Successful Projects through Agile Project Management

Successful projects are found when project managers (PM) learn to

* Lead a team and not just manage it

* Enable the team to collaborate and self-direct, not just wait to be told what to do

* Facilitate and encourage innovation and creativity in solving problems, not just act as a foreman

Staying aware of the triple constraints (scope, time and resources) is critical, but managing them through the use of a project plan can make it very hard to adjust with changes that inevitably come your way during the project.  Rather, changes can be seen as opportunities to improve the solution and make it fit bestt for the customer / business.

Agile project management is done through the collaboration of teams that consist of the customer, the business, and the project implementation team.

Project Times | Successful Projects through Agile Project Management


Agile Simulation – The Daily Standup Meeting

VideoWhat better way to learn how to do a great Daily Standup than watching it done right before your very eyes in just 10 mins!

First witness a disfunctional way of doing Standups – then see how it should be done.

It really is an excellent example to watch and learn.

Watch the video by clicking HERE


Team Coaching: A Game Changer for Project Management Success

It’s common knowledge that coaching can help individuals improve skills, gain confidence and successfully meet objectives. But when it comes to coaching teams, and in particular project teams, there is a significant added value that augments the overall success of the project itself. Team coaching builds trust among members, fosters collaboration and teaches the group how to be proactive in problem solving and risk resolution.

Using real-life examples, this webinar explores:
• Why team coaching matters in project management
• The challenges of team coaching and how to overcome them
• The benefits of team coaching for both the members and the project
• How to use and apply coaching on a project team

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What They Forgot to Tell You About Agile

Do Agile without sprints?   Stop using Story Points?   Create a Microsoft project plan for my sprint?

This webinar covers numerous uncommon ways of being Agile, without conforming to the most common Agile practices.  You will learn what seasoned Agile teams know – that Agile principles can be supported in numerous ways, not strictly by the practices we usually associate with Agile.

DURATION: 1 hour
Earn PDU’s: 1


SPEAKER: Greg Smith is a seasoned Agile coach and the founder of GS Solutions Group. He is a Certified Scrum Master, Certified Agile Project Manager, and a PMI Agile Certified Practitioner. Read more


Case Study into Leveraging Scaled Agile Framework™ in Mixed Waterfall and Agile Environments

While the adoption of Agile practices has become more and more prevalent in the industry, it’s clear that many large organizations are often unable to go “all in.” Even as we attempt to isolate initial use of Lean and Agile methods in a “pilot” environment, external forces often exist that prevent a “pure” implementation.  Waterfall and Agile/Lean can co-exist.

This Agilista PM webinar will dive into 3 real life situations with mixed Agile/Waterfall environments to show you:

  •   How Agile projects can align their plans to a Waterfall project when they are not in sync?
  •   How Waterfall projects can operate within a fixed cadence?
  •   How to deal with potential issues that may arise in these mixed environments?
  •   How to know when things are not working and when to make some changes?

Read more


Agile Practices You Can Try Today

I spoke at a Fortune 50 PMO gathering recently – where the CIO encouraged 100’s of PMs to “try” new things to deliver value faster to customers.  Someone asked,

“What Lean-Agile techniques can I start using tomorrow?”

My responses included the following, which every project and PM can benefit from to stay on budget and on time and on scope !!!

  • Focus on one thing at a time – Studies proove that multitasking is a killer of productivity. You can really only done one thing at a time and every time you try to start something new – you actually take longer at getting everythind done. So, “Stop Starting – Start Finishing !”
  • Make things VISIBLE – If you make the progress of work visible on a board or in a spreadsheet….you can easily see bottlenecks, and adjust when you see problems.  “What you track is what gets done” – so track value being delivered!
  • Burn Charts – Are a great way to visibly let you see how value is really being completed by tracking deliverables, features, … (not tasks getting done). When you see it is not being delivered as estimated – then you can address it quickly to bring the project back in line. It shows you if you are really on schedule or not – predict when you’ll finish too !
  • Define “DONE” – Stop using percentages complete – only when something is DONE is value actually delivered! DONE tells you when you are complete your project. 90% done is not DONE.  Use your Burn Charts to track DONE.

