project management

How and When to Use Timeboxes, Iterations, and Sprints to be Most Effective

A colleague unfamiliar with lifecycles or agility asked, “How can we use sprints in this approach?” and pointed to a phase-gate approach with documentation deliverables after each phase. It looked just like the serial lifecycle in the image on the left. (That’s because a finance person drew the lifecycle.) I said, “You can’t use ‘sprints.’ …

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See and Resolve Team Dependencies, Part 2: One Person Outside the Team

Does your organization have an enterprise architect or Chief Product Person? We create these positions to check that the teams don’t try to implement something “wrong.” However, a single person in this position creates bottlenecks and dependencies. (A committee might create even tighter bottlenecks.) Those dependencies slow the work. If a person delays the work, …

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See and Resolve Team Dependencies, Part 1: Inside the Team

Even when managers try to create cross-functional teams, the teams still have dependencies. Dependencies slow and make finishing the work more difficult. Too many teams have a built-in dependency creator—code review. When we take time to perform code review after we write the code (or the tests), we create dependencies between the people on the …

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Five Questions to Create Your Successful (Hybrid Remote) Cluster Team

 I’m seeing different kinds of “hybrid remote” teams these days. I already wrote about satellite teams (see Five Tips for Your Successful (Hybrid Remote) Satellite Team). Now, I’m also seeing cluster teams. Cluster teams have people in several locations, with collocated people in some locations. (See How To Understand Your Team Type: Collocated, Satellite, Cluster, …

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Manage Interruptions with Defensive Project Portfolio Management

Here’s a scenario I see in all kinds of businesses. Your team has product-focused work. And, the team also has “fast” response-required, ad hoc work: Production support, when something breaks. You need to fix this right away. Provide technical support when people have questions. The team needs to answer these questions on a “timely” basis. …

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Five Tips for Your Successful (Hybrid Remote) Satellite Team

You’ve spent the better part of two years organizing for all-remote work. Now, your managers want people back in the office. However, your team won’t all be back in the same time and space. People get to choose which days (and possibly hours) they come into the office. That means you don’t have a collocated …

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How to See a Distributed Team’s Frequency of Real-Time Communication

When Mark Kilby and I wrote From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams, we discussed the fact that we no longer needed physical face-to-face interactions. Instead, we needed high-fidelity virtual interactions. (High-fidelity virtual interactions didn’t exist when the guys got together at Snowbird to write the Agile Manifesto for Software Development.) The Allen Curve explains …

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How To Understand Your Team Type: Collocated, Satellite, Cluster, Nebula

I’ve been hearing people talk about “hybrid” remote teams. So far, every person I’ve talked to means something different. When Mark Kilby and I wrote From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams, we differentiated between these types of teams: Collocated, as all the people are within 8-16 m of each other. (See the Allen Curve …

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Use “Typical,” Not “Average” Durations to Manage Risk

Many managers and teams talk about “average” durations for work. On average, how long does it take a team to finish a certain kind of work? However, average doesn’t quite explain why our work takes different durations. Instead of average, consider the word, “typical.” I’ve written about cycle time before. (It’s the time from when …

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What Lifecycle or Agile Approach Fits Your Context? Part 7, Lifecycle Summary

What risks does your project have? Do you need feedback loops so you can: Cancel the project at any time (to manage schedule and cost risks. Assess technical risks so you can rework the architecture or design to manage feature set risks. Manage what you release to customers so you can manage defect, feature set, …

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