As a new Army Ranger, Payson acquired many hard-earned lessons. But dodging snakes and alligators while navigating a Georgia swamp one moonless night, he learned two lessons in particular that can help project managers navigate their software projects.
Michele Sliger uses a simple exercise to exemplify the changes self-organized teams cause in any company, especially with the project manager. In this column, Michele explains how to conduct this exercise and how to review and use the results to improve work relationships and communication. Above all, this exercise should help your whole organization understand how everyone's knowledge of a project's initiatives and goals affects the project's success.
The amount of effort put into a project's initiation lays the groundwork for all the work that follows. Learn six activities every project manager perform at initiation to ensure the project starts (and finishes) strong.
Retrospectives are a great way for teams to inspect and adapt their methods and teamwork, and they're a great way for teams to build on success and learn from hard times. Retrospectives take a critical look at what happened during an iteration (or part of a project) without being critical of people. But not everyone realizes that, says Esther Derby, so in this column she outlines how to approach retrospectives in the most productive way.
Agile agents of change, listen up. Do you remember the Agile Manifesto? How about the part about valuing people over process? J.B. Rainsberger fears that as Extreme Programming becomes more widespread, teachers, consultants, and mentors are losing sight of one of agile’s most important components—teamwork.
Activity theory explores what is happening inside a person while he is acting. Find out how you can use it to make better decisions about what to build, create a motivation map, and ask what your stakeholders are thinking about besides using your system.
Many teams work on several projects simultaneously, which is a mistake. By working on one project at a time and releasing early and often, you can achieve startling improvements in value for your stakeholders.
Trust is invisible, but the symptoms of its absence are not. That is the theme of this column, in which Clarke Ching recounts the difficulty one of his clients went through to rebuild trust with a customer. The customer had long ago lost faith in the quality of the products provided by this client since every piece of software delivered seemed buggy. But both were determined to make the relationship work. That's when Clarke Ching stepped in and took an agile approach to relationship therapy.
Jeff Patton will admit that he's easily sidetracked. In a meeting or simply working on a problem with a small group, a cool idea or puzzling problem can send Jeff sideways. His head spins off track, and his mouth goes with it. He's not alone in this behavior; Jeff suspects everyone reading this column has been confined in a meeting called to resolve an important problem while someone—and it may have been you—burned up critical time to take the meeting off on a tangent. While not a completely curable condition, there are a few useful techniques Jeff explains in his column that will help keep a collaborating group on track.