Agile Methodology – webinar wastefulness and cultural shifts

07.09.2011 1

My Team Lead and I just sat through 70% of a webinar and opted out early.  The subject was supposed to be about scaling organizational change around Agile Methodology, which was exciting for us as we’re right in the middle of creating a cultural shift in our organization.

We have embarked on a path to firm up our agile processes and provide accountability right from the product owner down to the individual coder.  We’re keen on entrenching good methods and process because we’ve got big plans and want  to establish “how we do it!”  This is part of bigger plans  that we have for implementing test driven development and paired programming – the company is maturing!

What we found was a webinar that pointed us to reading cultural theories by well-published management authors.  The take-aways before opting out were: respect team members, don’t let anyone on the team talk trash, and try to provide enabling challenges.  None of those are bad ideas, but where’s the hands-on practical experience and other inside tips that we should know and was hinted at in the webinar summary?  As we’re ramping up and putting components into place, I’m becoming more and more convinced that the key to implementing a cutlural shift around Agile are hands-on ideas like is this:

  1. Plan  - identify what you think you need to accomplish and then determine how you’re going to do it.
  2. Assign resources to the tasks in the plan.
  3. Work the plan.
  4. Meet daily so that you can be flexible with any road blocks.
  5. Have a show and tell at the end of the week where the team can review the successes for the last 4 days!  Have management attend so that they can see the results and keep the buy-in strong.

(sounds like a sprint, hmmm….)

Inside Tip:  Set office hours completely devoted for discussing any change induced worries that team members might be having.  Also, don’t talk trash and help each other get there.
Now if I was to package this and throw in a few war stories, I might have a webinar myself.  Hopefully with useful content!


Organizational Benefits of a PMO

21.06.2011 0

I have had the opportunity of building two Project Management Offices (PMO’s) and each one has been different but kind of the same.  The similarities lie in the consistency, rigour, communication structure, tools and actions needed to support basic business operation and the delivery of projects.  The differences focused on what was needed for the organization.  The maturity of the organization dictated the development of the PMO.

Organizational maturity really makes the difference when one attempts to put structure together for a company.  There are questions and cultural issues that must addressed before any PMO initiative can grow legs.   For example – just the basic understanding of how project management can impact he health and growth of the business is an important consideration before any process or infrastructure can be considered.  If the company doesn’t understand what the profession of project management does, how it can improve operations, and why it drives customer satisfaction, then the road to PMO development is a long one.

If the company understands the need for governance, support for building a PMO can be an natural evolution.  For example – using consistent process becomes the organizational strategy for crafting solutions for the company’s customers.   Business Development and Operations are now working hand in hand to ensure that customer expectations are crafted right from the start.  This is one of the major benefits of building a PMO for the organization.  The company shifts and becomes solutions focused.

Another major benefit is the application of consistent process for project decisions.  Risks are routinely categorized and responses are formalized so that both positive and negative risks can be either mitigated or capitalized.  The organization’s management team decisions are now supported by the transparency provided by the consistent process of the PMO.  Project decisions are smoother – improving project execution.

The processes of the PMO often augment change management.  Having systems in place, dealing with risks, applying decision making tools, are all natural extensions for what the PMO can bring to the discipline of managing change.  If the company is about to embark on new directions or wishes to implement new strategies, having the PMO shepherd the process can really lessen the impact to the organization and its staff.



Funny thing happened on the way to the Blog

09.06.2011 0

So this is the first blog for my site.  Now it would be easy for me to write about some grand vision of what I want my “professional presence on the web” to be but I think writing honestly about my thoughts is more my style.  Cut to the chase, no dramas, and tell me about the bottom line.

The motive for creating this site came about through discussions with my professional coach Roberta Sawatsky, admiration for the talent of colleague William Azaroff, and through the urging of consultant Colin Parker.  These talented people have inspired me to communicate on a wider level, and share my leadership perspective.  So I’m adding to the milieu we call social media.  Let’s hope the content is good  and possibly compelling.

Funny thing happened to me on the way to the Blog – My career has progressively evolved and I have been taking greater and greater responsibilities.  This means I’ve seen some crazy things, stubbed my toes, made a difference, and repeatedly enjoyed the reward of working with the team to secure our objectives.  Now its time to give back; add to other’s bottom lines.  Add value.


Stay tuned.