No need for a PM for a team of one. Professionals manage their own time

What do you do when you’re asked to project manage a team of one? Personally I say “okay” then do nothing. I believe the smaller the team the lighter the process necessary to run the team. When project management merges into time management you don’t need the project manager any more. Professionals manage their own time. I manage teams.
Continue reading

Help! Looking for Topics for “What to do when . . . ?”

I need help. Every month for the last 18 months I’ve been posting something to answer the question What do I do When … ?. People seem to like the format but I’m running out of ideas. I’d appreciate some help finding topics for a new batch of posts in this series. Please drop me a line or add a comment if you’ve got a question you’d like answered or just a suggestion for a topic.

Developers don’t have time for code reviews and unit tests

The ticket moves to “Dev Done” but there are no unit tests and the code hasn’t been reviewed. When challenged the developer says “That’s because I don’t have time for that stuff”. If I hear that I want to know why they feel they don’t have time, then I give them the time.
Continue reading

No space to co-locate team – think again

I knew I had a big problem when I walked into the new programme space and found 18 desks. 18 wasn’t enough. I predicted I would have about 35 people on the team and I wanted them together. Co-location is so important to me that I will always challenge the assumption of “there is no space”. And I have found there are lots of things I can do to get my team together.
Continue reading

What to do when Scope is Fixed

Sally was a prospective customer of mine. She worked for a high profile but rather old school company and wanted a fixed price contract. Sally genuinely thought her business analysts had nailed down the scope and was confident nothing would change. From her perspective all I had to do was price the work and deliver the product. Sounds perfect except Sally was wrong. My experience is that, fixed price or not, scope is never fixed. Pretending nothing is going to change is a form of self-delusion. Sally was deluded. What should I have done?
Continue reading

Reporting Percentage Complete on an Agile Project

What do you do when management asks for a percentage complete on an Agile project? The flippant answer is “tell them the percentage complete”. Agilists reject percentage complete when reporting on low level stuff. But for the project as a whole you can get quite an interesting metric, one that is based on real data, so why not calculate and share it.

Continue reading

No walls: What to do when you’ve no Walls for your Informative Workspace

You move into a lovely new office. Lots of light and open spaces. Beautiful. Modern. But no walls.

Agile kind of assumes you’ve got walls. Whiteboards. Sprint Plan. Product Backlog. Burn down Charts. Kanban boards. Cumulative Flow Diagrams. All prominently displayed to transform your office into an Informative Workspace.

So what do you do when there are no walls?
Continue reading

When Meeting Madness Strikes

Some people and some organisations like meetings. If you drop Agile with its Agile Heartbeat into the mix then you might find that meeting madness strikes.

I’m a Kiwi living in the UK and I’ve noticed the British will form a queue if given the barest of excuses. Similarly, in some organisations, the people will call a meeting at the drop of a hat. People in coordination roles (e.g. project manager, discipline lead) seem particularly prone to this.

Continue reading