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Project Management: What is Scrum
PMConnection Articles


Scrum is a management and control process that cuts through complexity to focus on building products that meet business needs.  It is also one of the most rigid Agile appraoch in terms of recommended practices and procedures.  Scrum is an implementation of Agile. The process involves performing just enough planning to get started, creating the minimal feature set.  Then we build what was planned, then it is tested and reviewed.  Once this cycle is complete, we end up with a Potentially Shippable Product.  This process usually occurs over a time period of one to three weeks.  This process of Plan, Build, Test and Review is known as a Sprint.  Depending upon what is being built, it may take multiple Sprints before a Shippable Product is complete.

In Scrum, there are three key roles needed in order for the framework to work well.  The Product Owner is responsible for defining the Features that are needed in the product.  The Scrum Master is a servant leader to the team.  Their responsibility is to protect the team and the process, running the meetings and keeping things progressing forward.  The Team is the third role.  It can be made up of Developers, Testers, and anyone else who helps in building the product.  Team members often play multiple roles.  For instance, sometimes Developers may end up doing some testing or Testers may perform some form of development.  Either way the team works collaboratively to get the product done.

There are three artifacts or documents used for Scrum.  First is the Product Backlog.  This is where the Product Owner keeps a list of all the User Stories and then works to prioritize that list.  This list evolves and priorities may change at every sprint.  User Stories are a way of describing a feature set.  A User Story follows the format of "As a _______, I need _______, So that ______." format.  By phrasing the User Story in this way, this allows the Product Owner to specify the right amount of detail for the team to estimate the size of the task.  The highest priority User Stories go into the Sprint Backlog. These are estimated for size and are committed to for the next sprint.  Burn down charts show the progress during a sprint of the completion of tasks in the sprint backlog.  This chart should approach zero points as the work is being completed.

There are three ceremonies that make up Scrum.  Think of these as meetings or discussions.  Sprint Planning is where the Product Owner, Scrum Master and Team meet to discuss the User Stories and estimate their relative sizes.  The Daily Scrum is a brief stand-up meeting where the team discusses what they completed since the previous meeting, what they are working on and anything that might be blocked or need help.  The Sprint Review and retrospective occurs at the end of the Sprint.  This is where the team demonstrates the completed work to the Product Owner.  The team also discusses what they can do to improve the process going forward.

The Scrum workflow looks like Backlog to Sprint Planning to Sprint Backlog and then into the Sprint.  The Sprint is a one to three week time-box where the User Stores committed to during the Sprint Backlog are worked through to completion.  During the Sprint, the Daily Stand-up occurs.  The outcome of the Sprint is a potentially shippable product.  The Product Owner makes the decision if it can ship or if more features are needed.  Finally, at the end of the Sprint, the Sprint Review and Retrospective occurs.  This workflow is repeated for each Sprint until all features for the product are complete.


For more information on this topic, visit Scrum.org



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Posted by webadmin on Friday, November 03 @ 00:16:22 CDT (344 reads)
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Project Management: What is Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe 4.5?
PMConnection Articles

Scaled Agile Framework (or SAFe) is an agile software development framework consisting of a knowledge-base of integrated patterns intended for enterprise-scale Lean-Agile development.  SAFe is scalable and modular, allowing an organization to apply it in a way that suits its need.

SAFe is a framework meant to cover the entire organization.  The current version is SAFe 4.5.  It has 4 levels; Portfolio, Large Solution, Program and Team.  The Team level works very much like standard scrum.  At this level, there is an Agile team which is cross functional and works together to deliver working systems every two weeks which are called iterations.  The content of the iteration is determined by the Product Owner who is in charge of the team backlog.  The iteration starts with a team planning meeting in which the team decides what user stories they can deliver by the end of the iteration.  Each day the team meets in a daily standup meeting to discuss the progress and at the end of the iteration they demo their results to the Product Owner to make sure they have delivered the desired results.  The team then conducts a retrospective to determine what they can improve for the next iteration before starting the cycle again with a new planning meeting.  All of this is guided by a Scrum Master who makes sure the team works smoothly within the process and that it keeps improving.

