Sunday, October 3, 2010

Key Points for any Project (Traditional or Agile)

I'm using Scrum for the past 3+ years and have been ScrumMaster for most of this time. I embrace and advocate Scrum, but last week, I attended a FredPryor Seminar on project management, mainly to better understand the similarities and differences between traditional project management and Scrum. This also helped me in appreciating how basic project management skills applies to any industry. I want to highlight some of the common basic points which came up in the seminar, which are important irrespective of which methodology we are using.
  1. Kick-off meeting is important when starting projects (or Sprint in Agile) - I see this as similar to Sprint Planning in Agile. Everyone involved need to get a clear idea on what they are building.
  2. Team buy-in from the very beginning is critical.
  3. Brainstorming with the team on topics is important.
  4. Everyone (Team, Management, Stakeholders) agreeing on specific, realistic goals is important.
  5. Clear project definition and scope is very important. Avoid scope creep.
  6. Be SMART when defining a project (or Sprint in Agile) - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.
  7. Risk Assessment - Understand constraints between Time, Cost and People. Often, when risk comes the trade-off is between one of these.
  8. Progress - Gantt-Chart in traditional project management becomes Burndown chart in Agile (at least on the high level).
  9. Meetings - Need to have team meetings on time, in regular schedule with a specific agenda. Full participation of team is important. Also, need to respect other's time and end the meeting on schedule. Finally, need to take meeting notes and follow up promptly.
  10. Team working collaboratively is very important. This will create a co-operative and productive atmosphere.
  11. Start the project with self-esteem and end it with self-esteem (for the team).
  12. Always recognize the team and celebrate success.
  13. Review all outstanding issues after the project (or Sprint in Agile) is done and see what can be improved - Similar to Sprint Retrospective.
I understand the differences between Traditional and Agile and how Agile improves the success of the project. But, still there are many basic things that apply to any project management methodology. Many of these seem like common sense, but if we think about it, lot of these are not being practiced in our day to day projects. I'm sure following these points will surely improve the success rate of any project. I just listed some of the points, which comes to my mind at this time. If you have other points, feel free to add comments.


yadhav said...

interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you

Agile Project Management

Unknown said...

Yeah its a good article. According to you what we project managers do is communicating. And a lot of this communication is done during project meetings. It can sometimes feel like you are running from one meeting to another and that your time is often wasted. Meetings don’t start on time, the issues aren’t dealt with, there is no agenda, there is no focus, nobody assigns any follow ups or tasks and of course then they also don’t end on time. An efficient project manager is required for the good management of a project. I think a project manager should PMP certified. Looking forwards to apply what I learned in PMP classes in my company.

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