Projects at Work

How-To

Best practices, lessons learned and advice from your peers in the trenches.


Pragmatic Accountability

- by Garry Booker

Many project teams experience an occasional lapse in accountability — important work falls through the cracks — and sometimes the problem becomes a crisis. But what exactly is ‘accountability’, and how do we improve it? Here’s a helpful model based on constancy of purpose, aligned actions and discrete outcomes.

Working on Workflow

- by Lisa Earle McLeod

Do you tackle the most critical, high-profile elements of an initiative as early as possible or hold off until you have a better understanding of the end-game? Home improvement projects, Meryl Streep, and book writing offer insights into three common mistakes project managers make when planning workflow.

Agile Anti-Pattern #8: Lucky Dog

- by Bart Gerardi

It can seem like a good idea to add a backup story into a sprint — if works gets blocked or things turn out easier than expected, another story can be pulled into the sprint. However, having more than one story identified, even if not committed, is likely to lead to less work getting done.

A Project by Any Other Name

- by Kathleen Ryan O'Connor

What’s the difference between a “strategic initiative” and a “project”? The question has sparked debate within the project management community. Here, IT strategist Erika Van Noort shares her thoughts on why it matters, and how a change in terms can reframe the mindset of everyone involved, leading to better results.

The Turkey Problem

- by Adriana Beal

Sometimes success breeds failure. When project managers blindly apply old methods to new circumstances, they fall victim to the turkey problem. Assuming stability, they don't adapt new frameworks or solutions when warranted. Here are five ways to combine mastery and originality as you approach your next project.

Write Better User Stories

- by Sondra Ashmore, Kristin Runyan

Writing effective user stories on Agile projects requires collaboration between the product owner and team. The effort involves agreeing on the depth of technical detail in the story, ensuring that epics are appropriately broken down, and adding acceptance criteria. Let’s look at some helpful examples for each step.

Agile Anti-Patterns: #6-7

- by Bart Gerardi

There are many ways that story points are often used incorrectly by well-meaning teams. In the fourth installment of our series, we look at two more agile anti-patterns that seem like good ideas but aren’t: allowing everyone to have a vote, and playing “Go Fish” during planning exercises.

It’s All In the Details

- by Sondra Ashmore, Kristin Runyan

In agile projects, most requirements start out as epics, which are too big to be addressed in a single sprint. Let’s look at some examples of how epics are broken down into manageable stories through team and user collaboration, and how acceptance criteria add important details.

What's Your Story?

- by Sondra Ashmore, Kristin Runyan

Requirements in Agile environments are handled very differently than in projects following linear processes. In Scrum, requirements are collected and shared through user stories, which have a precise format that invites conversation and collaboration. Here are some examples and guidelines for writing effective user stories.

Agile Anti-Patterns: #4-5

- by Bart Gerardi

Using story points for estimation seems simple enough, but many teams fall back on old habits without realizing that they are misusing one of the key innovations of the Agile methodology. In the third installment of our series, we look at two more agile anti-patterns: conflating story points with story value, and relying on an anchor story.

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EVENTS

Andreea T: "The idea of scaling the retrospective as a source of input for the process impro…" on Pragmatic Accountability
December 21, 2014

Andreea T: "Very interesting article which highlights the important aspect of prioritization…" on Working on Workflow
December 21, 2014

Sanj S: "Excellent article" on Pragmatic Accountability
December 21, 2014

Umar R: "This article demystifies accountability and makes it very operational. I have he…" on Pragmatic Accountability
December 20, 2014

 

TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Andy Jordan

President, Roffensian Consulting Inc.
Andy Jordan is a well known author and speaker on project management and…

Bart Gerardi

Sr. Technical Program Manager, Amazon.com
Bart has been an ecommerce program manager for 15 years, and can’t…

Dave Prior

Agile Consultant, BigVisible Solutions
Dave Prior, PMP, CST, MBA is an Agile Consultant for BigVisible where he…

Dan Patterson

CEO/Founder, Acumen
Globally recognized project analytics thought leader and software entrep…

Janis Rizzuto

Contributing Editor, ProjectsAtWork
Janis has been writing for ProjectsAtWork for more than a decade, starti…

Aaron Smith

Editorial Director, ProjectsAtWork.com
Aaron has been the editor of ProjectsAtWork since 2001, leading its evol…

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