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Project Management

Project management is the discipline of carefully projecting or planning, organizing, motivating and controlling resources to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria. A project is a temporary endeavor designed to produce a unique product, service or result with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or deliverables) undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value.

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Successful collaboration among team members is essential for the growth of your business. When employees work together on projects, share ideas and communicate effectively they get better results.
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Read about why it is more lucrative for an IT company to participate in government projects.
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Read about the ways of improving workplace communication.
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by:Brian Matis
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Great article, Oscar! This is a topic becoming incredibly important to me. I love how many new sorts of techniques and tools there are for fostering improved communication, but it's definitely in a major transitional period. There are so many options! I've had to figure out things like what type of communication preferences different people have, to try to make sure I'm using the one that they prefer. Like how some people prefer email and rarely check chat, whereas others can be the exact opposite! Exciting times for sure...

I also love your mention of team building activities. One idea I've toyed with is using cooperative style board games, such as Pandemic. Wondering if anyone else has tried things like that?
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Internal Communication
When you’re making plans to join the modern business race, you should analyze various details that may affect your results. Nowadays, millions of businesses are trying to grow into established and appreciated professional enterprises.
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A simple overview of the possibilities of using technology for project management.
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Learn how ViaSat reduced average response times for IT incidents from 10 minutes to 30 seconds.
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In this article, you will read about the trends across the human resources departments for the upcoming year. Some of them include improving employee experience, adopting new technologies, using HR software to its full extent, and integrating artificial intelligence into the HR department.
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"Disruption" is the most feared word for C-level executives these days. They agonize over their industry being disturbed by another player - most likely by startups.
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Online collaboration can help businesses be more efficient, help employees grow their skills and foster a team environment.
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Transparency shows that a company is the kind of business that it wants people to think it is.
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Communication between departments might not happen in two different languages, but they do exist in two different worlds. With different targets and performance goals the same phrase often means something completely different to each party. Learn how to work across these barriers in this article.
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by:Yashwant Vishwakarma
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Good article dude :), voted yes :)
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by:rodthebeat
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Makes total sense and I've experienced the effect exactly as described of several of these elements, both when applied and when missing. Nice reminders, well composed thanks.
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You can provide a virtual interface for remote stakeholders in a SWOT analysis through a Google Drawing template. By making real time viewing and collaboration possible, your team can build a stronger product.
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by:Sina May
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Our org has a Google Apps account which made Drawings a bit more accessible. I could definitely see a company with Office 365 going with OneNote instead.  :)
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by:Deborah Canales
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What a nifty idea! My company utilizes Google Apps so I will have to keep this in mind to share with my users. :) Thanks!
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Agile and Scrum have almost become synonymous. Have you wondered what's the difference? Scrum is just one way to be Agile. It is the most popular which leads to the common confusion. Agile actually refers to a philosophy shared by group of development methods, each offering a unique approach.
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by:Eric AKA Netminder
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Documentation is a big contentious issue in Agile. There is a reason for this. When you start your presentation on Agile you start by going through the 4 statements of agile manifesto. As soon as you go to the second statement, traditional waterfall guys start frowning their eyes. The second statement in the manifesto says this.

Working software over comprehensive documentation
Seeing the statement people assume that documentation is not part of the agile process. It completely ignores documentation. Here comes questions. Without documenting the process flow how do you know what is the process we need to follow? Without document how do you know what is the requirement? Without document how do you know what has been implemented? Without document how is a new dev/qa going to understand what is coded/system all about? And if it is someone from CMMi background, then god can only help you to convince him/her.
The key thing people forget is that processes are there to help people get their work done faster. Deliver software faster to the end user. Faster delivery will help you capture market compared to your competitors. In software development you are not delivering document to the end user rather a working software. The above statement never said documentation is not needed, just that the emphasis is on delivering value to the end user.
Now let’s try to address some of the questions raised above.
 
Process flow documentation
Agile
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In Agile, time and again people ask this question "How would you estimate a release for a product?". When it comes from management they want to know the following:
  • Calculate the man hours which is at their disposal to get to the release date
  • Risk assessment
  • How many people we need, can we expedite the developement if we pump in more man power?
There are many more questions. In some cases they want to use some complex prediction algorithm to come up with the release date. Oh!! My god, I think, at the end of the day who is going to implement the features? Can an algorithm do an exact implementation? Can you use the available man hours?
 
