has decreased the amount of time that has been required to onboard the Sales, Support, and Operations departments. The outcome has been that the information we are publishing on Confluence is discoverable and accessible.
  2. People started to complain of information overload — This one made me laugh a little. Before we launched this initiative, the Sales, Support, and Operations departments yearned for improved visibility into completed and planned work in Engineering and Product Management. While onboarding Confluence was only a component of our efforts to improve transparency, it was one of the core tenets. One of my goals was to have Product Management utilize Confluence and their product spaces as a single communications channel for their product with internal stakeholders. The Documentation team now uses Confluence to publish all customer facing documentation — release notes, set-up guides, API documents, and others. With all this information, it can be difficult to navigate and find information that you want. Requiring a common architecture for each product space has helped stakeholders locate the information they need, but what has really come to the rescue has been the search feature in Confluence itself. It has taken time to educate Product Management on how to make sure their content is discoverable. Atlassian has done a great job with the search feature, making the use and results UI familiar to users — it reminds me of Google search results.
  3. The amount of information put into Confluence differed by team — Before we launched and took Confluence live, we knew that the amount of information that would be published by Product Managers would vary. However, we needed consistency in this area to assure that Confluence had value to internal stakeholders. I manage the Scrummasters in our company, which provided me with the ability to drive the addition of content through a team that I manage. I set priorities and then had the Scrummasters work with Product Managers to get content that I wanted added along the timeline I had set. This is still a work in progress, but we have achieved a level of consistency that I am proud of.

Confluence is tool that can help improve communication between Product Management and the rest of the company, but the benefit is only realized when the right information is published to the right audience at the right time. These are three of the issues that we faced as we launched Confluence as a company and the solutions that we came up.

Do you face the same issues? Have you driven the solutions from a different direction? Leave me a comment so we can start the discussion…

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How to Help Introverts Succeed in a Team Environment http://execprojectmanager.com/introvert-succeed-team-environment/ http://execprojectmanager.com/introvert-succeed-team-environment/#respond Mon, 16 Dec 2013 07:00:13 +0000 http://execprojectmanager.com/?p=263 introverts in a team environmentWorking at a company that organizes its work groups as teams, you will invariably find introverts and extroverts. In most corporations, we tend to celebrate and reward the extroverts, or people who have an easier time expressing themselves and navigating the political backwaters that are sometimes required to influence decisions. As a leader in your organization, you undoubtedly are required to manage and interact with both types of personalities. While your perception may be that it is easier to engage with someone who is described as outgoing and affable, the truth is it can be extremely beneficial to you to have introverts on your team. Some famous introverts include: Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, Steve Wozniak (Dancing with the Stars must have been a challenge), and Rosa Parks. Who wouldn’t have wanted some of that creativity and backbone on their teams?

Studies show that introverts are more likely to thoughtfully approach a problem instead of trying to break through it like it was a brick wall. There are benefits to this strategy. When you present a problem, they are often the team member who responds with “Let me wrap my head around that for a minute”. Give them time and allow them to come up with a solution. When they have the time to contemplate and formulate an appropriate response, many times they will come up with a creative solution. Give them some time and let them balance out those personalities on your team that are more aggressive and assertive. The loudest solution isn’t always the best.

IntrovertsIn a team environment, you will often need to stick up for the voice of the introverts. Let’s take a Sprint Retrospective as an example. Who do you think is the most likely to express concerns with the processes of your last Sprint if you are using Scrum? Of course it is the extroverts. As a ScrumMaster you will need to pay attention to the introverts on your team and make sure they feel safe expressing their concerns and they can speak without being interrupted. If they don’t feel safe expressing their ideas, you are not likely to pull anything out of them. One strategy that could work is to allow your team to anonymously submit their concerns in writing to you and you can bring them up to the group. While Scrum is about ownership of ideas and responsibilities, it is your job to balance that with making sure everyone’s voice is heard.

Dr. Susan Cain gave a fantastic TED talk on this topic. The talk improves your understanding of the personality type and how to provide supportive framework to allow introverts to work towards their strengths. I have also included an infographic on introverts and twelve guidelines you should follow when trying to provide an environment where they can achieve their potential.

Personally I am what you might call an extreme extrovert — I talk more than I listen, I draw my energy from other people, and I am very easily distracted. But 40% of the population can be classified as introverts, and it is up to me to enhance my skills so that I can not only work with introverts but so I can help those assigned to my teams flourish and find their work engaging and rewarding.

