EppsNet Archive: Project Management

I Think We Are Kidding Ourselves

More people have ascended bodily into heaven than shipped great software on time. — Jim McCarthy On the other hand, the number of people on LinkedIn claiming to have a demonstrated ability to lead software projects to successful completion, on time and on budget, as well as the number of companies seeking to hire such people, is infinite. Thus spoke The Programmer. Read more →

9 Links

Data Structure Visualizations Good Tech Lead, Bad Tech Lead Google Java Style Guide to 12 Disruptive Technologies How to Write a Cover Letter The Landing Page Optimization Guide You Wish You Always Had Selendroid: Selenium for Android UX Axioms by Eric Dahl Yelp’s got style (and the guide to back it up) Read more →

Misled by Metrics

From a Sr. IT Consultant: I recently asked a colleague [CIO] whether he would prefer to deliver a project somewhat late and over-budget but rich with business benefits or one that is on time and under budget but of scant value to the business. He thought it was a tough call, and then went for the on-time scenario. Delivering on time and within budget is part of his IT department’s performance metrics. Chasing after the elusive business value, over which he thought he had little control anyway, is not. Read more →

The Essence of Scrum

Good short article by Tobias Mayer on the principles of empiricism, emergence and self-organization, and the mechanisms of prioritization and timeboxing. Read more →

Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

It is essential not to profess to know, or seem to know, or accept that someone else knows, that which is unknown. Almost without exception, the things that end up coming back to haunt you are things you pretended to understand but didn’t early on. At virtually every stage of even the most successful software projects, there are large numbers of very important things that are unknown. It is acceptable, even mandatory, to clearly articulate your ignorance, so that no one misunderstands the corporate state of unknowingness. If you do not disseminate this “lucid ignorance,” disaster will surely befall you. Human nature is such that we dislike not knowing things that are important to our well being. Since there is so much we don’t know in a software project, the nearly universal tendency among developers and their managers is to gloss over or even deny altogether the extent of their… Read more →

Kanban, Scrum, User Stories, System Design

Scrum-ban Kanban bootstrap Elements of taskboard design A Kanban System for Software Engineering Naked Planning Explained – Kanban in the Small Kanban Development Oversimplified The new user story backlog is a map Read more →

A Longstanding Absurdity

Is the bad-software problem really caused by bad requirements definition, which we could fix by doing a better job up front, if only we were more diligent and more professional in our work? We have made this our primary excuse for bad software for decades. If this was really the problem, and if processes focusing on early lockdown of requirements provided the needed solution, wouldn’t we have solved this by now? A process that requires us to lock down decisions early will maximize our risk, not manage it. — Cem Kaner Read more →

Middle Management

In most failing projects, there are a few people at the top of the organization who think they are in trouble, lots of people at the bottom who know they are in trouble, and a bunch of worried middle managers trying to keep those at the top from talking to those at the bottom. — Ken Orr Read more →

Don’t Look Back

In uncertain conditions the main question should not be: “Why didn’t your performance yesterday conform to the original plan?” Rather, it should be: “What kind of feedback can help you learn faster and perform better tomorrow?” — “Ninety-Nine Rules for Managing ‘Faster, Better, Cheaper’ Projects” Read more →

The Illusion of Control

More paperwork does not ensure greater information reliability or accuracy — it only adds to the non-value-added cost. It only seems that adding more measurement and reporting means better control. The illusion of control may partially explain an obsession with control. — “Ninety-Nine Rules for Managing ‘Faster, Better, Cheaper’ Projects” Read more →

Stand Up for Your Opinion

In areas critical to the success of the project, stand up for your opinion. When necessary, challenge senior management and negotiate project objectives or the resources needed to accomplish them. — “Ninety-Nine Rules for Managing ‘Faster, Better, Cheaper’ Projects” Read more →

How to Get on My Bad Side

Walk into my office the day after your project is approved and say, “When are we getting a team together for my project? Because I don’t plan to miss my deadline.” Slap the back of one hand into the palm of the other for emphasis. Read more →

Optimal Solutions

Even in situations where information is missing and changing, and when there is a great demand for speed, it is essential to identify areas where the search for optimal solutions is worthwhile. Being selective is the key. — “Ninety-Nine Rules for Managing ‘Faster, Better, Cheaper’ Projects” Read more →

Convergence

The distinctive conduct that marks successful project teams is this: They know there is a time to diverge and a time to converge. That is, in each of the project planning phases (e. g., feasibility, conceptual, definition, execution), the team first moves outward (diverge) to gather information and ideas and to generate alternatives — only then does the team move inward (converge) to focus, evaluate, and select. — “Ninety-Nine Rules for Managing ‘Faster, Better, Cheaper’ Projects” Read more →

The Ultimate Goal of Planning

The ultimate goal of planning is the implementation of plans. One is interested in the planning process and its product — the plan, only insofar that it leads to the effective execution of the project. — “Ninety-Nine Rules for Managing ‘Faster, Better, Cheaper’ Projects” Read more →

Flexibility

The customer’s needs must dictate the project’s objectives, and in a dynamic environment, invariably one of these objectives is flexibility. — “Ninety-Nine Rules for Managing ‘Faster, Better, Cheaper’ Projects” Read more →

Early Planning

The maximum potential for influencing project outcomes occurs early in the conceptual and definition phases of the project. Autopsies of most failed projects indicate that the disasters were “well planned” to happen from the start. Therefore, even in an era of uncertainty and accelerated speed, don’t rush to execution with only superficial preparations — invest quality time in early planning. — “Ninety-Nine Rules for Managing ‘Faster, Better, Cheaper’ Projects” Read more →

The Goal on a Project

The goal on a project is not to have the correct plan in advance but to make the right decisions every day as things that were unknown become known. — Jim McCarthy Read more →

A Project Management Question

Which is better: A. Telling a project stakeholder that his good idea is never going to happen? B. Letting him think it is going to happen when it isn’t? Read more →

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