agile project management 101, agile project management definition, basics, and methods

agile project management is the processby which projects can be managed and implemented in small chunks of workagile projects deliver value to the business in frequent small deliveries ofproduct called features in the traditional waterfall methodology therequirements for the project would be documented upfront then the design ofthe whole solution would be completed followed by the development testing andfinally implementation of the product if this whole process takes a year tocomplete the business does not see any tangible value until the very end ofthat project with agile projects items are created by a small logical chunks ofwork called iterations or sprints agile is a great technique to use whenbusiness needs are frequently changing or when the business wants to receiveproduct benefits earlier with agile you can focus on what the business needs nowand if that changes the new business needs can be accommodated in the nextiteration agile is frequently used to manage IT projects but can also be usedto manage non IT projects examples of non IT projects that are suitable foragile our facility moves company reorganizations or changing businessprocesses within a department just about any project can utilize agile ifdeliverables can be produced and implemented in a short period of timeand can be expanded or added to with future capabilities just like buildingblocks coming together agile projects build capabilities one piece or a fewpieces at a time let’s talk next about the characteristics of successful agileprojects first Sprint’s or iterations are typically four to twelve weeks longface-to-face communication is emphasized over documentation we want to produce aproduct not product documentation business and technical team members areco-located or use very rich virtual tools to simulate being together inaddition to these a sponsor who is 100% committed to the agile process is vitaland lastly requirement changes are anticipatedand accommodated there are other items required for agile projects to work thatdo not differ from traditional projects these include having a vision for theend game following a universally understood project lifecycle yourrequirements must be understood you should use a shared and managed scheduleyou have a dedicated team that is focused on getting the job done andlastly communication with all stakeholders is criticalthere are several agile methodologies and processes in use today for thepurposes of this course we will describe and explain an agile methodology thatuses the following lifecycle stages envision defines the boundaries of theproject you then loop through the speculate explore and adapt stages andyou perform a closed phase once at the end now that you’ve heard about thecommon characteristics and benefits of an agile project let’s go deeper andexplore all of these in greater detail you and how projects are managed in fivestages called the agile lifecycle the stages are envisioned speculate exploreadapt and close let’s take a look at the highlights of each of these stagesduring the envision stage you and your customer will determine what it isyou’re trying to build you will also confirm who needs to be on your team anddetermine the team values and norms you’re going to use you go through theenvision stage of an agile project once at the end of the envision stage youshould have a documented project charter describing your scope and overallobjectives and your defined stakeholders for the project you should also haveyour team collaboration tools set up and working and you should have establishedteam norms examples of team norms are your working hours and how the team willwork together to solve issues you will then cycle through the next three stagesspeculate explore and adapt to complete each sprint a speculate stage is aplanning exercise yes agile really does have planning during the speculate stageyou will develop or revise the feature based delivery plan estimates for eachfeature and risks you need to manage a feature is a piece of functionality oroutcome that is valued by the client one or more features are completed as partof each sprint at the end of the speculate stage you should have a set ofrequirements for the sprint and a list of features to be developed based onthose requirements you will also create effort estimates for each feature andyour risks will be identified or updated for the features you are working onduring the explore stage you actually develop the product notice how quicklywe went from project initiation the envision stage to developing realresults activities during the explore stage include your daily stand-upmeetings and frequent and brutally honest peer reviews of the features asthey are developed the reviews come from daily or nearly daily interactionsbetween business and technical personnel and frequent and focused testing nowthat the features for this iteration have been developed it’s time to pauseand reflect this is the purpose of the adapt stage agreat benefit of agile is you get feedback frequently it’s easy toremember what worked and what did not fix things quickly and move forwardcommon activities during the adapt stage include a final review of the featuresby the customer and a documented meeting of team members to reflect on theirperformance from these lessons are captured and shared and future sprintplans are reviewed and adjusted the adapt stage can happen very quicklyoften being completed in just one day the project will now loop through thespeculate Explorer and adapt stages until all Sprint’s for the project arecompleted once all the iterations are complete our features are implementedthe closed stage can occur during this stage you ensure all of yourdeliverables are completed and a final set of lessons learned are captured forthe project now that you know what is supposed to happen during each agilestage during the next set of videos we will describe how to make it all happen you the envision phase is the first of fivephases in the agile lifecycle and provides the foundation for the projectat the end of the envision stage you should have a documented project Charterdescribing your scope and overall objectives and your defined stakeholdersfor the project you should also have your team collaboration tool set up andworking and you should have established team norms let’s go into the details foreach of these items the project charter should contain the scope of the projectthe scope creates the overall boundaries for the project included in the scopeshould be the product vision which is a summary statement about the finalproduct this includes the target customer key benefits and purpose of theproject such as cost savings or competitive advantage in addition theproject charter should identify the project sponsor and project managerresponsibilities authorize the project manager to perform theirresponsibilities and define the level authority given to the project managerteam collaboration tools