The Program level is very similar to the Team level.  The Program is comprised of multiple Teams working to deliver a larger system together.  The Program ranges from 50 to 125 people.  This team of teams is called an Agile Release Train or ART.  It will also time-box it’s effort into Program Increments or PI’s which are 5 iterations by default.  The content for each PI is determined by a Product Manager in the Program Backlog in the form of Features.  This will provide most of the content for the Team Backlogs.  The ART is governed by the RTE or Release Train Engineer.  This role acts as the trains Scrum Master ensuring that it runs smoothly and stays on track.  He is somewhat of the Program Manager at the Program Level.  Each PI begins with a planning meeting in which all members of the teams get together to hear the Vision and Roadmap of the train and the features for the upcoming PI.  Each team then plans what objectives they can achieve in this PI.  They also identify dependencies with other teams on the train as well as risks.  The teams commit to these PI objectives as a group providing visibility to Business Owners and Customers of what they can expect to be delivered in this PI.
  
To make sure the train will meet its objectives, we have both a bi-weekly meeting of the Scrum Masters and the Release Train Engineer to ensure all are on the same page and everything is on track.  At the end of the iteration, a system demo is delivered.  This is a demonstration of the integrated system.  This ensures that we don’t have one team running ahead but that the whole train is iterating together.  Adequate architecture and infrastructure is needed to ensure the trains are running as fast as possible.  Each PI serves as a time to lay down the track for what we think we will need in order to achieve our goals in the following PI.  This is called the Architecture Runway and it is facilitated to by the trains System Architect.  
Each PI is 5 iterations long, but only 4 iterations are planned.  The fifth iteration is called the IP iteration or Innovation Planning iteration.  The iteration part is for the team engage in creative ideas like hackathons.  Within the Planning part, three things occur; a) demo our accomplishments, b) maintenance for the train by retrospective on how to improve collaboration, c) plan next PI together.  The IP also serves as an estimating guard-band to make sure the teams deliver on their commitment.

The Large Solution level provides the means to coordinate ARTS who are building even larger solutions in which a single ART can’t deliver by itself.  At this level Solution Management is the content authority.  The Value Stream Engineer is the coach and guide and a Solution Architect to help ensure good architecture is used.  The Value Streams run the same PI cadence as the ARTS and has Planning, Solution Demo, and Inspect and Adapt for cross-ART capabilities.

The Portfolio Level is somewhat different than the other levels.  Portfolio Management helps dictate direction for all underlying Value Streams by deriving Strategic Themes from the Enterprise Strategy and then allocates budgets to Value Streams to support these Themes.  They also manage cross Value Stream initiatives which impact several solutions in the form of Epics.

See interactive SAFe Big Picture from here


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Posted by webadmin on Wednesday, October 04 @ 15:21:50 CDT (467 reads)
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Project Management: What is Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD)
PMConnection Articles

Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) is a people-first, learning-oriented hybrid agile approach to IT solution delivery. It has a risk-value delivery lifecycle, is goal-driven, is enterprise aware, and is scalable.

Disciplined Agile Delivery is one part of the overall Disciplined Agile Framework.  It provides the foundation for the rest of the framework, focusing on Agile Solution Delivery from beginning to end.  The layers of the Disciplined Agile Framework move from DAD to Disciplined DevOps to Disciplined Agile IT and finally Disciplined Agile Enterprise.

The key characteristics of DAD are:

• People oriented – People come first.  Individuals and interactions as well as the way we collaborate are the primary determinates for success.

• Goal Driven – It takes a goal driven approach that gives people choices.  It is not prescriptive.  A very lightweight approach to making better decisions

• Hybrid Agile – Takes ideas from a large range of sources

• Learning Oriented – Contains many aspects of Lean

• Full Delivery Lifecycle – All the way from idea to completion

• Solution Focused – Not just software development focused.  Includes hardware, organization structure changes, supporting documentation as well as business processes

• Risk Value Lifecycle - The focus is on enabling teams, not monitoring and controlling them

• Enterprise Aware – Appreciates larger organization and other groups

DAD is a hybrid framework that leverages proven strategies from several sources, providing a decision framework to guide your adoption and tailoring of them in a context driven manner.  Sources include; Scrum, Kanban, Lean, Extreme Programming, Unified Process, Agile Modeling, Outside in Dev., Traditional, Agile Data, SAFe, DevOps and more.  By leveraging the different sources, it allows the user to best parts of different sources and build a modular approach for developing a delivering a solution that delights the customer.

