July 19, 2012, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.
From the Editor
The best teams know how to step outside their prescribed roles and get things done. The key is to bend rules without breaking them, and keep the business -- and business-oriented results -- in your sights at all times. This week, we're here to help with a collection of resources that will have you thinking so far outside the box, you'll forget where you left it.
Little ITIL, Big Results: Talk About improvements
Step 5 in our "Little ITIL®, Big Results" series was the culmination of all of the foundation laying that went before it. We bought the time to do it; we talked about doing it; we figured out how to measure it; we talked in quantitative terms about it; and then we picked the low-hanging fruit, making things a bit better.
by Alan Koch
And Step 6 is what? "Talk"?
Yes, we must talk about the Improvements we have made. This talking is aimed at ensuring that each improvement we have made (and the benefits that people have enjoyed because of them) are recognized and appreciated. The purpose of this is far more than to get pats on the back. The big purpose is to build process improvement momentum that will allow us to attack those bigger problems that aren't "low-hanging fruit".
Read the rest »
Premium How-To Course
Making Tough Project Tradeoffs
Presented by Cinda Voegtli
Sometimes it's fun when people think of you as a miracle worker, but after a while it just gets exhausting. Of course it's hard to leave things out or delay much-desired features. But that doesn't mean your customer has to be unhappy. In this mini-course, ProjectConnections founder Cinda Voegtli shows you how you can lead your team in understanding, communicating, and making tough choices so the most important project goals are accomplished, including customer satisfaction, despite the upfront constraints on time and resources. 1 PDU
Learn more »
Project Planning and Scheduling Bundle
Sure, you could develop the whole plan and schedule by yourself, but wouldn't you rather get it right? This comprehensive bundle helps you get your team involved and committed during the planning process, so you can build a project plan that makes sense and stands a chance. It includes over two dozen practical, proven resources for building a WBS, estimating, scheduling, risk evaluation and making trade-offs -- everything you need to plan for project success.
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For Team Members
Getting Relevant to Get Results – MEMBER
We ordinarily recommend this paper to Project Managers as a primer for understanding how they sound to technical team members. But it can be equally valuable to read this piece as a team member (or aspiring project lead) for an angle on the project work your PM may not know how to explain. There's no rule that the conversation has to start with them. Communication depends on understanding how the other party thinks.
25 Project Management Terms Defined (excerpt) – MEMBER
The language of project management can be confusing, and sometimes arcane. If you're unsure of terms like "sunk costs" and acronyms like RACI, this excerpt from the Dictionary of Project Management Terms, (3rd ed.) defines 25 terms from common PM-centric lingo, so you can be sure everyone is speaking the same language.
For Project Leads
Agile Technique Guideline: Extreme Programming (XP) – PREMIUM
Agile isn't all about scrums. This brief provides a quick overview of Extreme Programming (XP) -- an agile software development methodology focused on specific minimal engineering practices, and aimed at providing higher quality software and a higher quality of life for the development team.
Introduction to Software Release Trains – MEMBER
Key requirements and suggestions for successfully implementing release trains, along with observations and indicators to help you decide if release trains are right for your organization.
Legacy System Migration in an Agile Manner – MEMBER
Don't let anyone tell you that "you can't do it that way." Legacy system migrations are one of the largest and most common software development projects -- usually considered too big and unwieldy (or too critical) to use agile. This team didn't take "can't" for an answer, and this paper explains how they made it work.
Project Process Philosophy Chart – SPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until August 2, 2012
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.
Getting Process Skeptical Teams to Adapt and Use PM and Development Processes – MEMBER
You don't have to settle for a non-stop uphill battle with your teams. This case study explains how a company with process-skeptical team members made their project management and development process adaptable and used by all. (Really!)
Building a Better Project Plan
Plan Development – Assign Resources – PREMIUM
Once you create a work breakdown for your project, you need to figure out how all that work will get done. This guideline -- the second in our plan development series -- focuses on identifying the resources you'll need for each item in the WBS. The table in this file can be used to track the assignment of project work to an individual owner for smaller projects, or to capture resource assignment data on any project before entering scheduling information into another tool. Note: This isn't necessarily about committing these resources. Other stakeholders and functional managers may have input on the final resource allocations. But this first pass is still invaluable for assessing what kinds of skills and experience will be needed to complete the project successfully.
Margaret de Haan takes issue with an HBR blog suggesting work products as an interview technique. Her concern isn't the premise, but its practicality -- both because of the potential "authorship" issues, and because of those indefinable soft skills that work product can't really measure. Would you hire someone based on how they build a schedule or a status report?
Brian Irwin is joining the conversation about our current Certification Alphabet Soup, and he wants to know your thoughts. What does a certification really say about your capabilities as a project manager?
WBS and Schedule Models
WBS Example: LAN Installation – PREMIUM
The extensive notes in this file serve as a sort of mini-tutorial for project managers who are new to the job, or to the domain. The included notes supply advice on common practices and things to watch out for, as well as reasoning behind adopting certain tasks at certain points in the schedule. All in all, it's an excellent overview of the planning process in general, as well as showcasing a typical deliverable of the scheduling process.
This application development schedule illustrates how the various phases of a software development project build on information and understanding gathered and defined in previous phases.
Sinikka Waugh continues her Business Analysis series at DMACC in Des Moines, Iowa with a July 25 BA Survival Guide session. For registration information, call DMACC at 1-800-342-0033 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kent McDonald will speak about agile methodologies at the Paragon IT Pros Leadership Forum on August 9, then adjourn to Agile 2012, where he will conduct a session titled Is It Worth It? Using A Business Value Model to Guide Decisions. (We're sure it will be worth it.)
Corporate Subscriptions and Licensing
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