Best practices, lessons learned and advice from your peers in the trenches.
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.
Velocity is an agile planning tool, not a measure of productivity. Its purpose is to help determine which stories will fit into a sprint, and how many sprints remain until a release is ready or the project is done. Velocity is not about team efficiency or effectiveness, and treating it as a metric to continually improve is another Agile Anti-Pattern.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.