Unconventional tools and tecniques for project managers


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Presentation at Better Software 2010, Firenze. Web Project management shall not be bored by classic pm tools and techniques.

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  • All’alba mi immagino ci siano solo PM devoti...
  • the CONTEXT of the talk.

  • ovvero come diciamo spesso: “let’s start from a good plan” :-)
  • E l’AGILE ci aiuta in molti di questi. FARE ESEMPI / METAFORE

  • Vincoli: corporate standards, sharing/understanding, language, simplicity, ...

  • identify risks and problems > plan
  • microblogging tool, una lavagna, excel stesso :-O (simile alle metriche ma su altri criteri, legati anche ad aspetti NON di sviluppo!)

  • task fragmentation and task-tracker driven development are deadly...

  • Feature

  • From XP. Intramontabile :)

  • inserire la foto “truccata” della bacheca con: Very low effort e immagine evocativa. Ma anche sample content, etc. può essere utile allo scopo
  • Per esempio sono curioso di sapere come “twitter” è già stato usato per PM (internal microblogging).
  • Sponsor, Marketing, Sales, User, Content manager, editors, ... <approfondire>
    motivation and consensus!!!!!
  • Visto da Roberto in riunioni difficili
  • Tecniche di facilitazione uberrime. Ad un livello inferiore metafore e capacità di creare rappresentazioni visuali. Per dare concretezza ad una materia estremamente intangibile!

  • Per esempio sono curioso di sapere come “twitter” è già stato usato per PM (internal microblogging).

  • Unconventional tools and tecniques for project managers

    1. 1. Unconventional tools and tecniques for project managers Francesco Ciriaci - Better Software 2010 - Firenze
    2. 2. A little about me • Managing Director and co-founder of Reflab • Core contributor to Plone CMS development • Designs web solutions and tools for international organizations • Working for Medecins Sans Frontieres, World Food Programme, UNDESA, ... • Working on MioMood (a crazy web startup) twitter: @fciriaci
    3. 3. About this talk • Continues “The fun of a Program Manager” talk (Better Software 2009) • Requires only some agile development knowledge • Aimed to project managers, mainly
    4. 4. Web projects • Short timeframes • High number of involved people (wide team) • Usually (too) many stakeholders • Complex
    5. 5. “The successful completion of specific project goals and objectives” Constraints (classic): • Scope • Time • Budget Planning, organizing, managing resources
    6. 6. and we have tools for: • planning • resource allocation • time-tracking • tasks and todos • communication (some)
    7. 7. One tool to rule them all... and in the darkness bind them.
    8. 8. Management and reality “We lose touch with reality as we estimate, negotiate, track progress, ...” The tools we are given to help our management can bind us and blind us.
    9. 9. But don’t get me wrong... • those are foundamental tools to have • I use quite a lot of them • some are particularly good to support agile
    10. 10. Project management is also: • identifing problems • solving problem (creating the conditions) • communication • motivate and get consensus In other words: “ good plan is only the a beginning of • manage expectations management” • ...
    11. 11. Projects #FAIL • Unrealistic estimates, schedules, staffing • Unmanaged change Agile development / agile design help to adress • Unclear scope and requirements many of those. • Unmanaged risks • Lack of executive commitment/involvement • Poor communication
    12. 12. Agile Manifesto #1: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools So why are we talking about tools and techniques here?
    13. 13. Agile principle #1 does not mean tools and techniques are not important... it might mean that they have to be flexibly chosen, adapted, even “created”. Stick to reality and be more creative!
    14. 14. Creativity within a framework • Corporate standards • Language • Distance • Simplicity • Availability of resources
    15. 15. Here is a pattern that man has used since the beginning of time to develop tools and techniques... applied to management. 1. Identify the challenges 2. Look for a tool or technique 3. Implement, evaluate 4. Iterate for every project
    16. 16. Let’s look at a few critical challenges we all face. Challenges
    17. 17. Challenge 1: Identify pitfalls asap
    18. 18. Project Tracking (Metrics) Tracking: Communication quality Risks Project Mood ... Tracking tools: Whiteboard Paper Webapps Excel ... Source:Visualizing Agile Projects using Kanban Boards by Kenji Haranabe (http://www.infoq.com/author/Kenji-Hiranabe)
    19. 19. Learning from failure • We identified a common communication & mood pattern (a.k.a. Pre-live Panic) • improved preparation and communication pre-live
    20. 20. Challenge 2: tasks fragmentation
    21. 21. Big visible tasks charts & visualization An eXtreme Programming technique too often underrated, imho.
    22. 22. Kanban Board Shared with customer... why not with all stakeholders in just a cleaner format? HINT: use visuals and the help of the designer to provide the project over view; stakeholders will understand a lot better Source: Visualizing Agile Projects using Kanban Boards than a report that often by Kenji Haranabe (http://www.infoq.com/author/Kenji-Hiranabe) few reads.
    23. 23. Challenge 3: UX is everywhere vision over features
    24. 24. Informative Workspace Again coming from eXtrame Programming. Informative workspace can work great to put together not only developers but designers, information, architects, ...
    25. 25. Post-it
    26. 26. http://byjoeybaker.com/2009/05/21/whiteboard-of-mindmapping-new-media/ Whiteboards
    27. 27. Posters and illustrations
    28. 28. and whatever serves your goals Twitter for example...
    29. 29. Challenge 4: Stakeholders in web project = caos Project sponsor Marketing Sales Content Managers Editors User ...
    30. 30. What a tough meeting! Video
    31. 31. At lower scale: metaphors and the Theatre ability to create “visual” representations of the project. Everything that can help reduce the abstraction of our difficult domain.
    32. 32. Screenshots and photos
    33. 33. and again... whatever serves your goals
    34. 34. our model, our understanding
    35. 35. reality if we are very very good and lucky this is what we will have, right?
    36. 36. One tip I particularly like: “spend more time on the software you’re helping to build than on your PM tools.”
    37. 37. Thanks! Francesco Ciriaci francesco@reflab.com Twitter: @fciriaci
    38. 38. Credits and resources • The agile manifesto (http://agilemanifesto.org) • Why Web Projects Fail by Graham Oakes • Visualizing Agile Projects using Kanban Boards by Kenji Haranabe • Prediction Markets (Project Risk Management) by Inkling • Build Status Using Lava Lamps by Ken Nichols
    39. 39. *bonus tool, just for fun Lego planning