are essential to ensure project communication is easyand understood by all team members these tools can track and report statusfacilitate joint feature development and push information out to team members thekey is having tools that are easy to use there are many collaboration tools onthe market the size of the project number of stakeholders and the amount ofcollaboration desired will determine how advanced you need to get with yourcollaboration tools my suggestion is to start with a small number of lowcomplexity tools and add other tools if and when they are required during theenvision phase all stakeholders will start working together on the overalldesign of the project at this time it’s important to establish the team normsfor how the team will work together including where they will physicallywork as agile projects involve close collaboration it is important the teamunderstands how it will operate that is the critical element of team normsexample team norms include actively listen to what others are saying attackthe problem not the person seek to understand first only focus on thissprint and feature if you see a problem say something andmake suggestions for resolution actively participate in the daily meetings beengaged south conflict with the other person when possible if not achievableboth parties must come forward for help from management email is a low touchcommunication vehicle and should not be used to solve problems don’t respond totext messages during meetings provide your full attention to the matter athand be respectful of one another have thebest interest of the project is your first priority share and respect theroles and responsibilities of each team memberagile teams are best if they have 15 or less people larger teams are possiblebut I recommend you split them into smaller sub teams to stay within the 15or less guideline larger teams introduce risk as the coordination between largernumbers of people and the features they produce is much more difficult most ofthe risk with agile projects comes from having too ambitious a schedule forfuture production or not having people on the team that can make decisionswithout waiting for management approval these situations should be avoided witha proper project Charter documented collaboration tools ready to use in theteam in place with minimal risk elements the project is now well-positioned tocommence the planning for the first iteration in the first speculate phasewe will discuss the details of that in the next video you the primary purpose of the speculatephase is for the business and technical teams to identify the features for thisiteration if this is not the first iteration you should also need to reviewpast features that have not been completed so in the speculate stage youand the business need to consider new features features from the backlog listthe list of features on your to do list and features not completed from theprior iteration which get added to the backlog list before we move forwardlet’s review the characteristics of a feature a feature is similar to arequirement but instead focuses on a specific business need a feature is asmall client valued function expressed in the form action result that allowsthe user to satisfy a business objective or need to show you what I mean here aresome examples of features calculate tax for supplies ordered display the nameand address of buyer on the invoice display the shipping name and address onthe invoice enroll a student in a course and track course completions the typicaland simple agile approach is to write each feature on an index card or a bigsticky note using a physical card that you can move from one category toanother and back again can make organizing and prioritizing very easyfor larger projects agile collaboration tools can simulate the index cardapproach once you have a complete set of features organize them logically intogroups you can then have the business review and prioritize features withadvice from the technical team during this process business stakeholderstypically ask questions about existing features and add some features as wellthis conversation about additional features is great and as part of theagile process as is prioritizing all of these good ideas if yours is like mostagile projects you will have discussions about features that have to beconsidered in a future project because you’ll run out of money time or bothonce the feature list has been reviewed prioritized and agreed by the businessand the sponsor you are ready to roll remember you get to review the featurelist at the beginning of each iteration so you’re only done for nownow that the features have been agreed you’ll need to estimate the work effortrequired to complete each feature if this is your first iteration you shoulddo the estimates for all features make sure you work with the team members andbusiness subject matter experts to obtain accurate estimates once this iscompleted you can now create your iteration milestone and release plan theiteration milestone and release plan will list all features to be completedwhen they will be completed and when the features will be implemented for thebusiness typically the speculate phase does nottake a long time for example if your iteration is eight weeks total youshould only be spending approximately five days or so in the speculate phasefor any agile project however the first iteration of the speculate phase willtake longer as you’ll need to identify and estimate the features for the wholeproject not just the first iteration the speculate phase is about carefulplanning for each iteration and reprioritizing new features along withthe backlog this considered planning helps you keep the next stage Explorersharp and focused you here it is the phrase most people getexcited about we now get to produce the productfortunately with agile it doesn’t take very long to go from the envision andspeculate phases to the explore phase this phase is all about collaborationbetween the business and technical team members the daily stand-up meetingsalthough runs throughout all agile project stages play their mostsubstantial role during the explore phase let’s examine what typicalstand-ups are like the meeting should be around 15 minutes long 30 minutes maxeach team member shares what they achieved yesterday what they plan toachieve today and they discuss anything they need help with to progress theirwork the stand up meeting is not the place to resolve issues if issues areidentified they should be noted addressed after the stand-up meeting andreported back to the group the next day that’s it nothing to document other thanitems you may want to put into an issues register for the purpose of buildinglessons learned so what does the project manager do in these meetings the projectmanager fulfills an observer role allowing the team to take the lead asproject manager you should watch for issues that are not being resolved andremove roadblocks for the team also you should ensure risks are decreasing overtime and after the