Project Management 101

April 2018

Projects have limited resources (people, money and time) and major risks (due to uncertainty) and you need an approach to deal with all of it. Projects approach are never purely Waterfall or Agile or some other methodology — but normally a mix to suit the organisation. That is OK — as long as you know the background and limitations of method used. Example:

- Traditional waterfall => Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) (11), PMBOK or PRINCE2
- Agile, example Scrum => Ability to adjust project quickly based on changing environment
- Lean-agile, water-scrum-fall or some other hybrid => The reality (7),(10)

Shortlist of absolute minimum knowledge required by a Project/Team Lead (which can be acquired in a weekend):
- Know basics of Lean enterprise practices (1),(9)
- Be aware of key points of agile frameworks such as Scrum (4)
- Be aware of key components of popular project management methods such as PRINCE2 (5) and PMBOK (6)
- Understand why you are not following recommended practices from Scrum, PRINCE2 and/or PMBOK

Like a story — every project has a Beginning, Middle and End.
The basic project stages and some of the key deliverables (loosely based on PMBOK and PRINCE2) are:

1. Pre-project (Feasibility)
- Project mandate (could even be a 1 pager or just an email)
- Agreement on people required to initiate a project
- Define product description/scope (see “Working Backwards” (3))

2. Project Initiation (Planning)
- Define key decision makers (project board, steering group)
- Assign project team
- Approve budget / Business case (even if at very high level)
- Project Roadmap / Plan (keep high level and identify uncertainties and how to cope with it)
- Clarify work practices, project communication, governance, tools to use

3. Delivery: Design and Build (Execution)
- Track work packages, Daily Scrum
- Stage/Sprint - planning, review, product demos
- Unit testing and User Acceptance testing (UAT)

4. Final delivery (Closing)
- Post go-live support (PGLS) or Hyper-care
- Handover to support organisation
- Continuous improvement


What rarely works
- Excessive planning (if major uncertainties exists)
- Start the project without key resources
- More than one person responsible for same task
- Microsoft Project

What mostly works
- Most projects consist of multiple sub-projects or streams — identify them early on
- Have business/product owner — or more than one if multiple products in the project
- Daily standup/scrum with relevant product owner and delivery team
- Have an up-to-date single list of tasks / issues / product backlog
- Everyone must be aware at all times of high-level project roadmap/plan and their key deliverables
- Every project stage/sprint must not be longer than 4 weeks
- Have regular product demos (e.g. end of every stage/sprint)
- If in doubt, reduce scope (8)



REFERENCES

(1)
Lean Enterprise: How High-Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale
Jez Humble, ‎Joanne Molesky, Barry O'Reilly
This book is a must read! A 110p excerpt is available from publisher website.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1449368425/ [amazon.com]

(2)
Main stages of a project (Prince2)
http://prince2.wiki/Processes [prince2.wiki]

(3)
Working Backwards
Werner Vogels - 2006
https://www.allthingsdistributed.com/2006/11/working_backwards.html [allthingsdistributed.com]

(4)
The Scrum Guide
Available for download on site below. About 19 pages — no excuse not to read this!
https://www.scrumguides.org/ [scrumguides.org]

(5)
PRINCE2
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRINCE2 [en.wikipedia.org]

(6)
PMBOK / PMP
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Management_Body_of_Knowledge [en.wikipedia.org]

(7)
Challenges in the Transition from Waterfall to Scrum
http://referaat.cs.utwente.nl/conference/20/paper/7427/challenges-in-the-transition-from-waterfall-to-scrum-a-casestudy-at-portbase.pdf [referaat.cs.utwente.nl]

(8)
Project management triangle
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_management_triangle [en.wikipedia.org]

(9)
Lean enterprise
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_enterprise [en.wikipedia.org]

(10)
Water-Scrum-Fall Is The Reality Of Agile For Most Organizations Today
Forrester - 2011
http://www.storycology.com/uploads/1/1/4/9/11495720/water-scrum-fall.pdf [storycology.com]

(11)
Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_development_life_cycle [en.wikipedia.org]




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