Related Topics:
What Makes a Successful Project Manager?
Scrum Training Companies
IT Project Management

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Creative Collaboration — Can it Help Project Managers? http://execprojectmanager.com/creative-collaboration-project-management/ http://execprojectmanager.com/creative-collaboration-project-management/#respond Thu, 12 Dec 2013 08:00:22 +0000 http://execprojectmanager.com/?p=258 Project ManagementA friend of mine suggested I read Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration so I added it to my reading list. Dr. Keith Sawyer is the author; his writing style really appeals to me because he boils down some difficult ideas to easy to understand concepts. I know it was written in 2008, but it addresses the concepts of innovation and creativity that I guarantee you are dealing with in your current position. Dr. Sawyer is a former developer and is now a Professor of Education and Psychology at Washington University. I have to admit that I would love to take a couple of classes from him.

His book has really inspired me and made me start to consider that the pursuit of creative solutions to challenges and innovation within organizations are really at the heart of project management. Regardless of the methodology you use — Scrum, PMBOK, Waterfall, or Critical Chain — as a project manager the reality is you have been hired to help identify the best solutions to problems that may or may not exist right now and to create those solutions with the help of project teams. But when you work for a manufacturer with ancient management strategies, a software company with extensive legacy code, or a finance company handcuffed by Federal regulation, innovation can be perceived as a luxury only available to other companies.

But is that the case? Dr. Sawyer would argue no. If your company is not innovating and creating new solutions for its clients then it is doomed to fail. At the pace that business currently runs at, that means the failure rate is even quicker than it was just 10 years ago. The good news is there is something that can be done. The better news is there is something you as a project manager can do for your company.

As a project manager, how do you perceive yourself and project management? Do you think of yourself as the facilitator of the ideas of other people or do you think of yourself as an innovative leader? You have to start looking at yourself as an integral member of the organization who is tasked with creating innovative solutions to either internal or external problems. You should tirelessly pursue the best options that exist within the scope of what you have been asked to do. Does that mean you have to come up with all the solutions yourself? Absolutely not. It does mean that you owe it to yourself to make sure you get the most out of your team so they can help come up with the pieces of the puzzle. Some would call it creative disruption, but that is a discussion for another day.

In the book, Dr. Sawyer outlines what he calls the Ten Steps of the Collaborative Organization. I am not going to discuss all ten, but I have selected a handful that will help you immediately as a project manager. So before we go into the abbreviated list, suspend all thoughts of “that isn’t my job” because that’s crap. Exceptional project managers who are perceived as indispensable to their organization know there isn’t anything that falls outside of their scope. Here is the list:

  • Manage the Risks of Improvisation — One trait of the Scrum methodology that I love is that it demands constant innovation that is then prioritized by the Product Owner. PMBOK also allows for creativity and innovation, but the process is controlled by a Change Control Board, which may or may not understand the vision of a proposed change. As the project manager it is your job to encourage your team to come up with improvements to the product of your project and to do so without the fear that they will be reprimanded. Plan for time to allow your team to collaborate and innovate together. You will be surprised by the ideas that are generated by these events.
  • Manage Knowledge for Innovation — I love this idea. When your team comes up with a solution for a problem that another team in the company may be facing, it is your responsibility to share that solution. I know project managers who keep those solutions to themselves so that they can get credit for the idea at the right time. Not only is this selfish and based in a scarcity mentality, but it kills trust within the company. Set up an internal Wiki for your company where everyone at the company can detail their ideas of how to tackle problems faced by your company. I would even suggest aggressively marketing a similar concept to customers will improve your product by leaps and bounds over the long run.
  • Keep Lots of Irons in the Fire — We are all busy. I have seen studies that show that if you stopped accepting new tasks it would take you 18 months to work through your current To-Do list. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have several projects on the back burner. You should always keep a personal log of the ideas generated by your team. Let the ideas ruminate and come up with a list of projects you would like to tackle. You might be surprised when after making a proposal using one of these solutions that you get the green light to move forward. In Steven Johnson’s TED talk about the subject, he notes that most innovation does not come from an eureka moment, but what he calls a “slow burn”. You have to let your ideas cook a little before they are ready to serve.