stand-ups communicates status to key stakeholdersso they are informed of progress listen carefully during the stand-up meetingsyour job during the explore stage is to protect and enhance the productivity ofeach team member by letting them get on with the job of building and handle theorganizational distractions that may slow them downthe stand-up meetings help you understand how to do this by giving youa view to what the team is facing on a daily basis it also gives you the basisto maintain control of the project tracking progress against the planfeatures for this sprint is your control mechanism completed features are notedin the stand-ups as well as on a feature board in the team room so the team cansee the progress that has been achieved if features are behind schedule find outwhy make adjustments as quickly as possibleand take good notes so lessons learned can be applied similar to non agileprojects maintaining an issue register is necessary what is important is thatissues are being resolved in a timely fashion your issues register willprovide the mechanism to determine if open issues are growing in volume thiscould be an indication that something is wrong and changes should be consideredit is easy for teams to get so caught up in building the product that time getsaway from everyone timekeeping and sprint schedule trackingis essential and each explore phase when the plan features for the Sprint havebeen completed or when the time allocated for this explore phase hasbeen consumed it’s critical that you end the phase under one of these twoconditions if you plan to be in the explore phase for seven weeks and theplan features are not complete stop the phase according to your schedule andproceed to the adapt phase at that time capture and apply lessons learned ensureall team members understand the lessons learned and cetera just expectationswith your stakeholders that is the purpose of the adapt phase which followsexplore I will share more about the adapt phase in the next video you the adapt phase occurs at the end ofeach sprint immediately following the explore phase in each adapt phase youwill review with the team what has been delivered compared to what was plans forthis sprint discuss what is and is not working and agree to any changes thatwill be applied it’s also wise to review the prior adapt phase lessons learned tosee if trends are occurring the adapt phase is also the time to review theproduct with the customer and confirm if features or working as expecteddetermine if anything is changed in the business that reduces or changes theeffectiveness of the features you’ll also want to take the time to verifythat features are producing the intended business benefits it is critical for youto facilitate a lessons learned discussion in each adapt phase forfeedback to be openly shared all input is valuable and should be considered youcan then brainstorm ideas to resolve issues or eliminate potential roadblocksto your team’s success you will find a number of typical adjustments resultsfrom these adapt phase feedback sessions these adjustments include adding orremoving features adjusting the estimates for features or reprioritizethe features on the backlog list modifying the daily stand-up meetingsagenda to maximize effectiveness changing team members based on projectneed availability and teaming effectiveness updating the risk registermodifying or removing processes that are not effective and lastly addingprocesses but only if they’re essential to progress the project it’s importantto let all stakeholders know about the changes that will be applied to futuresprints along with why those changes are being made if the team has been workingespecially hard this is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the successesof the prior Sprint’s and acknowledge specific achievements some team membersmay need a mental break before they start the next sprint as project manageryou’ll need to ensure the team is ready for the next sprint and the morale ispositive and ready to go for longer projects I suggest occasionally givingteam members a holiday from a-hole sprint to allow them to complete otherwork activities or take vacation this allows them to return to theproject rejuvenated assuming this is not the end of the project when you completethe adapt phase you’ll proceed to the speculate phase for the next sprintremember if the original agreed costs or schedule have been consumed it’s nowtime to end the project and proceed to the closed phase if this happens to beyour last sprint the project is now ready to be closed the closed phase nowbegins the administrative activities in the closed phase include ensuringvendors have been invoiced and payments received reconciling any projectfinancials working with managers and team members to redeploy people to otherprojects or work activities communicating the overall projectresults to the project team and other key stakeholders now is the time to tootyour horn next ensure business benefits continue to be monitored and achieved itis important to transition this monitoring to the customer and last ifagile project management is new to your company provide a special recap on whythe agile process worked and what lessons you learned you should resistthe temptation to skip or shorten the closed phase activities project closureis important to ensure the project does not linger unnecessarily it also giveseveryone the chance to appreciate the significance of what has been achieved you one of the most important successfactors for agile is the selection of the right projects for you to applyagile methods good agile project candidates share these characteristicsfirst you need to deliver a quality product quickly but do not need todeliver it all at once next you expect the requirements tochange or evolve also your organization is willing to free up very capable teammembers that can independently make decisions about the product you’reproducing and you believe the product can deliver business value andincremental pieces let’s look at a few examples of agile and non agile projectsto put this in perspective let’s say you want to implement an executiveinformation system you have an agreed budget strong executive buy-in you haveseven executives each with very different needs they definitely wantsomething delivered sooner versus later and they want the project done by theend of the year this project has agile written all overit the requirements will undoubtedly changeand evolve as the executives start to see the possibilities you can easilybreak down the project into Sprint’s as you could categorize and implementfeatures by executive let’s look at another example you need to do abusiness process refresh replacing administrative processes with updatedones to meet greater customer demand this is something your company doesevery three to four years with a proven set of steps and processes to follow thebudget is agreed all the scope must be completed and you know what businessareas in the number of processes that must be updated