Because DAD focuses on delivery end to end and scales up through the entire organization, it has more roles that Scrum.  

Primary Roles:

• Team Lead (Scrum Master)

• Product Owner (from Scrum) – Must represent all stakeholders, not just customer

• Architecture Owner (from Agile Modeling) – guides team through important architecture decisions

• Team Member

• Stakeholder – Customers, End Users, Auditors, Financial Analyst, Support, Operations, etc.

Secondary Roles (Usually appear as DAD scales up or out through the organization):

• Independent Testers (not actually part of the development team)

• Specialist – Enterprise Architect, Program Manager, Financial Analyst

• Domain  Expert – Share knowledge or guidance in a particular area

• Technical Expert – Share expert technical knowledge or skills

• Integrator – Used during large program.  Used to focus on overall integration of various components of the solution.

DAD supports multiple lifecycles including Agile, Exploratory (Lean Startup), Lean, Continuous Delivery; Lean and Continuous Delivery: Agile.  This means that if the organization is already using one of these lifecycles, DAD can be leveraged.  Or if there are multiple groups within the organization and a few groups are using Agile and a few are using Lean, DAD can be adapted to accommodate both lifecycles and all groups.

With respect to the process domain, DAD focuses on providing choices.  They call these process choices Goals and group them into various stages that they term Timing:

• Inception

o Form Initial Team

o Develop Common Vision

o Align with Enterprise Direction

o Explore Initial Scope

o Identify Initial Technical Strategy

o Develop Initial Release Plan

o Secure Funding

o Form Work Environment

o Identify Risks

o Develop Initial Test Strategy

• Construction

o Produce a Potentially Consumable Solution

o Address Changing Stakeholder Needs

o Move Closer to a Deployable Release

o Improve Quality

o Prove Architecture Early

• Transition

o Ensure the Solution is Consumable

o Deploy the Solution

• Ongoing

o Grow Team Members

o Govern Delivery Team

o Leverage and Enhance Existing Infrastructure

o Address Risk

o Improve Team Process and Environment

o Coordinate Activities


Because DAD is not prescriptive, it allows for an organization to adapt these 23 Goals to align with how the various teams work.

DAD is Goal oriented so you can take one of the Goals and answer questions or make decisions about that goal to ensure the best decision is made for the organization.  For example; if you take the Goal of “Form the Initial Team”, then you can answer distinct questions like; Source, Evolution Strategy, Size, Structure, Member skills, Completeness, Longevity, Geographic distribution, Support the team and Availability.  One makes a decision on these items.  For instance with respect to Geographic Distribution, we could choose from Co-located, Partially dispersed, Distributed sub-teams and Fully dispersed.  We would then define the Advantages and Disadvantages of each option.  Now the best decision can be made; thus making smarter decisions and being more effective and more agile.  Every team will have their own process and own that process and over time, their process may change.  Figure 1 below demonstrates how the Goals, Decision Points and Options decompose.

Figure 1: Goals and Decision Points

DAD teams are enterprise aware.  In other words each team is doing what is best for the company as a whole.  An example would be that all teams are working towards a common business goal.  DAD teams strive to leverage and enhance the existing eco system wherever possible.  DAD teams work closely with other enterprise groups, they follow existing roadmaps where appropriate, leverage existing assets and enhance existing assets.

Governance is built into DAD.  There needs to be some governance for agile and lean teams.  Rather than a deliverables based approach, DAD leverages a Risk value lifecycle.  The focus is on enabling teams, not monitoring and controlling them.  There should be light-weight milestone reviews, standard opportunities for increased visibility and to steer the team.

The benefits of the DAD is that it scales Agile tactically.  It allows the agile approach to be more mature and robust.  This would mean working with larger teams, or working with geographically disbursed team.  This also means taking compliance, domain complexity and technical complexity into consideration.  Or finally it could simply mean distributing various aspects of DAD across the organization.