I would say no. There is danger in using man hours. We don't take into account the diversity of a team. It can have people with experience levels. A person with ten years of experience may be able to finish a task in four hours, while another person with five years may take a day and someone less experienced may take two or more days. How does an algorithm include these differences? Or the team may be comprised of a tester, developer, BA etc. Each one has different work to do and you can't consider everyone to complete the different kind of work in the same hours at their disposal. Many a time management either doesn't understand or doesn't want to come out of its traditional way of running business.
 
There is an easy solution to this. No fancy algorithm, no man hour calculation, nothing. If you are aware of Agile
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I worked at a US software company that used offshore contractors for ten years and offshore employees for three years. We had a positive experience and you can too.
 
When I interviewed people for positions in the US, I would tell them that we worked with offshore staff. Some of the candidates had experience with this, but none of them had really positive experiences.
 
Why would you want to work with offshore staff?
  • Reduce expenses, but don’t get too greedy on this. Salaries may be less, but you have additional costs for travel, infrastructure, and inefficiencies.
  • Offshore staff can deploy Internet services during their day, when it is nighttime for your customers.
  • It may take less time to hire software professionals offshore than in some US cities.
  • People can work ‘round the clock on problems.
  • If you have a disaster onshore, the offshore staff can still work and vice versa.
 
From the beginning, we emphasized building relationships and developing people in addition to getting work output.
 
To build relationships we travelled. The president, CTO, VP, directors, managers and individual contributors all travelled offshore. The reverse was also true. Managers established regular visits in both directions to build relationships and understanding of environments. Managers went on shorter trips, while individual contributors from offshore spent longer periods in the US.
 
Develop the offshore staff…
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If you are using Scrum Framework or another agile process, a retrospective may be part of it. Does your team perform retrospectives? Are you getting value from your retrospectives?

I see a common anti-pattern when people conduct a retrospective for a sprint or write a root cause analysis for a defect. First they will point out the sequence of events that led to some code executing which caused the wrong thing to occur. Then to prevent that kind of problem from happening in the future they will basically conclude "we will try harder" or "we won't do that next time."

The purpose of a retrospective is to improve your process continuously. First identify something that didn't go well; perhaps it's a defect. Next your team must examine each step of the process which resulted in the defect. For each step think about whether the defect got created in that step and whether the defect escaped detection in that step. Finally, decide what actions to take to improve your process.

For the scrum framework process, you might think about the following.
  1. Did you groom the story in the backlog before adding it to the sprint?
  2. Was the story too big?
  3. Did you rush to finish the story to make the sprint deadline?
  4. Were the acceptance criteria sufficient?
  5. Were the acceptance criteria specific?
  6. Did you write the acceptance criteria together or review them?
  7. Did you add acceptance criteria during the sprint instead of putting them on the backlog?
  8. Did you do Test Driven Development?
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Backyard Hair Cut
It was Monday morning and while heading to work those familiar feelings of frustration began to rise: How was I ever going to get my yard work done?! At the end of every weekend I discovered that I spent more time trying to decide what to work on than actually working. How was I ever going to get to re-landscaping the front yard, prepping my vegetable garden for fall and maintaining the back yard so that the kids and pets could play? At the peak of my frustrations I discovered the Agile Scrum Framework.

Recently, buzzwords like Scrum and Agile were being tossed around the office. After educating myself by watching tutorials and reading, I immediately thought of my yard and how I could use the Agile Scrum Framework to accomplish my work!

Agile is a concept for software development cycle defined in the 80s by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka. Scrum is one way to adopt Agile that allows developers to be more flexible in reaching attainable goals. It breaks down like this: A team of cross discipline producers get together with a Project Owner and Scrum Master (a Scrum Master makes sure things stay on track but doesn't do any actual work) and decide what can be completed in a sprint (interval of time). Before sprinting user stories are used to define what needs to be done. Those user stories are broken down into tasks that can be accomplished during the sprint. These are backlog items. For more info on Scrum check out this great video series
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by:Jigs Gaton
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Helpful way to understand Agile, thx.
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by:Jigs Gaton
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Oh, and by the way, to answer your question in the last para:
Have you used Agile Scum? How?
I can only say,  "As consultants."
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Cobalt Digital Marketing began using the Scrum Framework development process in summer 2009.  We hired a consultant to train the teams, observe meetings, and answer questions.

