Constantly changing project delivery dates

Whether you’re doing Waterfall or Agile, it can become almost second nature to adjust delivery dates especially when key milestones are missed.  Most of the time it’s wishful thinking because the developers have told us they’re really close to solving the problem.

In the Waterfall world, deliverables largely go unnoticed until the end of phase. At that point, the only real option is to insert a sub-phase, adjust the timelines, ask for more money, and hope nobody gets fired.

In the Agile world, teams that miss their sprint end deliverables just roll those deliverables into the next sprint. This may seem like a minimal impact but sometimes this trend continues onto further sprints.

What does this mean?

If you find yourself constantly changing delivery dates it could mean you’re working towards a fictitious date and compromising quality at the same time.

Chances are the team is stressed out and the stress continues to build because they know they can’t deliver on the next fictitious date imposed on them.

What can you do?

STOP! It’s not ideal but sometimes necessary.

Try to figure out the root cause. Is the team simply taking on too much work? Do you have the required expertise?

When teams get into this situation they sometimes feel the need to divide and conquer. So they work in silos so that if they don’t deliver on the key areas they’re still able to show some progress in other areas. Instead, they should look at the #1 and possibly #2 priorities and just focus on that. In other words, minimize work in progress (WIP).

Also, focus on quality. Chances are the reason you’re in this predicament is because you didn’t focus on quality to begin with. Adopt XP practices such as Test Driven Development (TDD) and Refactoring.

What you shouldn’t do

Don’t come up with more fictitious dates. You’re only making the problem worse and the client will only get more dissatisfied every time you promise to deliver and don’t.

Don’t continue to stress out the team. If you do people will leave, maybe not all but some. That doesn’t mean they’re no longer accountable. If overtime is needed, encourage them to put in extra time at the start of sprint so that they can get ahead. You also need to incentivize them to do so and show that you’ll support them along the way.

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PMI SAC PDC 2017

Having attended previous PMI-SAC PDC conferences, I must say this one was quite different.

The Winsport venue had a much different ambience compared to the BMO Centre, and I mean that in a good way.

Also, the attendance had noticeably diminished from previous years which is expected considering the downturn in Calgary’s economy.

The keynotes that I was able to attend were fantastic, especially the one on Brain Science. The point on visualization made complete sense to me. I heard Hayley Wickenheiser’s keynote was also inspiring but unfortunately I was unable to attend.

My first presentation, “Scaling Agile @ FCC” went well. Everything worked as expected. The audience seemed to enjoy all 3 short video clips. However, the presentation almost lasted the entire hour which didn’t leave a whole lot of time for questions and I wasn’t able to stick around because I had to head off to my next presentation which was in a different room. Thankfully my co-presenter was able to entertain one-on-one questions after I departed.

The second presentation, “Agile Product Rescue” also went well. The only hiccup I had was with the audio went it came time to show my YouTube clip. The audience could hear the audio but it was very faint. I didn’t have any questions during Q&A but a few individuals approached me afterwards.

It was great to see a lot of familiar faces. Hope to be in attendance next year!

 

Top 10 signs you had a successful Agile project

Before I get into it, there are 2 things I should point out.

Point #1, this is by no means a complete list.  I’m sure there are hundreds of signs that point to Agile success.  These are the top 10 that stand out for me.

Point #2, you can experience Agile success without uncovering all 10 signs.  But if you’ve truly reached success then you’re likely to encounter most.


 

  1. Everyone is sad to see the project end

  2. Exceptionally high velocity was achieved
  3. Low defects.
  4. Lots of chatter & laughter
  5. People are still talking about project months after its completion
  6. Everyone outside the project is asking “How did you do it?”
  7. Sprint goals were achieved almost every sprint
  8. SMART goals that derived from the retrospectives were also achieved

  9. Management support is evident even if it isn’t plentiful

  10. The Project Manager role is questioned

PMI SAC PDC 2015

The Project Management Institute Southern Alberta Chapter Professional Development Conference was fantastic for the 2nd year in a row.

Even with a downturn in the economy there was a tremendous turnout with many returning sponsors.

I volunteered as a session host on the first day.  My responsibilities included 2 concurrent sessions.  The 2 speakers for the concurrent sessions were quite knowledgeable and experienced presenters.

All keynote speakers did a really good job.  There was even a common theme around “comfort zone”.  The message was that we should strive to look outside our comfort zone so much so that our discomfort zone becomes our comfort zone.

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Looking forward to next year.

PMI SAC PDC 2014

The Project Management Institute Southern Alberta Chapter Professional Development Conference was terrific.

The conference kicked off with Jessica Holmes (Air Farce) as the MC.  She was absolutely hilarious.

The first keynote speaker was Jan Hargrave who is a body language expert.  She taught the audience how to tell when someone is lying.  It was thoroughly entertaining.

Another keynote was given by Warren MacDonald.  He lost his legs when he was mountain climbing and a 1 ton boulder fell on him.  He is still very active today. His message is basically, “if I can do all of this, imagine what you can do”.

There were quite a few exhibitors, but I didn’t have enough time to chat with many of them.

I volunteered as a session host on the first day.  It’s a great way to meet people. With my volunteer duties over, I was able to fully take in the conference the second day.

I enjoyed most of the sessions.  The most interesting session was on Design Thinking.  It is heavily promoted by a company called IDEO.

Looking forward to next year.

PMP (Project Management Professional)

Overall:

This is a tough exam.  Do not take it lightly.  Even though you have 3 attempts at it, try your best to pass on the 1st attempt.

Focus on the things you’re weak on.  You probably already aware of a few things, but after doing some practice exams, those areas will be highlighted.

You need to have good project management experience AND you need to study hard.

My approach:

I read the PMBOK twice.

I used http://www.oliverlehmann.com and did the 75 and 175 question exam.

I also did a 200 question simulator through http://iwebexam.com that was promoted by http://www.edwelprograms.com/Free-PMP-Practice-Exam.aspx.

Result:

Initiating – Moderately Proficient

Planning – Moderately Proficient

Executing – Proficient

Monitoring and Controlling – Proficient

Closing – Moderately Proficient

Final Thoughts:

If you’re thinking about writing this exam the best piece of advice I can give you is to find others that also want to write it and form study groups.