Solution delivery requires discipline.  DAD can provide that discipline, but at the same time allows the organization to make choices to best build an approach that aligns with their contextual needs.  DAD is a good middle ground that is a step above Agile development that will allow an organization to evolve or mature over time to scale agile tactically across an organization.



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Posted by webadmin on Sunday, September 03 @ 11:38:55 CDT (506 reads)
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Project Management: How to Create a Kanban Board in 5 Clicks
PMConnection Articles

How to create a Kanban Board in 5 clicks

Note: This article assumes you have Office 365 and have already created a project with tasks within Planner.


1.      Login to Office 365


2.      Click on Planner


3.      Click on one of your projects


4.      Click on the dropdown for “Group by” and select Progress


5.      Ta Da:




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Posted by webadmin on Sunday, March 05 @ 01:25:03 CST (3033 reads)
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Project Management: What is Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe?
PMConnection Articles

What is Scaled Agile Framework® or SAFe®?

Scaled Agile Framework® or SAFe® is an online, freely revealed knowledge base of proven success patterns for implementing Lean-Agile software and systems development at enterprise scale.[1]

SAFe®, as the name indicates can be applied or scaled to various levels of an organization.  Its principles can be applied to the Team, Program, Value Stream or the Portfolio level.

 

There are Nine Principles of SAFe[2]

1.       Take an economic view

2.       Apply systems thinking

3.       Assume variability; preserve options

4.       Build incrementally with fast, integrated learning cycles

5.       Base milestones on objective evaluation of working systems

6.       Visualize and limit WIP, reduce batch sizes and manage queue lengths

7.       Apply cadence, synchronize with cross-domain planning

8.       Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers

9.       Decentralize decision-making

These principles are built off the Agile Manifesto Principles (http://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html )

 

Organizations who have implemented SAFe are getting outstanding business benefits[3]:

·         20 – 50% increase in productivity

·         50%+ increases in quality

·         30 – 75% faster time to market

·         Measurable increases in employee engagement and job satisfaction

Their website is really cool!  Here is a screenshot from the homepage:

But, on their site it's not just a picture.  It is very dynamic!  Each icon or image contains a hyperlink that will allow you to drill into more information about the item.  Just like the definition states; "an online, freely revealed knowledge base."  Give it a try: http://www.scaledagileframework.com

 

Regardless of the type of product you are delivering here are a few tips for implementing SAFe:[4]

·         Have the business engaged the whole way.

·         Tailor your agile process to the culture. 

·         If Agile doesn’t fit a particular type of work, don’t force it.

·         Quickly agree on the initial level of process, tools and governance required for your organization. Agree that these processes must and will change. Learn to fail fast, learn from the mistakes, and relentlessly improve.

·         Automate everything you can such as build, deployment, testing and release. The more you automate the smaller your teams and the documentation of yesterday is now in code.

For more information on Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®), visit this link.

 

 

 



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Posted by webadmin on Wednesday, January 25 @ 08:42:00 CST (2918 reads)
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Project Management: Agile Project Management
PMConnection Articles


Tons of Articles, Videos, Podcasts and Templates related to Agile Project Management can be found in our ever growing database.  They can be sorted alphabetically, by date added, by rating or by popularity.  See the full list here.



Note:

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Agile Project Management


Posted by webadmin on Thursday, August 11 @ 12:07:13 CDT (3940 reads)
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Project Management: What is Microsoft Planner?
PMConnection Articles

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Posted by webadmin on Tuesday, July 05 @ 17:23:24 CDT (4920 reads)
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Project Management: How to Get Started in Project Management
PMConnection Articles

 

4 Valuable Skills to Break Into Project Management

As companies look for that elusive competitive edge, they’re hot on the trail of candidates with project management expertise. This year, 44 percent of the 353 IT executives in a Computerworld survey said they plan to hire candidates with project management skills.  So what do you need to succeed in this growing profession? Here are four skills that will help get you started. Continue Reading

  

52 Tips To Break Into Project Management

Comments provided from many recognized leaders in project management from around the world.  Continue Reading

 

But I’m Not a Project Manager – Where Do I Start?