You can tell I love talking about innovation and creativity. I personally believe a good project manager is one who can focus on the task list associated with their project and motivate their team to move forward. The difference between good and exceptional in my book is an exceptional project manager has that same skill set plus provides constant innovation through creative collaboration with their team. If you want to take the next step and provide that level of service to your current company, I encourage you to read Dr. Sawyer’s book.

Related Topics:
What Makes a Successful Project Manager?
Scrum Training Companies
Scrum and Timeboxing

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Scrum Training — Is it Worth the Money? http://execprojectmanager.com/scrum-training-company/ http://execprojectmanager.com/scrum-training-company/#respond Wed, 11 Dec 2013 08:00:30 +0000 http://execprojectmanager.com/?p=251 business analyst, project management, sdlc, scrum, agileLast week I had the chance to attend a training sessions related to the Scrum Methodology that was taught by Michael James from CollabNet. I had been searching for a while for someone who was not only knowledgeable in the real world application of Scrum, but I also wanted someone who could provide me with insight into why I had experienced some failures when utilizing this specific Agile approach to software integration and design. Mr. James has an outstanding reputation that met both of my criteria so I signed up for his class.

Unfortunately his class was only two days long. I would have loved to have learned from him for five days, but that was not one of my options. While I am well read on Scrum and I have both participated in Scrum teams as a Product Owner and lead teams as a ScrumMaster, I never really felt comfortable with the process. For some reason there always seemed to be some sort of disconnect between our team the the intended outcomes of our efforts. It is sort of hard to explain, but if you have used Scrum to manage your SDLC or software integration, you probably know what I am talking about.

My personality is such that if I don’t know what I am doing in a particular situation, I spend the time to educate myself and acquire the skills needed to complete a task. But that never really worked with Scrum for some reason. But as I sat through the class taught by Mr. James, the weaknesses in my “game” if you will were exposed. I started to understand why some of my projects were not being completed as quickly or efficiently as I thought they could. After all, doesn’t Scrum remove the perceived BS of project management and strip it down to its bare bones?

I already knew the processes, but I was missing some of the more basic points of Scrum implementations. By missing the fundamentals, my projects were not completed as quickly or nimbly as they could have been. Here are the two fundamentals I missed:

  1. Projects are approached vertically and not horizontally. While this is a fundamental in Scrum, I think unless you attend a training or apprentice under someone who knows what they are doing. This was my mistake. On my teams we tried to apply Scrum horizontally, meaning we would build the framework in the first sprint, code in the second sprint, test in the third, and so on. This is using scrum principles in name only. To properly use Scrum, you need to produce a shippable product or feature at the end of each sprint. That is applying the methodology vertically and when you do this, Scrum will produce the flexibility you need to successfully deliver the product your client wants.
  2. Product Owners have no real power. This is a huge problem and can be a major impediment to successfully using Scrum to manage your development process. C level executives need to empower the Product Owner who is assigned to the project with clearly defined decision parameters. This should also include budgetary decisions. If the Product Owner is more of a product supervisor, your team will not have the direction required at the moment of decision, which means it will slow way down and your team will get frustrated. A frustrated team is a slow team.

If you want to use Scrum to guide the SDLC in your company, you need to have everyone buy into the methodology from the very beginning. It represents a deviation from the traditional project management styles of most companies and does not produce the same metrics executives like to monitor the progress of the project in achieving its goals. I would suggest if you are looking to transition to Scrum, have everyone who will be involved in the process, including the C level executives, watch this video that Mr. James developed to educate on the essentials of Scrum.

 

Is training in Scrum principles worth the money it will cost you or your company? If you take a course from Mr. James at CollabNet or another reputable company, I would answer with a resounding yes. To realize the benefits of Scrum, it must be applied and implemented correctly and completely. The best way to educate yourself is by sitting and listening to an expert who has been there and done that.

Related Topics:
What Makes a Successful Project Manager?
SDLC — Software Development Lifecycle for Project Managers
Scrum and Timeboxing

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What Role Does “Grit” Play in Professional Success? http://execprojectmanager.com/what-role-does-grit-play-in-professional-success/ http://execprojectmanager.com/what-role-does-grit-play-in-professional-success/#respond Fri, 06 Dec 2013 07:00:02 +0000 http://execprojectmanager.com/?p=247 Dr. Angela SuckworthBefore I researched this article, I thought that grit was an outdated concept that died with tough guys like John Wayne. To me the word conjures up images of tough guys who rode horses and didn’t shave for weeks at a time. But there is a growing trend among researchers that grit and not intelligence is a great indicator of the probability of professional and personal success. I thought this was an interesting concept because of the unique focus of project management on results. Could grit be the difference between success and mediocrity in project management?

