In this issue:
Too often, when we change something, we add to our established practices.
However, many changes succeed only when you subtract something. What will you stop? Here are three questions you might consider:
- Who needs information in what form?
- Who needs to work together?
- Who needs the work?
Secret 1: Assess your process: who needs what?
Dani, a project manager who has moved to an agile approach worked with her Product Owner to create monthly deliverables with a two-week cadence of demos and retrospectives. But, her manager still wanted to see a Gantt chart.
She asked him, “What about that chart provides you value?” She wanted to understand what he needed.
He replied, “I want to see the major milestones.”
She smiled. “Okay,” she said. “I can provide the list of monthly milestones and product backlog burnup charts—which I need to provide to the team anyway. Will that work for you?”
“Maybe,” he said. “Let me see them.”
Dani showed him after the first couple of weeks. He was thrilled—this data was exactly what he needed.
Secret 2: Assess your work organization.
In the past, Dani had used a spreadsheet to see who was on the project when. Too many times, the project staff had to multitask between several projects. She discovered that she no longer needed that sheet.
Instead, she could ask people to maintain a worksheet of paper next to the team board to note when they felt they needed to multitask. She could see how many times each person was called to another project. No spreadsheet necessary.
Collecting that data allowed her to ask the team if it was okay if they changed their board to show other projects in swim lanes or some other form that worked for them. The team agreed that swim lanes might work.
Once Dani had a board that worked for the team, she could show the managers and explain the effect of multitasking on the current project. The managers realized the problems and worked together to reduce and then eliminate the multitasking.
Dani no longer needed a spreadsheet or a worksheet. And, the team’s board now showed all the work they had in progress.
Secret 3: Assess the work itself.
When Dani brought the managers to the board, she asked this question: Which of these two projects is most important to you? Each manager had a different answer.
She explained this discrepancy to her manager. She asked for help to understand what to do.
Her manager explained that the managers weren’t collaborating on the project portfolio. Maybe it was time for them to park or remove some of the projects.
He asked the other project managers to note the multitasking their teams had. Armed with that information, he was able to help the managers remove some projects from the project portfolio.
You might discover other questions work better. Here are other questions you might prefer:
Your history has served you well. You don’t need to propagate that history forever if these tools/approaches/ideas no longer fit.
Gil Broza and I are offering the Influential Agile Leader workshop again next year, April 24-25, 2019 in Toronto. People often ask us questions about agile transformations, or what makes Influential Agile Leader different. Join us for an informal conversation on Oct 17 at 12:00 Eastern. Register to ask questions and join us. I hope to see you there.
Are you new to the Pragmatic Manager newsletter? See previous issues here.
Here are links you might find useful:
- My Books
- Online Workshops
- Managing Product Development Blog
- Create an Adaptable Life
- Johanna's Fiction
Till next time,
© 2018 Johanna Rothman
Tags: agile, collaboration, metrics, project portfolio management, transition to agile