Taking control of a project from beginning to end can be intimidating, especially if you are not a project manager by trade. There could be various reasons for you to have to manage a project. It could be assigned to you or something that you have taken upon yourself. Whatever the reason and whatever your job title; there are some very simple things you can do in the beginning of a project that will help it to run smoother and help you to manage it better.  Continue Reading

 

Do You Have What It Takes to be a Project Manager?

Although every project is different, each requires a planned, organized approach. Do you have what it takes to be a project manager? The project management Q&A below, excerpted from 101 Project Management Problems and How to Solve Them, by Tom Kendrick, will help you decide.  Continue Reading


Do you have what it takes to be a project manager?

Do you ever wonder if project management is the right career choice for you? It is multifaceted and rewarding, but it is also a demanding job. Here are eight things to consider to help you decide if you’re cut out to be a project manager. Continue Reading

 

Getting Started in Project Management

Comments from many individuals posted on Linked In.  Continue Reading

 

Getting Started: Introduction to Project Management

For many people, learning how to use Microsoft Project 2010 means learning the basics of project management at the same time. The two go hand-in-hand.  This overview points you to information about understanding project management and how to use those concepts in Project 2010. Follow the links in each step for detailed information.  Continue Reading

 

How can I get Started in Project Management?

A great article on how one might go about getting started.  Continue Reading

 

How Do I Become a Project Manager?

Are you a natural leader who knows how to motivate others, communicate your ideas and organize projects to make those ideas come to life? Then a becoming project manager may be the right career path for you. Discover what type of world you’d be in if you decide to be a project manager with the information provided in this guide.  Continue Reading

 

How to Become a Project Manager

I remember when I was promoted from a humble engineer to the dizzy heights of project manager back in my twenties. The company I worked for successfully turned a reasonable engineer into a poor project manager! Worse than that the company also wanted me to be the "technical architect" (create the products) of the project.  Continue Reading

 

How to Become a Project Manager

As a Project Manager, you will manage every aspect of the project from start to finish, working to a series of pre-determined goals and objectives.  Continue Reading

 

How to Become an IT Project Manager: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Research the requirements to become an IT project manager. Learn about the job description and duties and read the step-by-step process to start a career as an IT project manager.  Continue Reading

 

How to Break into Project Management
John Challenger, CEO, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a global expert in recruitment and talent, explains how to determine if project management is the right career choice for you, and how to find an opportunity in the profession.  Watch Video



How to Break Into Project Management—and Succeed
Young job candidates hammered by the still-lingering effects of the global economic crisis have been flocking to a booming profession: project management. Three in five hiring managers say interest in project management careers among younger job applicants has grown over the past decade, according to PMI’s Pulse of the Profession® In-Depth Study: Talent Management.  Continue Reading



How to get Project Management Work Experience without the PMP Certification

Some people find there is a bit of a Catch-22 when it comes to getting project management experience to take the PMP exam. On one hand, you need to amass this project management experience in order to apply to take the test. But on the other hand, many project management jobs require that applicants be PMP certified project managers before they are even considered for the role. So how do you go about getting project management experience to apply to take the PMP exam if you are not already a PMP credential holder?  Here are a few ideas.  Continue Reading


How to Get Started in Project Management

So how do you get started? Existing project managers tend to all have different stories about how they got started. It seems clear from this that there is not just one way of getting involved in projects. We can, however, have a look at a few recommendations which are suitable for anyone considering this role.  Continue Reading

 

How To Get Started in Project Management

A great podcast by Colin Ellis. Listen Here



What is a Project Manager and How Do I Become One?

Perhaps you've worked on plenty of projects, and you think you would like to make a career out of project management. What exactly does a successful project manager do and what does it take to become one? What skills do you need?  Continue Reading



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Posted by webadmin on Saturday, March 07 @ 03:06:04 CST (30998 reads)
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Project Management: 534 Project Management Terms
PMConnection Articles
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Posted by webadmin on Monday, September 01 @ 19:14:19 CDT (10856 reads)
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Project Management: What’s Your Favorite Project Management Website?
PMConnection Articles

What’s Your Favorite Project Management Website?

1. Add your favorite PM website to “The Project Management Search Engine” here:



2. Try using “The Project Management Search Engine” here:





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Posted by webadmin on Wednesday, July 09 @ 13:31:52 CDT (4507 reads)
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