Archive for January, 2010

Professionalisierung des Projektmanagements

This post refers to an Austrian post (in German), so it is in German.
Heute ausnahmsweise mal ein Beitrag in deutsch.

Stefan Hagen hat einen interessanten Beitrag zum Thema ‘Projektmanagement unternehmensweit professionalisieren’ veröffentlicht. In diesem Zusammenhang hat er auch ein kleines Crowdsourcing Experiment gestartet, mit einer Mindmap bei Mindmeister. Für am Thema interessierte lohnt es sich sicher, mal vorbei zu schauen.

Da hatte ich nun endlich auch mal Gelegenheit, Mindmeister zu testen. Hat 1A funktioniert, einen Account hatte ich ja schon über XING. Kurzzeitig war auch ein zweiter Nutzer online und hat mit editiert, was super geklappt hat.

Ich werde da in den nächsten Tagen immer mal vorbei schauen um zu sehen wie das Mindmap sich entwickelt. Die Deutschen haben im Internet ja eher den Ruf von Lesern und nicht so sehr aktiv beizutragen, mal sehen was dran ist ;)

January 26, 2010 at 22:05 Leave a comment

The Myth of Managing Change, part II

Back in November of good old 2009, I started with part I of ‘The Myth of Managing Change’. I concluded the first post with the issues often caused by the ‘classic’ change approach. Binney and Williams call this model ‘Organizations as machines’ – Leading. The ‘machine’ model is based on the common view that change can be planned and needs to be done TO organizations, and that ‘they need to change’, being led from a hero leader who knows the way.

The authors then present an alternative model: ‘Organizations as living systems’ – Learning. Here, the notion is that the potential for necessary change is naturally within organizations, and ‘just’ needs to be released. Learning should be encouraged. Care must be taken for keeping a healthy balance between change and stability.

The paper closes with a suggested ‘Leaning into the future’ model which combines Leading and Learning, both contrasting models discussed earlier. The authors conclude that in order for change to be successful, it needs to be driven both top-down and bottom-up. Leaders of change must combine assertive leadership with facilitating and listening skills, being responsive to others. There’s a lot more to it, see the paper or book:

Binney and Williams published their book ‘Leaning into the future’ back in the 90s (you can get a pretty cheap used copy online), and there is an interesting review online.

January 24, 2010 at 21:47 Leave a comment

Agile – giving the business options back

When they hear ‘agile software development’, a lot of people think that this is somewhat of a geeky thing. While there might be admittedly also a lot more fun and fulfillment in agile projects for software developers, there are BIG benefits for the business as well. In this blog post, I’ll have a look at agile projects from the business’ / sponsor’ point of view.

I believe the key to many advantages for the business is the following: The solution is being implemented in executable increments – you get a slice more of your solution with every sprint. You can review and give feedback all the way through. This implies a lot more transparency – rather than pouring money into a black box and waiting for months until you get a glimpse of the final result, you get it from early on, piece by piece. Plus, the most critical, highest priority requirements are implemented first.

Sounds nice? It gets better when you think it through: It gives you options back!

A few examples: You could go to market earlier, when you think you have generated enough value to offer to your customers. Or, you could stop the project, if you discover risks EARLY in the project that would make it too expensive / late / whatever.

It also facilitates informed cross-project prioritization and trade-offs: Imagine you’re a few months into a project, and another high-priority project comes up. In a waterfall environment, you might just be mid way through the implementation phase – a lot of design and implementation efforts have been invested, but no result is there yet. It may be prudent but very painful to stop the project at this point.
Now imagine you had run the project using Scrum or another agile framework: At this point, you would probably have some of the highest priority requirements implemented already. So even if you decided to stop the project (i.e., not implement remaining, lower-priority user stories), you would still have generated business value!

And b.t.w. – Net Present Value (NPV), a common method for financial project/investment appraisal is a great fit with agile approaches! But that’s the topic for my next blog post…

January 11, 2010 at 11:23 5 comments


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