I recently applied for a new job for a company that I has intrigued me for some time. The first step in the hiring process was to take an aptitude assessment. It tested your ability to recognize patterns and solve difficult equations. There were several word association questions that literally tested the boundaries of my command of the English language. I know there is no pass/fail on an aptitude test, but to be considered for a position with the company the first thing you must do is score a certain percentage on the test. Taking this into perspective, I thought I had failed and I bugged HR until they told me my score was high enough to be considered for the position.

I have owned and managed my own company for 13 years. If you have ever been an entrepreneur, you know the level of dedication and determination that it requires. Managing projects in school districts across the country, measuring outcomes, monitoring the implementation process, and attracting new clients was all up to me. My team provided needed support, but unless I did all of those steps well, payroll would not get met.

Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth gave what I think is a fantastic presentation at TED in 2013 called, “The Key to Success? Grit.” I know the concept is pretty basic and I would say that people have known that resiliency or grit is what can differentiate between someone who is successful and someone who is not. But Dr. Duckworth actually has the research to determine the probability that someone has the potential to be successful in a professional setting because of their desire and inner drive to succeed. She defines grit as the passion and perseverance to stick with long term goals. Check out her presentation.

You guys know I don’t think that a degree or certifications like the PMP, CSM, or PMC are predictors of success. I do think that if you are hiring a project manager you should look for someone with a track record of success. If you are looking for a job in project management your resume and portfolio should detail the biggest accomplishments of your career to date. You need to show that you have the drive and desire to accomplish project objectives even when the road is difficult and the proverbial train is leaving the rails.

What do you think? How many successful people have you worked with demonstrate grit?

Related Topics:
Cloud Enablement — How to Migrate to SaaS
SDLC — Software Development Lifecycle for Project Managers
Scrum and Timeboxing

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What Successful Project Managers Do http://execprojectmanager.com/what-successful-project-managers/ http://execprojectmanager.com/what-successful-project-managers/#respond Wed, 04 Dec 2013 08:00:56 +0000 http://execprojectmanager.com/?p=238 Project ManagementI know I typically focus on the “hard skills” of successful project managers, but today I want to take a look at one of the soft-skills that a wildly successful project managers have. While it is important to constantly refine your planning and implementation skills regardless of the methodology you utilize and the projects you work on, we work with people and not robots or machines so you also need to continue to refine and develop you ability to work with and motivate people who are on your team as well.

I great up on a steady diet of Zig Ziglar. My parents understood the importance of a positive attitude and so they had us listen to Zig’s best talks on audio tape. I really loved his “Bisquits, Fleas, and Pump Handles” presentation because it demonstrates in real terms the power of attitude on your personal and professional performance. I still listen to this talk at least once a month while sitting at my desk and I swear I get something new out of it almost every time I listen to it. I am doubtful that there will be anyone who can motivate like Zig did — he was a once in a generation talent.

I was browsing talks and presentations that were given at the TEDxBloomington 2011 Conference and really hit home with me. Shawn Achor is a researcher and presenter who focuses on where human potential, success and happiness intersect. He also gives a really, really funny presentation while communicating some fantastic information. Shawn’s presentation is directed at how happiness inspires productivity. To improve your happiness levels, you need to focus on the present instead of potentials that are in the future. He has a process that can help you improve your gratitude for what you are experiencing, which leads to an improvement in your level of satisfaction with your current situation. Check out his presentation.

 

Positive attitude has always been important to me and you better believe that the attitude of your project team is just a reflection of what you are projecting at the time. If you are always despondent and doubtful about your team’s ability to meet deadlines and objectives, your team will start to feel they can’t hit deadlines or produce the features identified in the current sprint or work package. Your team will listen to you and take their performance cues from you.  liked Shawn’s presentation so much I bought two of his books — 2010’s The Happiness Advantage: Seven Principles of Positive Psychology and 2013’s Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success. I will read them in the next couple of weeks and let you know what I think. You can also follow Shawn on Twitter at @shawnachor.

