I worked with great project managers, all work was centered on them. They treated team members with dignity, they worked long hours, track risks, follow-up actions to conclusion, address organizational impediments, be the single point of contact for the project, take responsibility for project failures instead of pointing to team members,……
The reality is that project manager (PM) constructs a temporary organization within the parent organization, during the project duration, to provide the needed discipline to get things done. A fact is that without this temporary organization, business accomplishments cannot be realized. The whole gamut of project management is founded to address this time tested fact.
Organization’s success becomes dependent on this temporary ‘virtual’ organization, which its CEO is the PM. But this quasi CEO has no authority, while he needs to constantly deal with impediments in the parent organization that stands in the project way. In other words, there is invisible contract between the organization and the project manager, whereas the latter secures his job in return of fill-in for the leaders. This makes PM role one of the riskiest and vulnerable undertakings in any project.
Why we need to have a PM to tell the organization that it needs to change its practices? For every PM I dealt with, they believed that organizational impediments are the main project’s threats. They are less worry about technology issues, solution complexity, process aspects, training, deadlines and other familiar risks. In many cases such organizational impediments cannot be communicated but rather the PM keeps and cannot even document in the project status or impediments log. The worst quickly happens, when the PM’s reason of existence becomes dependent on existence of such impediments. Do you think a PM in this environment would have any interest to make such impediments visible?
Agile organizations have leadership at their foundation, which can further reduce the value-add of traditional PM. However, many of traditional PMs transcended to process consultants, enablers for team empowerment, professional facilitators, and other Lean/Agile roles.
Finally, strong PM and Agile are for me contradictory premises. The more an organization needs a PM, the higher the chance it is not ready or willing to change its long-time organizational impediments.
According to Brene Brown, Vulnerability is the birth place of Creativity, Innovation and Change. The rest of this blog is my own view on the implementation of Vulnerability in Agile teams.
Creativity is the ability of the team to create customer valued products.
Innovation is the ability of the team and product manager to come up with features which address the real pains of the customer and provide him gains which he hasn’t thought about. Read more…
I work with Agile cross-functional team who don’t meet Scrum prerequisites but still want to move toward Agile. I don’t have the authority or can sell the tenet to management to change their team set-up.
People in the team came from different departments and there is lack of understanding of queues and hand-offs. We are not waterfall, rather we are Lean concurrent parallel work in analysis, design, coding, testing and system test.
Following my previous post here, I will continue with the 3rd step for Lean implementation in IT/Software setup. Let me explain what the symptoms of poor communication are:
- Disconnect among management, people, project stakeholders and the customer.
- Not asking the right questions. Read more…
This is the second post for implementing Lean in Knowledge Work based on Harvard Business Review article here, you can read my previous post about visualising waste here. When trying to make knowledge explicit, we should appreciate the following:
- People are non-fungible. People differentiate themselves based on their character and ethics.
- Skills are levelled: We will continue to have people of varied degree of competency in certain skill.
- Having knowledge explicit will never replace people and their interactions. Read more…
Agile methods promote experimentation to discover the unknown and desired product. Please see my post here. Not all software or IT projects require experimentation as noted in the post. Harvard Business Review article here suggested that Lean philosophies are well applied to non experimental IT/Software projects. Such projects will benefit from Lean approach in a way that can not be obtained from applying Agile methods. Read more…
This post based on my reading of Henrik Kniberg’s book Lean from the Trenches. I am not going to write a detailed review on the book but rather I provide my own interpretations.
Maturity in using the tool
Either Scrum, Kanban or XP we should avoid getting obsessed by any one. Instead use them according to the situation. They can be helpful in providing guidelines but they can be tweaked wisely to the environment. Our approach for managing development or project should be composite rather biased to specific method or technique. Read more…
Five years ago I prepared report for a Lean transformation for a certain client department. The PCE was less than 1%! PCE is defined as the ratio between the time we actually spent working on a feature to the Lead Time. PCE is an average metric.
The purpose of this blog is to explore if there were only one metric to choose, should it be the PCE and why. Read more…
Process improvement has been doomed to be a waste function by many organizations. From my background, many who work in process improvement are treated as compliance workers instead of being contributors to the bottom-line. For me process improvement is the business. Every day we take decisions to get certain benefits. Read more…
This post is my own reflection after reading Harvard Business Review article of Nov. 2011 here. This article focuses on six perspectives or convoluted means which great organizations must have in-order to succeed in today’s globalized economy, which are:
1. Common purpose
2. Long-term focus
3. Emotional engagement
4. Partnering with the public
6. Self-organization Read more…