Project Management

Information and discussion on best practices, communications, and keeping your wits about you

How to Protect Yourself Against Problem Projects

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Even projects that start strong can begin to unravel as time goes on. Sometimes the problem lies in scope, budget or other issues that are beyond the team’s control, but in other instances the issue lies with the team, either in whole or in part. It’s not surprising. Each project team has to figure out how to get along, how to work together and — if it’s an Agile team — what each individual’s role is to be. During one… continue…

4 Steps to Effective Change Control

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Change control is something that is inevitable even with the most successful projects. I’m not sure I’ve ever worked on a project that didn’t have at least one modification made along the way. What’s critical is that you know how to manage change and ensure the project remains on track — and ultimately successful — despite it. When you’re starting a project, it’s important to ensure there is a change control process available. If the company you work for doesn’t… continue…

How to Build a Project’s Business Case

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One of the many tasks business analysts are inevitably called on to do is create a business case. As defined by the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge, a business case justifies the investment required to deliver a proposed solution. A business case is part of the due diligence process. By measuring the benefits, costs and risks associated with the investment being made in a particular project or product, it assesses and evaluates the options available to solve the business issue.… continue…

5 Interview Questions for Consultants

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A key to landing a consulting job is to answer interview questions with specific examples of previous challenges you’ve addressed and a sound demonstration of your ability to tackle projects, solve problems and think quick on your feet. Of course, the right answers alone won’t get you the gig, but they could make you a memorable candidate. Here are some of the questions you should be ready for in your interview. What types of projects do you typically work on?… continue…

Less Project Paper Can Make Your Life a Lot Simpler

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One of the surprising discoveries made by early advocates of the “paperless office” was that very often emails, Word documents and the like resulted in more paper, not less. Nowadays, as more people get used to the idea of reading of a screen of one sort or another, my guess is that’s becoming less of an issue. Still, in some areas the need for paper is stubbornly hanging on. One of them is project management. Through experience I’ve learned that… continue…

Aligning User Stories, Use Cases and Requirements

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In a previous post, I contended that requirements are still an important part of most enterprise environments, even those that might be using Agile lifecycle methodologies. However, I didn’t specify exactly how those requirements should be captured — or what even constitutes a requirement. This is an important question that spans both Agile and Waterfall methodologies. Many organizations feel that user stories are sufficient to build both code and project structures around. Is it out of the question to consider… continue…

How to Head Off a Project Failure

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What happens when someone forgets to do the very thing that absolutely had to be done? You know, that thing you were counting on to push the project forward. And what if the guilty party is your client or a team member? In every project you’ll ever work on, there will typically be some element of failure. Nothing works perfectly and the second you think things are going well, you better look up and pay careful attention. I’m not being… continue…

Agile or Not, Requirements Management Can’t Be Skipped

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These days, requirements management is often misunderstood or under-appreciated in IT. Many people have used migration to Agile methodologies as an excuse to discard requirements or rethink how they’re used to support most projects. One of the key tenets of Agile application development is not to over-think technical requirements in advance. The premise is that it’s usually impossible to accurately predict the details, which would invariably lead to costly rework after the fact—as opposed to an Agile approach of incremental refinement. So… continue…

Exiting Gracefully Now Can Land You a Job Later

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Sometimes you and a client must part ways, maybe even before your projects are completed. If you’ve decided that you’re leaving, what do you do? How do you leave gracefully? First and foremost, you want to make sure that your reputation—a good one, if you’ve managed it right—will stay intact. This means you need to ensure that you depart on a positive note and remain a positive influence even after you’re gone. Here are some things that I do in… continue…

How Do You Apply Integrated Design?

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When people think about design they often visualize Apple’s products or a user interface. But design in IT is much more than that. While many pieces of an overall lifecycle are concerned with design tasks, say like the UI, the process itself is also driven by the need to create functional systems. This holds true for both hardware and software, as well as complex enterprise initiatives like ERP or even cyber security. If we consider “design” as a verb—the activity… continue…