What role do you think attitude plays in your interactions with your project team? Do you think that a discussion related to positive attitude has a place in a dialogue related to professional performance levels?

Related Topics:
Cloud Enablement — How to Migrate to SaaS
SDLC — Software Development Lifecycle for Project Managers
Scrum and Timeboxing

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Personal Power and Project Management http://execprojectmanager.com/personal-power-project-management/ http://execprojectmanager.com/personal-power-project-management/#respond Mon, 02 Dec 2013 17:34:33 +0000 http://execprojectmanager.com/?p=234 Project ManagementI was on Patrick Richard’s blog and found this talk about body language and power by Dr. Amy Cuddy at the TEDGlobal 2012 Conference.  Personal power may be one of the top skills you have as a project manager. How many meetings do you sit in? How many interactions do you have with people on a daily basis? How important is it that people listen to you and respect you? I think being a leader on your assigned team and even organization is one of the best ways that you can fill your role as a project manager.

I am not of the opinion that personal power is bad — I do think that the misuse and abuse of personal power can be detrimental to you and your team. Everyone wants to follow a leader and on your project team, you should be seen as the leader of the group. Even when using a Scrum project management approach, as the ScrumMaster people should look to you as the authority even though your team may be self-governing and firing on all cylinders. That is why personal power is so important in project management.

I think one of the easiest ways to change people’s perception of you is through body language. Dr. Amy Cuddy gave an amazing presentation at the TEDGlobal 2012 Conference on this very subject. She is a social scientist and Associate Professor at the Harvard Business School and has spent her professional life researching power dynamics between people. She argues that body language shapes who we are and I agree with her. You don’t have to be a jerk and yell and scream for people to respect you — one simple strategy is to assume a more powerful posture. Want to improve your confidence levels? Assume one of the power stances for a short time before heading into your meeting Dr. Cuddy demonstrates in her presentation. This is the video of her presentation and it is definitely worth a watch. The video is just over 20 minutes, but it will be the best 20 minutes you spend on yourself this week.

What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment and let’s discuss her ideas.

Related Topics:
Cloud Enablement — How to Migrate to SaaS
SDLC — Software Development Lifecycle for Project Managers
Scrum and Timeboxing

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Scrum Project Management — The Importance of Timeboxing http://execprojectmanager.com/scrum-project-management-timeboxing/ http://execprojectmanager.com/scrum-project-management-timeboxing/#respond Tue, 26 Nov 2013 10:00:22 +0000 http://execprojectmanager.com/?p=230 Scrum software developmentLots of people make the bad assumption that Scrum project management does not include deadlines and is more of a fly by the seat of your pants methodology. While the lack of paperwork and a solid project plan might make those people who are accustomed to using the PMBOK or critical chain methodology a little nervous, Scrum does include timeboxing, which is a time-management technique that helps you organize the work in progress (WIP) and manage the scope of your product.

I am of the opinion that each sprint should only last from two to four weeks, depending on your project. There are other practitioners who believe it could last longer, but I think when you extend a sprint out past four weeks you start falling back into habits that inhibit your ability to reap the benefits of the Scrum methodology. But we will leave that discussion for another day. Timeboxing, while somewhat controversial when talking with Scrum practioners, can provide you the ScrumMaster, the Product Owner, and your project team with some clear advantages.

When you have a clear start and finish date, first it limits your WIP. Your project team should only include user stories that it feels it can complete within the set limits. You are less likely to gold-plate and add unnecessary features to your sprint. Don’t say that never happens to you — if your project team doesn’t come up with something cool to add during a sprint your product owner definitely will. Having a deadline will force your team to prioritize and perform the work that matters most, creating laser-like focus.

Creating a start and finish date will also more accurately report to stakeholders and your project team the amount of progress you have made in completing an entire feature. I think the burndown chart is one of the more amazing features of Scrum, and outside of calculating the slope of your chart to predict your completion date, timeboxing can help you quantify the progress you are making. I know we would all like an open ended completing date when it comes to development projects, but the reality is most projects still feature a hard constraint of a deadline. If we have estimated the required time or story points accurately, as the ScrumMaster you should be able to accurately estimate your completion date. It will improve your predictions for sure.

