OUR BLOG: HONEST VIEW OF THE GOOD, BAD & UGLY
IN THE WORLD OF DELIVERING PROJECTS

Product Owner: the things they often don’t mention

Do you really have a Product Owner on your project? Having an effective Product Owner (PO) on software development projects is a hugely useful and important role, whether using Agile or other methods.  The way the PO is described, especially by many promoting some Agile methods, is ambitious.  In some circumstances, it may not even be close to possible. Pretending we have one when we don't (by the measures below) is not going to be successful. ...
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Why it’s a mistake to assume anyone can manage a project:

Why it’s a huge mistake to assume anyone can manage a project: Most people don’t plan to go into project management.  They find themselves in the role through one way or anther.  It’s also common that when people first attempt the role, they have little if any preparation or real support, with something that can be very challenging. For well over a decade, we have asked precisely the following question to groups of people involved ...
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Why many Agile projects still need project managers:

The good things in Agile: Firstly let me say, I am a huge fan of the good that Agile can bring, through some of the practices that it encourages (e.g. collaboration, transparency etc). Like all "new" ideas though, there are some whose interpretation goes beyond the bounds of what is good.  There are also some very experienced people in the Agile world, who are coming to believe that Agile projects also need project management. This post ...
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Time for a grown up debate: Methods and Scrum

Time for honesty I have been writing recently on the alarming trends around PM ‘methods’, including the latest edition of the Scrum Guide, which was updated in 2017. There are people and groups developing and publishing methods, guides and standards etc. and we have to hope they are being written for the good of delivering complex projects more successfully. A great ambition, but we need to be very honest and careful when we address such ...
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Why the current focus on methodologies is totally wrong:

There are large numbers of online discussions and posts promoting one project management or product development “method” over another.  As a career-long project management practitioner who has seen everything from excellent practice to appalling attempts at managing projects, I feel this is very wrong, damaging and totally the wrong debate. Where does all this 'methodology' discussion come from? Firstly let’s deal honestly with why we have reached this point. It is largely down to vested ...
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Issue with Certification Training

The huge issue with certification training: Is that it’s like mixing oil with water There has been an enormous growth in certification and related training courses (e.g. PMP) in recent years. Firstly, there is nothing inherently wrong with certification itself. However, there is a world of difference between certification 'training' and courses that teach real skills which deliver real improvements in personal and organsational competence.  They are not the same and pretending they are is at ...
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Managing home improvement projects – lessons learned

Managing a major home improvement project - lessons learned from real projects Many of us get involved at least once in a major home improvement project.   Some turn out fine but sadly too many go very badly wrong, sometimes disastrously. The majority that go wrong do so for common reasons. If you follow all of the following you will minimise the chance of major issues on your project and ensure that any issues you have ...
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Project Management Group

Project management group with a difference: An invitation to participate - starting in 2018: We operate exclusively in the area of project management and have some pretty firm beliefs about what is important in being a successful project manager and delivering projects well.  Something that all of us would probably agree can be a challenging task.  We believe passionately in the value of skilled project managers and disciplined project management at the organisational level. Our ...
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Methods, methodologies, frameworks and Bodies of Knowledge (BoKs)

Difference between Project Management frameworks, methodologies, methods and Bodies of Knowledge (BoKs): In many online project management forums, discussions often incorrectly classify Project Management artefacts.  For example, calling Agile a methodology when it is not a methodology at all. Agile is a set of values and principles – these alone do not make a methodology. Lifecycles: In general, a lifecycle is the major stages that something goes through as it evolves or grows.  Projects evolve ...
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Is the word ‘control’ a good or a bad thing in projects?

What is 'project control'? The word 'control' in the world of projects generates a lot of controversy, but we would say through a lack of appreciation of what it really means and in this post we will explain why. So let’s look at one extreme view: can it ever even exist? Some say that you can’t use the word control on projects as projects carry a great deal of uncertainty and it gives the impression of the opposite.  ...
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When Agile can’t be used on projects

Purpose of this Post There are some proposing that Agile could be used on virtually any kind of project.  Agile contains some great ideas and some of the practices of Agile can be used on almost any project.  However the heart of Agile, being incremental product development and flexibility are always going to be limited to certain projects and circumstances.  Let me use a real example to share why. State of the art Hospital Project A contractor has a design and build ...
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Agile Versus Waterfall?

The Pros and Cons of Agile and Waterfall Agile and Waterfall (1) are potentially two very different ways of delivering projects.  Firstly we will describe them both and then compare their respective advantages and disadvantages. Waterfall (V) Model: (click to enlarge) Waterfall (1) projects go through a number of sequential or overlapping phases.  This defines the life-cycle of the development effort of the project.  The principal difference with Agile is that in Waterfall, requirements are defined near the start ...
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