this is not as good acandidate for agile it does not serve a purpose to perform sprints and ask ifthere are new features required at the end of each sprint the project’s beencompleted in the past using other methods which have worked and people areused to could this project be implemented in sprint like iterationsyou bet but just doing something in iterations does not make it agile thatproject lifecycle is sometimes called iterative and can be a smart way to runa project we also know all the processes must berefreshed so it’s not okay to timebox the project and only allow for some ofthe processes to be refreshed based on a pre agreed schedule which could happenwith an agile project best to use the more traditional approach which hasworked in the past not all projects have to be implemented as just an agile ornon agile project it is possible to implement a project as a hybrid of agileand non agile take an introduction of a new product line in an existing businessfor example I might use agile techniques to develop new marketing products andget done as much as possible by the desired product delivery date I woulduse a more traditional lifecycle for the reorganization of people into the newproduct department as each person must be evaluated have their jobresponsibilities changed as required and have their new job created I would applythe people changes first for a given area and then the business processchanges could be made by the newly reassigned staff using agile for theprocess changes as wise as it forces the company to carefully prioritize the workand implement the most important features business process changes firstputting people into new positions is best done in a more traditional projectapproach in summary agile can be applied to several different scenarios and beimplemented in different ways it all depends on the project and organizationyou’re working in and whether the characteristics of agile are the bestway to create change for your customer you in the envision stage you created theproject charter that describes the customers visions of the final productin overall boundaries for the project what follows next is the creation of theproduct datasheet or PDS this is a great planning document and provides anexecutive summary of the project a well-written PDS provides more detailedscoping for the project and can become an easy-to-use communication tool forthe project the PDS is typically created during the envision phase prior to thefirst sprint the short and concise one to three page PDS includes the projectdescription and high-level project scope usually taken straight from your projectCharter along with the project objectives the business value you’regoing to provide you also should detail your timeline with milestones the costestimates for people’s time and estimates for other items you might needlast includes the constraints which are sometimes called limitations and theprioritization between the project scope resources schedule and level of qualityneeded let’s take a look at the last two items constraint and prioritization asthey’re vital for defining your agile project a constraint is a restriction tothe freedom you have in creating the project solution constraints can beenvironmental safety economic technical or political and pertain to your projectschedule team members order the product being developed common constraintsinclude the project must be completed by such and such a date and certaintechnical standards must be followed like electric product safety codes otherconstraints include when the product can or cannot be implemented an example ofthis is avoiding peak times it would be risky to change cash register softwareat a retail store during the Christmas rush period constraints can also pertainto your team like certain people will be made available to the project only atcertain times you may also have to detail limitations such as usingexisting infrastructure and equipment and the budget will not exceed X dollarsbalancing the constraints of the project depends upon the prioritizationproject scope people and other resources schedule and quality let’s look at anexample to describe this if the schedule is the highest priority then agileallows us to apply flexibility to the scope and people you could reduce thenumber of features produced in a given sprint or increase the number of teammembers to ensure the sprints completed on time if product quality is the lowestpriority then you have greater flexibility as you can focus on theschedule and any product defects can be corrected in subsequent sprints theclient and the team will participate in the completion of the PDS the clientshould review the entire PDS for accuracy describe the business benefitsand confirm the resources they will provide agile projects are known forminimal but vital planning and that is a good thing the PDS is probably the mostdetailed planning document that exists in agile and it’s critical to thesuccess of the project if you resist the urge to dive into the first sprint andspend time early in the project to create the PDS and share it withstakeholders your project will likely run much more smoothly you most print durations are from four totwelve weeks this duration includes the speculate explore and adapt phasesdetermining the length of your Sprint’s and the number of features you’ll try tobuild during each Sprint is called the Sprint structure you will want to createa sprint structure that is appropriate for your specific project so let’sdiscuss some hints and tips to determine your sprint structure as a startingpoint plan one week for speculate and one week for adapt over time you willlearn what you can accomplish in those timeframes and adjust as necessary theexception to this is the speculate phase in the first sprint as planning will benecessary for the whole project not just the sprint to add a few more days todetermine the best sprint structure you will need the complete list of featuresto be developed along with size estimates then create a logical groupingfor the features so you can assess the size of the Sprint’s you want to usefeatures can be grouped based on the business’s prioritization of thefeatures the technicians you have available for a given sprint thebusiness resources you will have available for a given Sprint or groupsimply by business area because sometimes it’s easier to build featuresfor a specific business area in a given sprint the size estimates for thefeatures need not be detailed you can use large medium and small with theexpected number of hours for each category for example a large feature isassigned 80 hours medium 40 hours and small 20 hours as estimates are refinedduring each speculate phase you can adjust as needed based on the number ofpeople you have on your team and the size of the features you want to buildin each sprint you could determine the best size of your Sprint’s pick a sizeand stick with it keeping each sprint the same length this helps your teamschedule themselves in a rhythm which has proven to be more