Projects at Work

How-To

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


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.

Who Cares About Tasks?

- by Dan Patterson

Wouldn't it be better if scheduling tools focused on deliverables rather than the work — the activities and tasks — needed to deliver them? Execution is about creating value, and stakeholders care little about the busy details. Project managers who get this distinction right will reap the benefits of more realistic and achievable plans.

Estimate Before, During, After

- by Lawrence Putnam Jr

A common misperception is that an estimator’s job is done after a project’s parameters are set. On the contrary, estimation should be conducted throughout the project lifecycle to reflect inevitable changes and to improve estimates on other projects. Here are three ways to maximize estimating efforts — before, during and after your project is complete.

More Agile Anti-Patterns

- by Bart Gerardi

Story points are one of the most misunderstood and misused aspects of the Agile methodology. In the second installment of our series on Agile Anti-Patterns, we look at two more ways that story points can be used incorrectly, making the team both less agile and more frustrated in the process.

Don’t Shoehorn Your Projects

- by Ken Rock

The best process for your project should be determined by careful consideration of key factors, including overall complexity, the level of risk involved, and time-to-market requirements. Often, a flexible hybrid approach fits best, but it must agreed upon by management and the team before the project starts.

Is Pomodoro Worth Your Time?

- by Aby League

The Pomodoro Technique is a popular approach to time management, and it shares obvious similarities with some ubiquitous concepts in Agile, Lean and Scrum such as timeboxing and sprints. But is it really a good fit for teams working in Agile environments, or is it better employed as a personal productivity tool?

Agile Anti-Patterns

- by Bart Gerardi

In this new series, we look at some common problems that Agile teams face, and the common “solutions” that rarely seem to work and often make things worse. Sometimes we need to avoid the well-worn path. Let’s start with the misguided attempt to directly translate story points to effort hours.

PM History Lessons: D-Day

- by Paul Bruno

A turning point in World War II, the D-Day invasion, code name Operation Overlord, offers a number of critical lessons that today’s project leaders would do well to revisit now and again, from the fundamental importance of clearly defined objectives and thorough training, to overcoming the unexpected and fully utilizing your strengths.

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EVENTS

Anwar A: "i like your point on #4 and #7" on Choose or Lose
October 20, 2014

Christopher C: "Jen - overall a great touchstone for a stuck process. A couple of minor points .…" on Choose or Lose
October 20, 2014

Jim B: "Jen, thank you for a great synopsis of practical advice. As PMs we generally ma…" on Choose or Lose
October 20, 2014

Bruce H: "Interesting example - "I'd rather know the status of my homebuilding project in…" on Who Cares About Tasks?
October 19, 2014

 

TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Dave Prior

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

Bart Gerardi

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

Andy Jordan

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

Vicki Wrona

President, Forward Momentum, LLC
Vicki Wrona is the founder and President of Forward Momentum, a PMI Regi…

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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