Ask the Why Question – It Really Works!

facilitate requirementsI was recently asked by one of our customers to facilitate a requirements elicitation session on a change to an existing system. The software functionality is fairly simple so the group scheduled an hour session and just wanted an experienced facilitator to help lead the discussion. The session was already scheduled when I was asked to participate so I didn’t have much time to prepare but I did talk with a few of the stakeholders to get some background before the session. One of the business people wrote up a current state description which was very helpful in outlining the discussion. As I did some last minute preparations the night before and discussed the session with a colleague we realized that the customer had not really articulated why they had initiated this project. Continue reading

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Agile Approaches in agile projects

This post is a follow-up to my Agile DNA webinar I hosted a little over a month ago. This was my first webinar for RMC and we had a great interest with over 2,000 people registering for the event interested in Agile approaches in agile projects. The recording is now available, see below for details on how to access it. The webinar was entitled “Agile DNA, the People and Process Elements of Successful Agile Projects” and the DNA theme came from the twin strands of People and Process guidance that run through all agile approaches in agile projects and make agile uniquely what it is. Continue reading

Posted in Agile, agile manifesto, Approaches, People and Process, Roles within organizations, Team Collaboration, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Agile Requirements – The Dance of the Details

The most difficult part of discovering and analyzing requirements on agile teams is determining how much detail is needed and when we should discuss the details. Early advocates of agile approaches, like SCRUM, emphasized a high level product vision at the beginning of development and then quick, lightweight user stories to support the vision detailed before each sprint. They suggested that we don’t need to get into any details until sprint planning. But as more and more teams are attempting to use agile approaches, the challenges of this requirements approach are exposed. Continue reading

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5 Reasons to Care about Project Communication

Project CommunicationProject managers spend 90 percent of their time on communication related activities; yet communication is reported to be the No. 1 problem on projects.

Consider the following example: While planning one of my projects, my core project team assessed our sponsor, “William”, to have high influence but low interest in our project. William would routinely arrive late to meetings, be distracted by his phone, and leave early saying he had more important meetings to attend. When he was present, his gloomy attitude affected the rest of the team. They did not want to speak up in front of him fearing that they may have to face his disdain. Continue reading

Posted in Communications Management, Leadership, Project Management, Roles within organizations, Team Collaboration, Training & Development | 1 Comment

Go Ahead, Give In to the Top Ten Lists

Top TenI love the end of the year articles about the top ten movies of the year, or top ten books, and also  the New Year predictions like “12 trends to watch in 2017”.  Every year during the holidays, I find myself reading these top ten lists and predictions but this year I began thinking about why they are enjoyable, and whether or not they are a good use of my time. As the leader of a book club, the top ten books of the year lists are a great source of ideas for my group so my time reviewing them is useful. But what about from a work and career perspective; should I be spending time reading about the top ten training trends from 2016?

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Aggressive Transparency

aggressive transparency I came across a new phrase last week, which I really like:  “aggressive transparency”. I saw this phrase in the Project Management Institute, Inc. exposure draft of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition.  It is used in the Project Stakeholder Management chapter referring to the fact that agile approaches strive to be very transparent so that stakeholders always are aware of project progress.  I liked the phrase and searched on it to see if I could find where it originated. Continue reading

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Prioritization Troubles? Brainstorm New Metrics

We teach prioritization techniques in many of our classes and many of the conversations we have at conferences and meetings are about how challenging it can be to get a group of people to agree on project priorities or even individual aspects of a product. As I was working on my 2017 strategic plan, I decided to write a short post on prioritization and metrics.

As a program manager at RMC Learning Solutions I have to prioritize projects and make recommendations to my management. We have many ideas for new courses, products, and services which are competing for our time. Prioritizing requires us to assess the expected value of an idea against its expected cost and then compare it to other ideas. Continue reading

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What Good Are Certifications, Anyway?

What Good Are Certifications, Anyway?It seems that certifications are under attack.  In the past several months I’ve heard that corporations are no longer interested in having their employees obtain any certifications.   This rant is not limited to the PMP®.  Indeed, it is said that companies are now solely interested in skills training. On one level this makes sense.  Why should a company care whether their employees are certified project managers, business analysts or Scrum Masters so long as they are able to perform those functions? What good are certifications, anyway?

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Posted in Agile, Business Analysis, Project Management, Training & Development | 2 Comments

Making the Most of Your Conference Attendance

I’m going to the BBC Conference (Building Business Capability) next week and am really looking forward to the sessions, the exhibit hall, and networking with other professionals.  I realize that I am fortunate to be able to attend several conferences each year, but I know many people are lucky if they get to go to one. If you are going the BBC or another conference, make the most of it. Here are some tips for preparing to attend a conference which will help you get the most value. Continue reading

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Last Minute Hints to Passing the CBAP®/CCBA® Exam

Time pressure. Deadline. Businessman trying to stop time. Time Management. “What should I do to pass before the deadline?”

So you waited until the last month to take your CBAP® or CCBA® Exam? I won’t lecture you on procrastination (although I am very tempted to!).  I have been getting quite a few questions from people trying to finish by Sept. 22, 2016 when the IIBA® BABOK® Guide V2 exams expire. Continue reading

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