productive over anumber of agile projects here’s an example let’s say your project is sixmonths long and you consume one month for the envision phase you now have fivemonths left for the remainder of the projectbased on the size and grouping of features you decide on three Sprint’s ofseven weeks each of the seven weeks for each sprint you have five weeks toperform the work the explore phase based on the estimates and the availableresources you’ll now be able to confirm the features you can complete in a givensprint if that does not align with the features you want to build in a sprintyou can adjust your sprint length in the number of Sprint’s accordinglyI suggest building the highest priority features in the first sprint assumingyou have the right technical and business resources available to work onthem one final hint many teams work best with short and focused Sprint’s testthis out to see if it works for your team try things out during the firstsprint and adjust accordingly you can increase or decrease the featuresplanned in a given sprint to make things work better just keep in mind theoverall duration of the Sprint’s and the project should remain the same you as with traditional projects this shouldbe assigned and assessed against specific tasks in your plan or specificfeatures in the agile environment in agile projects the other way to managerisk is through the features you assign to each sprint if you have a team thatis new to agile you can lower the project risks by making the first coupleof Sprint’s easier for example let’s say you have 50 features planned for thefirst six Sprint’s and you’ll have a product ready for implementation at theend of the third sprint in that situation you want to make the firstsprint lower risk by working on easier less complex features assuming the firstsprint went really well you can work on more difficult features in the secondsprint if your team requires more practice at working in an agileenvironment and keep the features more simple in this example any features thatrequire a lot of cross Department communications advanced technicalcapabilities or are extremely intricate to produce should be moved to asubsequent sprint allocating features to Sprint’s in this way reduces the overallrisk to the project by providing an opportunity for the team to get used toagile techniques to work on being a collaborative team and to build theirconfidence now let’s say you have the same scenario 50 features to completeover six Sprint’s but this time you have team members that have agile experienceand they’ve worked together in the past in this scenario the best risk approachis to handle the most difficult features in the first sprint you might as wellcomplete the more difficult features first to ensure you know what you’re upagainst for the project as a whole you can also learn from any difficulties youhave which should help you avoid surprises in later sprints so your riskmanagement approach needs to vary based on the agile experience the team or yourcompany has to apply to your project another risk management approach is toadjust the number of features you intend to produce in each sprint it usuallytakes two to three sprints for an agile team gets into a good rhythm and becomesfully productive this is true even for teams with experienced agile teammembers each team needs time to learn to best work together based on this youshould reduce the quantity features to be completed for the initialSprint’s until the team is 100% productive and lastly you should alwaysfocus on risks specific to the business if the business is not used to agiletechniques in receiving a product and many implementations this is somethingthe business will need to get used to when creating the release plan andtrying to mitigate risk you’ll need to work with the business to determine thebest sequence for implementing a given set of features business impact is acritical thing for you to consider this may change the priority the feature listsometimes the set of features that are the highest priority for the businessmight also introduce the greatest amount of change and risk to the business itmight be wise to move those features two subsequent sprints to allow the businesstime to get used to implementing basic and simple features first you can thenlook to create and implement features that impact several departments or moreradically change how the business operates you agile projects expect and are designedto accommodate change being able to identify and document requirementsthroughout an agile project based on current business need is a keyingredient to any agile project during a speculate phase we discussed the use ofindex cards to document features now we’ll discuss approaches and techniquesto document the features and requirements a great technique is tohave a business analyst work ahead of the agile development team by one or twosprints as a sprint is being worked by the core team the business analystshould be looking ahead to ensure the set of features for the next sprint havebeen clearly defined with the business in addition if business needs havechanged the business analyst can work to define new features that are desired oridentify existing features in the backlog that are no longer necessarythere are several techniques to identify requirements a common technique is toutilize use cases use cases capture a diagram or picture to show therelationship between an actor and the system or the process to achieve aspecific goal an actor might be a person a company or organization a department acomputer program or a computer system any entity that can make a decision usecases can be used to document requirements for IT and non IT projectshere is an example of a high-level use case the key components of a use caseare the actor performing the event such as you going to an ATM the system orprocess which the actor interacts with like the ATM the overall box whichrepresents the boundaries for the requirement anything outside of the boxis out of scope the inside of the box indicates the types of things the actorcan do with the system such as making a deposit purchasing stamps checking yourbalance and withdrawing money the outside of the box shows the variousactors that can interact the system such as an ATM maintenanceperson management who received reporting information in even a thief’s use casetext can also be used to describe the scenario in detail the use case processhelps stakeholders imagine all the ways in which a requirement will addresstheir business needs via features another requirements capture element isthe performance requirement card these are similar to a feature card but theydescribe a requirement that is applicable to multiple features forexample your accounting department may have a performance requirement for theamount of time allowed to process an incoming invoice for a help desk therequirement could be each call will be answered within X minutes shown here isa sample performance card each requirement will need to have a uniqueidentification