Best practices, lessons learned and advice from your peers in the trenches.
While it seems to make sense to create separate backlogs for the technical and business aspect of a project, it can do more harm than good. In addition to causing team friction and inefficiencies, it negates an essential Agile benefit: delivering value based on one prioritized vision.
By providing access to documents and responding to queries with straight answers, you create an atmosphere of goodwill and trust on your teams. By doing so, when things don’t go exactly to plan, and they never do, people are more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt and work harder to correct course.
A project manager has many responsibilities to the team. Some (direction, communications) are more obvious than others (providing context, looking for training opportunities, maintaining a work-life harmony). Obvious or not, these activities are essential to developing high-performing teams that deliver successful projects.
When team members feel that the organization as a whole isn’t interested in the project that they are delivering, they start to check out, increasing the possibility of careless mistakes and failure. But with a few simple steps, project leaders can often prevent this common morale problem.
What does a high-performing team look like, and how do you build and maintain one? Here, Maria Kozlova from Comindware shares four best practices, including clarity of objectives and visibility into activities; availability and centralization of up-to-date information; comprehensive, customizable reporting; and collaborative decision-making. [13:50]
Many things can change in the time between a project's approval and its actual start date. That's why we should include a final authorization step before any project kicks off. Here is a checklist of questions to help validate six critical areas of the project based on the most current information.
Agile coach Olaf Lewitz has performed many roles on project teams, from software developer to manager to change management consultant. Along the way, he has seen that building trust is a pervasive challenge. Here, he talks about how trust can be mentored by creating opportunities for people to question and choose. [23 min.]
Establishing a small "brain trust" to develop project estimates might seem like a reasonable way to optimize resources, but it goes against three closely held Agile principles. Worse, it will likely lead to less accurate estimates, while disengaging the team and undermining value.
Have we got the formal definition of a project completely right? A finite start and finish, sure. But approaching each project as a “unique endeavor” can lead us to overlook opportunities to capture, reuse and benefit from prior knowledge, experiences and lessons learned. We need to better connect our closing phases with upfront planning.
Creating a test sprint or varying the length of a sprint might seem like helpful ideas to address common problems on agile projects, but they should be avoided at all costs. These anti-patterns won’t fix the real underlying issues; in fact, they will probably exacerbate them and weaken your team.