September 12, 2013, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.
From the Editor
Looking for some practical tips to make your life easier over the next few, hectic months? You've opened the right email. In this issue you'll find helpful advice and guidelines for product managers, project managers, and the folks running the project office. Plus, your chance to get in on the first public session of our popular PM Light Fast Ramp!
Project Management vs. Service Management
You've been tapped to manage a software development project. You realize that an important early challenge will be to define the Product Scope and get all of the Stakeholders' agreement on it.
By Alan Koch
But what about Project Scope?
We all know that the project has to include activities beyond merely writing code. Eliciting users' requirements, designing, coding, testing must all be addressed. But what else? If we step outside the doors of the software cave, we will run across many complicating issues that raise interesting questions about where the boundaries of our project should be drawn.
Read the rest »
PM LightTM Fast Ramp
Looking for some coaching on "just enough" project management? Better call dibs!
Be the first in line to register for our PM LightTM Fast Ramp, starting November 1. We'll be announcing Early Bird registration next week, but seats are limited. If you'd like to guarantee a two-day jump to the front of the line and the lowest possible registration price, add your name and email to the list so we can get the information to you first thing next week. You won't want to miss this fantastic series with ProjectConnections founder Cinda Voegtli!
Premium How-To Course
Agile Approaches to Estimating Tasks
Presented by Kent McDonald
Estimates have always been a gamble in one sense or another. The agile approach to estimating recognizes that uncertainty and uses it to the team's advantage. This mini-course by Kent McDonald explains the ins and outs of Planning Poker and helps you apply this technique with your team to generate rational estimates. 1 PDU
Learn more »
For Product Managers
Requirements Workshop Planning Guide – PREMIUM
Don't try to define your product in a vacuum. Get detailed tips and a step-by-step guide to planning a requirements workshop designed to elicit and understand a specific set of requirements. This guideline includes extensive suggestions on planning and conducting the workshop and post-meeting follow-up, along with a sample agenda and general meeting facilitation tips.
Training Needs Assessment Guidelines – PREMIUM
Training projects need the same requirements management and product definition you devote to your other projects. These guidelines provide a broad overview of the steps in a needs assessment and the reasoning behind doing one, as well as a brief discussion of various assessment methods. Make sure your users can actually use your great new product when it's ready.
For Project Managers
Agile Technique Guideline: Information Radiators – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until September 26, 2013
Information Radiators, also known as Big Visible Charts, provide an effective way to communicate project status, issues, or metrics without much effort by the team. These simple displays make critical, changing information about a project accessible to anyone with enough ambition to walk over to the team area and take a look, and cut down on the time you spend generating reports no one reads. (If they did, they wouldn't be asking you all these status questions, right?)
Agile Technique Guideline: Standup Meetings – PREMIUM
While we're streamlining, consider staffing out part of your job. Agile project teams are all about collaboration and cooperation -- working with each other, not working for the project manager. This guideline explains how to use one common agile technique, standup meetings, to get team members into the habit of keeping each other in the loop without spending hours every week in endless, agonizing status meetings.
Effective Meetings Checklist – PREMIUM
If you're not ready to throw out the chairs and you simply must have status meetings (or any meetings), make them count. Use this comprehensive checklist to plan and run meetings that actually get work accomplished. You'll develop a reputation as a project manager and meeting leader who gets things done, and does it in record time.
For the Project Office
Project Process Philosophy Chart – PREMIUM
Explaining why a project process exists and why it matters can be challenging, especially in process-averse organizations. This one-page chart can help you convey why the process is important, how it helps, and how specific deliverables support these goals during each project phase. You know your project managers will cut corners, so make sure they don't cut the ones that count.
Projectized Holiday Gift Shopping – MEMBER
Need a simple way to explain the concept of project discipline to new PMs? Try this easy-to-grasp take on the subject. This guideline provides a seasonal and only slightly silly example of how project management frameworks and development processes can be tailored to provide benefits on any type of project, no matter how big, how small, or how often you've done it before.
Project Selection and Controlling Project Starts – MEMBER
Are your project efforts going to the most important, most impactful, most cost-efficient projects in your organization? Or do you just assign PMs and teams to the projects with the highest profile and most executive attention? You might be surprised how different those two lists are. This simple guideline shows you how to create an ordered process for proposing, reviewing, selecting, and launching new project ideas that support business objectives, not just "cool ideas."
Agile practitioners talk a lot about user stories, product backlogs, and story maps, but what does this actually look like in practice? Brian Irwin provides an excellent visual in Story Maps as well as explaining how the concept can improve your product definition process.
Sinikka Waugh offers a A Fresh Look at the 5 Whys, a classic business analysis technique, in her blog this week. Instead of asking the same question over and over again, why not ask these five why-like questions?
Morley Selver is running his 3-day "Fundamentals of Project Management" workshop this fall in the following locations: Calgary AB August 27-29; Denver CO September 25-27; Houston TX October 23-25; Calgary AB November 20-22. For information & enrollment please visit www.peice.com
Corporate Subscriptions and Licensing
Want your team members to have their own access to templates and how-to resources for their project work? Need to share documents and deliverables beyond your project team? We make it easier with affordable corporate subscriptions and licensing. Detailed information regarding corporate options is available online. Give your whole team, or even the entire organization, cost-effective access to our comprehensive online library of resources. You already know how helpful it's been for you. Now it's time to share with everyone else. Find out more »
Not sure if corporate terms apply to you? Check out our licensing terms at the top of our Terms of Service page, in refreshingly ordinary, everyday English.