Method 123 Blog

Characteristics of Agile Iterations

Most people understand that the days of the five-year, monolithic project are over - and have been for some time. The better approach is to break large projects into a set of smaller, easier to manage projects. Short projects are easier to manage than large projects. There are fewer things that can go wrong, fewer people involved, less time for scope changes, etc. Characteristics of Agile Iterations The Agile model takes this to an extreme by stating that even the days of the six-month development cycle is over, as is the three-month cycle and maybe even the one-month cy...

Proactively Manage Project Resources Without Authority

  One of the frustrating parts of being a project manager is that it can be difficult to manage the project when you have no formal management authority over the members of your team. From an organizational perspective, if the people do not report to you as a functional manager, then you are probably operating in some type of matrix structure. The matrix makes the most efficient use of people resources, but it can also be very challenging on the part of project managers.   How do you hold team members accountable for their deadlines without this authority? &nb...

Assumptions and Risks

Assumptions are statements that we believe to be true. You "assume" it to be true, but if it turns out not to be true there could be a detrimental impact to your project. The key point about an assumption is that you are not 100% sure if it true. You believe it to be true, but you are not certain. This means there is some risk that the assumption will not come true. Because of this uncertainty assumptions are very much related to risk, and in fact are simply low-level risks. They have the same characteristics as a risk - probability of occurrence and impact to yo...

Six Reasons You Need a PMO

We all have many wants in our lives but only a handful of needs—food, clothing, and shelter being the top three. Similarly, companies may want many things, but really only find a few things absolutely necessary for survival. A Project Management Office (PMO) should be at top of that list of priorities, along with sales, profits, and growth. Read on for the: Six Reasons You Need a PMO Consistent Methodology – The bane of many organizations is when departments and groups develop home-grown ways of completing projects. Some processes may work beautifully, some ma...

Project Quality Review

Seven Steps for a Project Quality Review In some cases, such as a government project, periodic audits may be called for as a part of the overall contract. This “outside party” could be any qualified person outside of the project manager. In some cases, your organization may have an internal project audit specialist. It is possible that the Project Director or the Project Sponsor could also perform this audit. The outside party could be an outside contractor or consultant, but they do not need to be. The audit itself focuses on whether effective project management pr...

Eliminate Excess Meetings

Six Tips to Eliminate Excess Meetings Encourage Accessibility. Many times meetings are scheduled because decision makers have been inaccessible. They are holed up in their office with the door closed all day, or they may be road warriors that rarely return phone calls or emails. Encourage these key decision makers to make themselves accessible for quick questions, return calls and prompt email replies. This will eliminate the need to drag them, and a whole bunch of other people, into a meeting. Use a Good Project Management Tool. Affordable project management tool...

Manage Virtual Teams

Manage Communication Eight Steps to Manage Virtual Teams   There are some special techniques that can be used to manage these virtual teams. Establish team objectives. The team members need to know and understand what it is that they are doing together. If people only understand their own role and their own work, they will always just be individual contributors. Remind everyone they are a team.  If the team members think they are all working independently, they will act independent.  If they know they are part of a team working on common objectives and ...

Quality Cost and Benefits

The Cost of Quality Building quality steps in the schedule adds a certain amount of effort and cost to the project. However, these incremental costs will be rewarded with shorter timelines and reduced costs throughout the life cycle of the solution. Examples of the cost of quality include: Deliverable reviews. There is a cost associated with the time of the people attending the reviews. This includes any preparation, the actual review time for all participants, and the resulting follow-up work from the review. Creation of the Quality Management Plan. The time requi...

Manage Quality

Many people find quality management to be one of the more difficult project management processes to implement. This is because quality is hard to define, and formal quality management requires you to collect metrics to validate the state of quality. The following process will help create a framework for the quality management process. 1. Create a Quality Management Plan Develop a Quality Management Plan to identify the major deliverables, completeness and correctness criteria, quality control activities and quality assurance activities. The Quality Management Plan al...

Four Key Elements of the Agile Model

For many years, those were your choices. But now there is a different choice for IT development - Agile.  Calling them methodologies is probably too broad a word. It might be better to refer to them as approaches for doing development, or even philosophies. There are four general beliefs that light methodologies have in common. Develop in short cycles. Agile "sprints" usually take no more than 30 days each - or shorter. Partial solutions should be up and running in a very short time, with very tight iterative cycles designed to deliver continually working code that i...
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