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Unconventional tools and tecniques for project managers
tools and tecniques
for project managers
Francesco Ciriaci - Better Software 2010 - Firenze
A little about me
• Managing Director and co-founder of Reﬂab
• Core contributor to Plone CMS development
• Designs web solutions and tools for international
• Working for Medecins Sans Frontieres, World
Food Programme, UNDESA, ...
• Working on MioMood (a crazy web startup)
About this talk
• Continues “The fun of a Program Manager”
talk (Better Software 2009)
• Requires only some agile development
• Aimed to project managers, mainly
• Short timeframes
• High number of involved people (wide
• Usually (too) many stakeholders
“The successful completion of speciﬁc project
goals and objectives”
Planning, organizing, managing resources
and we have tools for:
• resource allocation
• tasks and todos
• communication (some)
One tool to rule them all...
and in the darkness bind them.
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.
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
Project management is also:
• identiﬁng problems
• solving problem (creating the conditions)
• motivate and get consensus
In other words:
“ good plan is only the
• manage expectations
• 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
Agile Manifesto #1:
Individuals and interactions
over processes and tools
So why are we talking about
tools and techniques here?
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!
Creativity within a framework
• Corporate standards
• Availability of resources
Here is a pattern that
man has used since the
beginning of time to
develop tools and
techniques... applied to
1. Identify the challenges
2. Look for a tool or technique
3. Implement, evaluate
4. Iterate for every project
Let’s look at a few
critical challenges we all
Big visible tasks charts
too often underrated,
Shared with customer...
why not with all
stakeholders in just a
use visuals and the help
of the designer to provide
the project over view;
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.
UX is everywhere
vision over features
Again coming from
can work great to put
together not only
developers but designers,
reality if we are very very good
and lucky this is what
we will have, right?
One tip I particularly like:
“spend more time on the software you’re
helping to build than on your PM tools.”
Credits and resources
• The agile manifesto (http://agilemanifesto.org)
• Why Web Projects Fail by Graham Oakes
• Visualizing Agile Projects using Kanban Boards by
• Prediction Markets (Project Risk Management) by
• Build Status Using Lava Lamps by Ken Nichols