Beta Programs And The Project Manager

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In this PowerPoint presentation the idea that project managers should embrace beta progam participation for their organization with products that are essential for the viablity of the organization is proposed. Rationale, methods and case studies are provided.

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Beta Programs And The Project Manager

  1. 1. Beta Programs and the Project Manager Gary Shea www.garyshea.com ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 1
  2. 2. Objective Show project managers the value of participating in beta programs ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 2
  3. 3. Topics  Definitions  Examples  Benefits  Gotchas  The Role of the Project Manager  Exercises  Preliminaries  Advice  A Process  The Ultimate Goal  PMBOK Connections  Questions ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 3
  4. 4. Definition - What is a Beta?  Early usage  Test non-  Pre – General development –  Sales / marketing Availability  Support  Not production  Delivery  Not buggy code  Unique  Partners’ configurations readiness period  Customer perspective ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 4
  5. 5. Benefits?  For the organization  Product awareness and knowledge  Critical business functions  Competitive advantage  Vendor contacts  Vendor relationship  $avings ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 5
  6. 6. Benefits?  To Project Manager  Gain knowledge of the business  Be able to make a difference  New contacts  Visibility  Travel  Have more fun ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 6
  7. 7. Preliminaries (for the Project Manager)  Be a pro-active project manager  Be an investigator  Get the lay of the land  Configuration Management  Dig in  Determine what is critical  Get the user perspective  Moving targets – stay current  Who? Get to know them. ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 7
  8. 8. A Process (for the organization)  Interest  Negotiation  Qualification  Implementation  Closure ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 8
  9. 9. A Process: Interest  Learn organization environment  Identify core product set  Your interests  Identify possibilities (questionnaire)  Organization needs, directions, sponsorship  Sketch out project or 2: include timing, resources, benefits ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 9
  10. 10. A Process: Negotiation  An internal process – gaining support for the project  Evaluation of the next release – why early access is essential  Executive approval  Resources earmarked  Expectations set ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 10
  11. 11. A Process: Qualification  Vendor may seek you out  You may have to sell – Why essential? Resources ready. Smooth sailing thru legalities, sponsorship… ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 11
  12. 12. A Process: Qualification  Make case – paperwork, plan, schedule, meet deadlines, be pro- active and clear  Keep your team involved and informed ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 12
  13. 13. A Process - Implementation  Track activities & refine plan: what needs to be done – product and documentation shipments, installation, usage, meetings, training, reporting, issue management, test cases and tree  Enjoy the intensity  Report and resole issues, provide feedback. Make a difference.  Stick to schedule, meetings, checkpoints  Take good notes. ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 13
  14. 14. A Process: Closure  Final report – jointly written. Team reviewed. Summarize issues, recommendations, …  Lessons learned.  Dot Is cross Ts all paperwork complete  Make recommendations on going into production  Report to sponsor ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 14
  15. 15. PMBOK Connections  Configuration  Work Breakdown Management Structures  Stakeholders  Project phases  Cross functional  Feedback team  Closure  Decentralized team  Lessons learned  Scope management  Successful projects  Dependencies ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 15
  16. 16. PMBOK – WBS Examples  Evaluate environment for prerequisite products, system programmer, ½ day  Upgrade prerequisite product to next version, separate dependent project  Evaluate user guide (200 pages) – 3 days, four end users  Interview end users – business analyst, 1 day  …. ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 16
  17. 17. Real Life Example – Hudson Bay Company  Canadian retailer uses BI for applications  Example Top 50 Selling Products  Qualifies for Teradata Beta program  Five times participant ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 17
  18. 18.  Selectively participates depending on new function  Driven by project managers – “they know apps best and make case to senior management” ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 18
  19. 19. Real Life - Blackbaud  Provides software for non-profits – Raisers’ Edge  Local users: MSO, Wisc. Public TV  Beta is main activity of Stabilization phase  Processes refined over the years  Fifty early user customers  Formal agreements  Beta Bucks, production environment ‘handholding”  Recruits through trade shows, user groups  Function specific, phased, short duration ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 19
  20. 20. Real Life – Harley Davidson  Internal Engineering betas  Roll out of tools and processes (e.g. issue tracking and risk assessing tool)  Borrowed modules from sister division  Best practices ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 20
  21. 21.  Tweaking and tuning, refinement  User acceptance (best case they embrace new product)  Project oriented ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 21
  22. 22. Gotchas  Organizational goal: minimal change  Workarounds: pilots, proof of concepts, test environment  Mismatch of PM / SDLC rigor  Solutions: understood up-front, clear contract, flexibility  Mismatch of needs (vendor / customer)  Solutions: narrowly focused objectives, “next time” ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 22
  23. 23. Exercises  Identify core functions, products, processes  …..  …..  …..  Configuration (e.g. Oracle, Teradata, Blackbaud)  …..  ….. ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 23
  24. 24. Advice  Think quality and process improvements  No hidden agenda  Share ideas, information, wisdom  Pushing too had? Ease off  Stay focused  Track, advertise, attract  Consider others’ ideas  Don’t forget what’s in it for the vendor ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 24
  25. 25. The Ultimate Goal  Make a successful project of beta participation ©2008 G Shea Beta Programs PMI-Madison 25
  26. 26. Acknowledgements  Paul Radke, PMI  Bucky Wall, Blackbaud  Ken Sutton,Harley Davidson  Mahmood Rad, Harley Davidson  Noel Skarpmoen, WUWM Radio  Mary-Jane Jarvis-Haig, Hudson Bay Company Graphics by YKDesigns ©2009 G Shea Beta Programs and Proj Mgmt 26

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