He recommended that we begin using one-week sprints for several reasons.  The team gets feedback quickly.  You fail faster and succeed faster.  You go through the complete sprint cycle many times so you gain experience quickly.

In my experience those made sense in theory and they were valuable in practice during our transition.  The consultant was also able to repeatedly coach the teams to learn agile principles.

You may hear that common practice is to use a two-week or four-week sprint.  Why, after more than two years, do we continue to use one-week sprints?

We plan to release our main application once per week.  The cadence of the sprints matches our release cadence.

The limited amount of time forces teams to create small stories.  We try to limit story size to two days for two people.  Small stories are easier to code review and demo.
Most of our teams have members in both the US and India.  Product managers work in the US.  India staff are hungry for all the communication they can get.  They miss some discussions in the US with the product managers, design sessions, and planning meetings.  The one-week sprint forces the team to communicate more often in planning, backlog grooming, and demo meetings.

Product owners can see progress and give feedback every week.

Business owners …
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3 Tips For Quarter Milers:
A Sprinter's Understanding of Agile Software Development

Two years ago, I wrote a blog entry about Agile software development. At that point, I was intrigued to write an article about the Agile project management and software development state — one does not do Agile, but rather, one is Agile. However, I do not feel I know enough about Agile. Though, I am extremely versed in sprinting, so it occurred to me: Agile is about moving from a start position to an end goal — value — faster than one has ever done before — and, preferably, faster than competitors.

Agility or nimbleness is the ability to change the body's position efficiently, and requires the integration of isolated movement skills using a combination of balance, coordination, speed, reflexes, strength, endurance and stamina. In business and software development, agility means the capability of rapidly and efficiently adapting to changes. ~ Wikipedia
For me, the analogy between Agile and sprinting helped to dispel the myth that Agile is not well planned or documented. First, preparation and leadership are crucial before the race even begins. As far as documentation goes, one can read a book about running, or one can run. Agile simply asserts that if the correct …
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5 Tips For Long Jumpers:
A Sprinter's Approach to Agile Software Development

As a Sprinter, long jumping — applying momentum to progress by leaps and bounds — is a natural and complementary skill. In the following article, I will share my five tips to long jumping: avoid over-thinking, avoid burnout, expect gravity, fall focused, and fall forward. These five tips have been helpful to me not only in Track & Field but also in programming and project management. I hope they serve you well also.

Avoid Over-thinking.
There may be many approaches, but I will discuss two.

Precise process. High jumping and pole vaulting are good examples. If one has the core strength and correct process, the precision in executing the process is more important than the speed of the approach, i.e., some tasks have a quality bar one must rise over to be successful.

Rapid technique. Contrary to above, there is a little more margin for error here and raw speed is a factor. For example, in long jump, one can measure steps or sprint hard to the obvious target, i.e., marking off steps can slow one down unnecessarily in certain tasks.
The critical point here is: do not belabor simple tasks, but also do not under-think complex ones.

Avoid Burnout.
After gaining the proper momentum, it is tempting to take off like a rocket. Just be careful on the burn rate. One does not want to land in the same spot — exhausted.

What
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by:Derokorian
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Great article!
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by:Kevin Cross
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Thank you, Ryan!
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Art of Relay Sprinting:
A Sprinter's Philosophy on Scrum

If Agile is the quarter-mile race to value, Scrum is the art of the mile relay — taking a baton from a business partner and combining sprints to achieve team success. Consequently, the keys of an effective relay team are to assemble the "right" Sprinters, to sequence for success, and to execute. Agile software development with Scrum is no different. Therefore, the subject of this article is my personal philosophy about Scrum based on my understanding of agile software development as a Sprinter.

On Your Mark—Assemble the "Right" Team Members.
Every Runner is not a quarter-mile Sprinter. Therefore, selecting the "right" people is important. Second to this is good leadership. An interesting observation by Scott Downey is a good sprinter may not understand how to organize other good sprinters to make the most effective team. Scott's realization is the "Scrum Teams are the customers of the Scrum Master." The Scrum Master is the Coach, who helps the Sprint team to train for agility and organize quickly before the race begins.