Improve Estimates by Studying Kanban Card Flow

You don’t have to use fancy tools to analyze what is going on with your projects. keeping work visible tot he team can in itselft help the team to see what is working or not — and can help them adjust to improve.

It is the job of the Agile PM to keep an eye on how work is actually getting done (or not)!

…so they can work with the team to make improvements on delivering results as quickly as possible.

Analyzing Kanban cards allow us to see where estimates can be improved as we compare actual time vs. estimated tim

Ben Mitchell shares a few of the ways his team does this by using kanban cards during the daily standup and asking good questions.  A few of those questions that I’ve use all the time include:

  • What kinds of work take us longer?
  • Where is the time taken?
  • Are there any patterns around which columns (steps) in our workflow take time?
  • Where do we see delays?
  • Is a step in our process adding a burden to the time it takes us to complete work?

Click here for full article



Visualizing Agile Projects using Kanban Boards

Visulization can help make any type of problem managable.  It is not by mistake that the analogy of eating an elephant (piece by piece) works well for us here when taking complex problems and we break them down into managable pieces that can be acted upon with more accuracy.

A Kanban board visually breaks up a project into a set of steps we follow to deliver value.  These steps are mapped to columns in the board that anyone can ready.   When you see these steps visually you can quickly see where things are working or not working so well.  If this sounds too simple — that’s the point…you can often find answers when you look at things in a simple way.  A way that the entire team, including management, can understand.

I love using this since it involves the entire team in improving things….giving everyone the chance to step up and make a difference.  As an Agile PM, and leaders of our teams, we can create opportunities for our teammates to shine with these simple pratices that any project can use.

See how “visualization” methods an be used in your Agile projects with some real examples…

  • TASK board
  • FEATURE board
  • PARKING LOT chart
  • BURN chart

See three viewpoints (Time, Task, and Team) so that the whole team understands the current status of the project and can work in an autonomous, motivated and collaborative manner.

Click here for full InfoQ article.


Setting the Tone for Success

People live up – or down – to expectations.  If your communication tells them that

You believe in them,
….You have faith they can do the job,
……….You respect them

…then you are setting the tone and expectations of success.  The team will do whatever it takes to get it done and exceed your expectations.  But, if you communicate disbelief – you get what you expect.  They won’t get it done, or they’ll do it poorly.

*** They know when you do and don’t communicate these things ***

Some Ways to Set the Tone for Success

  • CLIMATE: Non-verbal signals encourage or discourage. Think how much a smile or a friendly tone affects you.
  • FEEDBACK: Positive feedback encourages; negative comments discourage. When mistakes are made you can either discourage with “Not again! You’d better learn to do it right,” or encourage and build confidence with “Not bad, You might try it this way next time”.
  • AMOUNT OF INPUT: Positive expectations freely give information to help. Negative expectations withhold information.
  • AMOUNT OF OUTPUT: We expect more and better work from a good worker than a poor one. Discourage with “Don’t bother with that; I know you can’t do it,” or encourage them to excel with “I know you can do it.”

Facilitate Success by mapping out goals with your team (ensure they are attainable).  Meet periodically to assess progress.  Change goals if progress is not being made (only as a last resort). Offer up encouragement and help – but don’t just go do it for them.

Make the goals visible – letting everyone know what is expected and how the team is progressing.  It helps keeps up the enthusiasm and motivation.  When things aren’t going well, watch and see the stronger team members come alongside the weaker ones to help them succeed!  Encourage it. Remind everyone success is a team effort, not an individual competition.

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Scaling Agile Requirements: User Stories to Agile Portfolio Management

In Dean Leffingwell’s recent webinar on scaling Lean|Agile development, he introduced the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) <click here for Dean’s recording>. SAFe is a public-facing set of practices which have been used to successfully scale Lean|Agile development to hundreds — and even thousands — of practitioners at companies like BMC Corporation and John Deere.

You will gain these valuable insights as we cover the following topics…

  • What are best practices for writing team-based User Stories and non-functional Agile requirements?
  • How do these scale to the program and portfolio levels?
  • How can you work more strategically with upper management to achieve the highest business value for your company and customers?

Read more