name or title along with a short description the difficultyfactor assists the business in prioritizing the requirement compared toother requirements and features and lastly the acceptance test section ofthe performance card describes how to verify the requirement has been achievedonce the product is developed documenting requirements is essentialfor any project with your agile project requirements will continually evolvehaving a business analyst work ahead of the core team will help you be ready foreach sprint with just-in-time relevant features and requirement information you the daily stand-up meetings are theheartbeat of an agile project this meeting is crucial to the success of theproject as critical information should be shared to enable roadblocks to beremoved the stand-up meeting should be about 15 minutes long sharp and to thepoint having the attendees remain standinghelps keep the meeting short upbeat and active all business and technicalspecialist team members should attend along with the project manager sometimescalled a scrum master ideally the project manager does not lead themeeting instead team members will each provide their update have your teampresent their status in a different sequence each day having them rotate whogoes first adds energy to your meetings assign someone on the team to betimekeeper to keep the group focused this may only be necessary until thegroup is conditioned to the daily meeting format 30 to 60 seconds perperson should be sufficient the timekeeper should be rotated foreach sprint probably the hardest habit to break is not to resolve issues duringthe meeting handle issues after the meeting ensuring only the necessary teammembers are part of the discussion hold the meeting at the same time each dayconsistency is very important here are some things for you to observe duringthe daily meetings is the team collaborating or is there tension in theair our risk surfacing that could impact future sprints is there a common issueor problem that you can help resolve after the meeting of course is the listof issues growing if agile is a new concept to the team are some teammembers struggling with the agile process as you can see there’s a lot ofvaluable information you can obtain from your stand-up meetings if you’re payingattention be alert and take action as neededI suggest you in the meaning on a positive note havethe teams share any wins they’ve experienced since the last meeting forinstance did the business really liked what they saw during the product reviewdid a technical team member work through a challenging problem they’re reallyproud of having team members share wins shows the team that progress is beingmade and keeps positive momentum going if you have a small co-located team andthey’re collaborating extensively throughout each day you may find thedaily meetings less valuable as everyone’s already aware of what’s beingshared in this situation you could have the meeting less often maybe two orthree times a week to ensure progress is being made and to check the pulse of theteam on a weekly basis you may want to invite additional project stakeholdersto the meeting for instance business managerstechnology managers and users of the product that are not part of the coreteam could benefit from hearing how the project is going and what people areworking on the more engaged people are the better I suggest you to allow fiveminutes a question time at the end of the meeting for the additional attendeesit’s amazing how important and valuable a 15-minute meeting can be concentrateon making your stand-up meeting focused and valuable you many people who don’t understand agilebelieve agile projects do not have control mechanisms that’s actually farfrom the truth there are agile specific techniques thathelp you manage and monitor your agile projects scope is managed by the backloglist scope is controlled by completing features to reduce the backlog list andadding new features as they are identified the business in conjunctionwith the technical team consistently reprioritize –is to determine whichfeatures will be implemented during the next sprint these changes to the backloglist are common however you should remember the scope of the current sprintshould always be locked down once the list of features has been agreed forthat sprint it should not change velocity is the term used to describehow many functions the team is completing in the average sprint thiscan be calculated by examining previous sprints assuming the team resources andsprint duration are kept the same by understanding your normal velocity youcan determine if your current sprint is tracking to that velocity rate if you’renot tracking is expected you’ll need to start digging to determine why thevelocity rate is decreasing if the velocity rate needs to be adjusteddownward for future Sprint’s you’ll need to replan and reduce the number offeatures to be completed in a given sprint the benefit of velocity is thatit provides controls that allow you to understand what your production rate isand you can adjust your release plan or team resources accordingly you the Explorer phase of the agile projectlife-cycle is different from non agile build lifecycle phases your role as aproject manager is to observe and guide versus lead you actually take a backseatto the process and you lead via coaching this can be one of the more difficultadjustments for traditional project managers to make you have to let go of abit of control this is very different and difficult for some project managersrather than seek control your role is to clear roadblocks for the team you coulddo this by carefully listening during the daily stand-up meetings to identifyissues you then take action after the meeting to follow up with people to movethings along this allows the team to remain focused and productive onbuilding the product teams always need resources and I’m not necessarilyreferring to other people teams need information and tools to perform theirwork including access to specialists and other things like training as theproject manager you need to ensure the needs of each individual team member arebeing met so they can be productive one area where the team should always takethe lead is to prioritize the features and estimate tasks as project managerit’s your job to ensure these activities are happening and to assist team membersonly when they’re struggling with this activity one of the most important waysto let the team lead itself is to support their decisions even if youdisagree with a decision that has been made sometimes it is best to allow thedecision to take its course and learn from the outcomes that result we eachlearn a lot from our mistakes so allowing a few mistakes to happen causesgreat growth opportunities with that being said if you believe a decisionwill have a significant impact on the project it is best you discuss yourconcern with the team and alter their decision sometimes you have to supportsenior stakeholders in addition to the team if agile is new to the