What Scrum is.
According to Ron Jeffries, Scrum is: "Scrum is a framework, a way for people to work, a style, you might say, for building products. I think of it as a beginning, a good starting point for building something. If a team will start with Scrum, and pay attention, they’ll see the things that are in their way and be in a position to improve.
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by:oliviajennifer
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It will definitely ease your work of handling a big project. As a project manager I use scrum in my projects. One of my friends referred me to use the Guide to Scrum Body of Knowledge by http://www.scrumstudy.com. I like the concepts of sprints, daily standup meetings, etc. the SBOK Helped me alot in Understanding how <a href="http://www.scrumstudy.com/agile-project-management-training.asp">Agile Project Management</a> works.
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by:miahcharley
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After thinking over for quite a while about whether to go for PMP or SCRUM certification, I opted for a <a href="http://www.PMstudy.com/">PMP prep course</a> , Instructer was too good and I passed with relative ease. Looking forwards to apply what I learned in <a href="http://www.PMstudy.com/">PMP classes</a> in my company.
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What’s the difference between Management and Project Management? Even though the same management principles of Planning, Organizing, Leading and Controlling apply to Project Management, the focus is quite different.

Definition

What’s a project? A project is defined as a temporal effort in order to create a product, service or unique result. If we want to be more specific, we can say that:

An Effort is the application of organized resources
Temporal means it has to conclude and evolves with time
Project Management is then, the Administration of the People, Knowledge, Skills, Tools and Techniques (resources) in order to accomplish a Project in time, so it can fulfill the needs of the project.

An art or an engineering process?

Although people may think that Project Management is an art, Project Management resembles more an Engineering process. That doesn’t mean that all Project Managers have to be Engineers, but that they should be aware of all the knowledge that involves such activity.

This knowledge was defined by the PMI (Project Management Institute) in a document called PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge). This document has all the required and necessary steps for successfully managing a Project, and the most common book that describes this document is A Guide to the PMBOK, available in multiple languages and probable in your favorite book shop.

A Guide to the PMBOK describes the knowledge required in 9 different management areas:

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Prologue

Today, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library® (ITIL) is very commonly used in the IT industry for IT Service Management. It is strongly promoted by the service management industry experts.

In 1980, the need for ITIL was perceived by the industry and the first version of ITIL came into existence. Since then we have had 3 versions of ITIL, with the last ‘version3’ released in 2007.

When looking at the trend of ITIL implementation, we find that a big group of IT companies are implementing the ‘version2’. This is the group which could vision the advantages if ITIL earlier on, i.e. before the advent of ‘versio3’.  Later, an equally big group either implemented or migrated to ‘version3’.

However, like it recently happened to me, in a project meeting a client who was implementing ‘version2’ came up with a question; “What is the difference between version2 and version3?”. Let me confess I was caught off-guard and could not reply anything substantial. This is a very logical question, I am sure you all must have also faced it at some point, as it regularly comes up in various discussions and presentations or while deciding to upgrade our Service Management.

I tried looking up in various books and material published on the net, but there was not much available. The only information available is detailed descriptions or discussions on specific versions. At this point I perceived the need for coming up with a high level summary of both the …
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by:dinhchung82
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it is really helpful for me, thanks a lot!
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The technology coordinator knew that implementing a help desk call-tracking system could increase teacher satisfaction and cut costs. He bought tracking software and had it installed and configured. He modified the telephone routing system and hired new staff to work the help desk. Everything seemed to be working well.

When teachers called for help, they spoke to help desk staff or sometimes left a recorded message. Their requests were queued and resolved in-turn instead of being addressed according to perceived urgency. A knowledge base was being developed based on common problem types. These were all helpful and logical strategies, yes?

For the district, it was a disaster.

Teachers resented their inability to call their favorite technician for help, and their tone of voice no longer affected the speed of the resolution. IT staff hated having to document each problem resolution in the database. When staffers called the Superintendent to complain, she knew nothing about the new initiative and stormed into the IT Department demanding an explanation.

The process was working as planned. However, a simple but vital step had been overlooked: "Buy-In." The district hadn't convinced anyone that it was a good idea before they went ahead and implemented it. Sound familiar?

Does IT Know Something We Don't Know?

Anyone who successfully transitions from the world of business to the realm of education can tell you that one of the most glaring …
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Project Management

Project management is the discipline of carefully projecting or planning, organizing, motivating and controlling resources to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria. A project is a temporary endeavor designed to produce a unique product, service or result with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or deliverables) undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value.