I feel one of the strongest benefits of timeboxing is that it helps you avoid unnecessary perfectionism and motivates closure. Instead of trying to get a feature “perfect”, your team should focus on “good-enough” solutions. Because your team has a semi-rigid end date, in my experience they are more likely to focus and complete the tasks they select during the daily scrum. Good and great project teams alike need structure and guidance, and timeboxing a sprint will provide them with required motivation and urgency.

When I go into a project with a team that has dragged their feet on other projects, I always ask a question of the team members and the product owner about their experience with time-boxing. In almost all of the cases, I find that the team did not set timelines for each sprint. Product owners love the idea because they want some predictability in the project timeline. As the ScrumMaster I have to balance a fine line to make sure we deliver and focus on “go fast but never hurry”. While deadlines associated with a sprint may change, it is up to you to know when it is alright to shift those deadlines.

Related Topics:
Cloud Enablement — How to Migrate to SaaS
SDLC — Software Development Lifecycle for Project Managers
Project Management Certifications and Why they Matter

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Cloud Enablement and Why it Matters in Project Management http://execprojectmanager.com/cloud-enablement-project-management/ http://execprojectmanager.com/cloud-enablement-project-management/#respond Mon, 25 Nov 2013 16:00:34 +0000 http://execprojectmanager.com/?p=222 Cloud migrationYou are going to encounter the concept of Cloud enablement regardless of your industry. Because project managers are so often drafted into project design and implementation in many different departments don’t want to look silly in front of the developers, you owe it to yourself to have a basic understanding of what the Cloud is and how you can take advantage of the efficiencies it represents. If you ever make the transition into product development, You. Must. Understand. The. Cloud.

Funny side story about a developer — I jumped in the elevator at an office complex yesterday on the fifth floor and pushed the button for the ground floor. The company I was interviewing at houses most of their developers on the fourth floor where the elevator made a stop. Two developers got on the elevator and one who was more friendly that the other said, “Hello suit-guy”. I sent a friendly greeting his way and we got engaged in a great conversation about the perceived rivalries between development and project management at the company. It made me laugh. I hope to track him back down if I go to work for this company. I like to work with characters. He had a ton of personality.

One of the blogs I frequent is called Program Success and is written by Tom Tsongas of Florida. He has a long track record of project management in tech and software development and is happy to share his insights and lessons learned on his blog. He has created a fantastic slide show related to Cloud Enablement that I thought would share. I have tried to embed it so it would be easier to find, but the code isn’t working. As a result, click here to check it out.

With the increasing popularity of SaaS, you may be called on to help migrate any type of software package from a local edition to a web-based subscription or SaaS version. The different between the two is local software is installed on your hard drive and uses your processor and memory to run. SaaS on the other hand is run typically on the web and your computer does not store the actual program files. There are lots of advantages to migrating to a SaaS solution for your company which we will go into another day.

Cloud enablement is, “the process of converting and modernizing existing infrastructures and software resources to conform to a Cloud deliverable set of services.” For most of us, that will mean you will being using SaaS and this process will help you migrate your company to utilizing SaaS instead of software run through your local machines. I spoke with a company recently that is looking for a project manager who is experienced in Cloud Enablement because they will be replacing the ERP software they use for human resource management and their accounting software. They expect to move both packages to Cloud based SaaS. While this skill set is in demand, it is highly in demand.

Converting to the Cloud and using a SaaS solution requires a total commitment from key stakeholders within your company. Tom notes in his slides, “Full Cloud enablement will require resources from several realms of expertise as well as a commitment from the stakeholders endorsing a long term strategy to move to a cloud-based infrastructure and deployment model”. Tom goes into detail on what your project plan related to migration to the Cloud should entail. If your company is considering some type of migration project, take some time to review his slide show and the supporting article on his blog. I would actually suggest you have all key stakeholders in your migration project read and study his article before your first meeting related to the project so they can understand the work that will be required to support this shift.

Cloud enablement doesn’t need to be a difficult process and the template that Tom provides is fantastic. While you will need to create your own WBS and deliverables, his template does provide a great overview of the work that will be required. Because the technology is beginning to gain more acceptance there are more resources available — like the slides from Tom — to help you with your project planning and implementation.

Related Topics:
Eliminating Toxic Behaviors on your Project Team
SDLC — Software Development Lifecycle for Project Managers
Project Management Certifications and Why they Matter

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