environmentyou may need to spend a additional time with management toensure they are adapting to agile processes common problems to look forare is the customer not working with the development team on a daily basis foreffective collaboration has the customer been too busy to spend time with thecore team our managers confused about the iterative approach and concern theirfeatures won’t be addressed spending some extra time with management can beespecially helpful during the first few sprints and can calm concerns concernscan also arise from the intensity of the agile approach productive agile teamsaddress this by adopting a rhythm or cadence if a sprint is six weeks longthe work can be very intense from weeks two to five as the product features arebeing developed the project manager should watch for stressors to ensureeach team member is managing their workload effectively as project managerand sure there are weeks that are less intense so the team can relax a bit andget ready for the next sprint as you can see the project manager is not thetaskmaster during the Explorer phase instead they do everything possible tomaximize the effectiveness of each team member so the team can be engaged andproductive in a self-directed work team manner you during the build stage effectivecollaboration is essential for the sprint to be successful as projectmanager you can do a lot to support the team during this phase and ensurecollaboration is working as desired the plan do check adjust or PDCA cycle is agreat technique to foster collaborative behavioranytime work is being produced team members should briefly plan the workwith one another typically in pairs complete the work getit done have the work verified by the other person checked and if the resultis not as expected take action to change it immediately if PDCA is practiced aseach feature is being developed there will be frequent collaboration betweenthe product developer and the customer and that is exactly what you strive forby design agile teams are intended to be co-located however the reality is that’snot always feasible if you’re in the situation where core team members arenot co-located you will need to provide additional tools and techniques toensure collaboration is happening in the envision phase video we discussedtools make sure you provide tools that enable easy access to information forall core team members I’ve even set up a webcam in the team room which is fed tothe other locations so the remote team members can always see what is going onthis helps them feel part of the team as if they were there teams are moreeffective if they are co-located but good visual tools can assist with thelack of colocation make sure the team meets face to face at least once to meetone another ideally the beginning of the project as planning is commencinganother great approach is to work the first sprint together so the team reallygets to know one another core team members will make many decisions duringthe explore phase as project manager you’ll need to ensure team norms havebeen established and agreed regarding how decisions will be made it’s best toestablish a framework or an approach for non-unanimous decision-making here aresome hints and tips people need to be encouraged to share ideas and becomfortable speaking up each person has a responsibility to speak up and sharetheir thoughts team members need to listen carefully to the ideas beingshared as this could spawn other great ideas and potential solutions a decisioncan be made if a majority agrees this stops the group from going round andround endlessly the rationale behind any decision needsto be explained and understood by the team who disagree with the decision need tosupport the majority based decision nobody has the authority to veto adecision unanimous decisions though ideal can take longer to achieve takingthat additional time might not be well-suited to the fast pace of agileprojects you could agree that striving for unanimous decisions would be allowedbut limit the debate time to ensure decisions are reached in a timely mannerwith this framework in place the rules are known and the group can make gooddecisions based on the information available as you can see constructivecollaboration doesn’t happen by accident it requires using PDCA for dailyinteractions effective visual communication tools and agreed teamnorms on how decisions will be made all projects have to manage and dealwith issues the key is having the skills to handle the problems as they surfaceas project manager you’ll need to educate the team on what to do an issuessurface keep in mind that issue management is more about relationshipsand how we interact with one another as opposed to how we tactically deal withissues it’s about building trust with one another so that when issues dosurface you’re comfortable having a direct and honest conversation about theproblem establishing techniques to have healthy conflict is very important asissues can then be resolved quickly using valid information here are somegood techniques to use for yourself and the team remind your team members toattack the problem not the person require team members to address conflictwith each other directly in a professional and respectful mannereveryone should bring facts to the table not rumors or hearsayif your team members cannot come to an agreementask them to present their scenario with well-thought-out pros and cons teammembers and conflict must then present their information to you togetherexplaining their counterparts point of view this guideline is very effective asmany team members come to resolution on their own as they’re putting thispresentation together you should only make decisions when yourteam has not been able to do so when you do make a decision make your decisionclear and provide the rationale behind your decision ask for their supportbased on the decision made I like to post the top three project issuessomewhere in the team room to ensure the team is aware of the key project issuesand to keep them focused on the importance of resolving the problemscollocation is a key element of agile projects however you also need to ensurethe team has the ability to complete some of their tasks in a quieter areaissues can surface if the team is co-located in one open space area whereeverybody hears everything all the time it could be hard to concentrate whenlots of activities happening in the room provide cubicles which can be usedat times to complete intense work activities are allowed team members towear headphones in the team room when they need uninterrupted time when peoplehave a good work environment they will be more productive and better able toaddress issues when they surface as they’ll be in a much better frame ofmind while your team is working on their features it is important for you to takea step back and keep an eye on the overall progress and direction of theteam it’s your job to look at things strategically and ensure bigger issuesare being addressed and both new and existing risks are evaluated andconsidered if you have the space post the top three risks in the team room aswell keeping the team informed helps remind them that they have the abilityto help reduce risks as well issue and risk management is about relationshipsand how we interact with one another establishing clear guidelines on how toresolve conflict provides the team with the tools they need to resolve issueskeep focused on risks and obtain good project outcomes you we know agile is all about the businessand adapting to their current needs as we cycle through each sprint howeverthere are things to consider when adapting to business changes let’sassume you have a hundred features and they have been prioritized by thebusiness and you’re planning to implement them over five Sprint’s from atechnical perspective it might make sense to group the features differentlybetween the sprints for instance while features are being developed forreporting of billing information it might be easier and more efficient ifyou completed all reporting related features in a given sprint however ifthe business has D prioritized are the reporting features then the businessprioritization needs to be honored it does mean you need to ensure you haveadvised the business about the impacts of their feature prioritization you willhave to Resta mate the future reporting features knowing the efficiencies havebeen lost from a technical or resourcing perspective for example if all thereporting features were completed in the same sprint the work effort might take100 hours but with the reporting features spread across several Sprint’sthe work effort could be 115 hours or 15% greater this is due to the amount oftime it will take the resource to get their head around a given topiceach time they commence work on a feature here’s another scenario toconsider let’s say you are remodeling carpeting and painting the inside of alarge house and let’s think of each room as a sprint the client has prioritizedthe sequence in which the rooms are to be completed along with the overallfeatures for the house air conditioning has been prioritized last as they don’tknow if they’ll have the budget for this feature and they live in an area whereit’s not warm very often however each room is impacted by air conditioning asthere are vents to be installed in each room in this case it makes logical senseto do the air conditioning first as project manager you need to inform theclient regarding the impact usually in terms of costs or resources if it willcost 50% more to do the air conditioning last they may decide to do it earlierbut it’s up to the client you know situations it may be mandatory toimplement a given feature first as it is a prerequisite to other features let’sgo back to the billing reporting feature discussed earlier a prerequisite featurewould be the process for inputting billing related information if theinformation is not available in the system then there would be nothing toreport and lastly business priority changes maycause a rebuild of features due to the grouping of features some of the olderfeatures will need to be redesigned and changed to accommodate the newerfeatures that are being built and implemented this is normal and agile itjust needs to be planned for when the release plan is created at the beginningof the first sprint the subject matter experts will need to review the sequenceof the proposed features to determine design and rebuild impacts to enableaccurate estimates to be applied to the latter Sprint’s with proper planning andforesight you can maintain the key agile principle of the business controllingthe priority of the features with a project team advising and adapting tothe changes with each sprint you as you’re closing the project you startthis phase with an overall focus to understand and document lessons learnedfor the whole project in agile terms this is called a retrospective you maywant to invite additional stakeholders to the retrospective given you are nowlooking at the project holistically once the project retrospective is completedyou can now commence the final closeout for the project you’ve reached thispoint in the project based on one of the following conditions all the desiredfeatures have been implemented good for you or you’ve run out of time based onthe original agreed schedule or you’ve run out of funds based on the originalbudget if you have exhausted your time or funds you’ll have a few extra thingsto consider when closing down the project you need to review the backloglist and work with the business to determine the importance of theremaining features in addition you’ll need to find out if there are newfeatures the business would like to have implemented if the set of backloggedfeatures are important and there are additional new features to be consideredit’s possible a new project is warranted if the funds can be acquiredif the backlog contains lower priority features it is likely a new project willnot be initiated in this situation the backlog needs to be transitioned tosomeone who can implement those changes if desiredgradually verses via a project another approach the business may want to takeis let’s wait and see if the backlog is important but they don’t have a lot ofnew features at this time the business may want to wait several months todetermine if new features surface and a new project is warranted regardless it’svery important for the backlog list to be given back to the business so theycan maintain the list until future decisions are made in the adapt andclosed phase video we discussed the administrative items that are requiredto close out the project now we’re going to focus on the human side of projectcloseout a team event is critical even if the project was not as successful assomeone hoped end of project team events provide closure for the core teammembers and signify the project is over it’s a great opportunity to remindeveryone why the project was initiated and to recognize what has been achievedif agile is new to the organization it’s critical to discuss the benefits ofagile what worked for the team and some of the sticking points that will need tobe worked out for future agile projects people will need to be redeployed toother projects or return to their business as usual operational positionsas project manager it’s important for you to work with your core team membersand their managers to ensure each team member understands when you no longerneed them for the project activities and what their next assignment will be keepin mind it could be an emotional time for team members as they transition fromyour project to other activities so they may be more distracted than normalproject closeout can be easier for agile projects given the retrospectives havebeen happening after each of the sprints you can focus on the overalleffectiveness of the project versus all the details that occurred since thebeginning of the project and can reflect on the improvements you have made asindividuals and for the business you.

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