This category contains 62 posts

Quality assurance and testing

Quality assurance and testing are often confused in the digital world. People often talk about QAs being the people who test, and debate the merits of whether QAs should exist as a role separate to that of developers. But prior to that I find it’s important to distinguish between quality assurance and testing, so here … Continue reading

Moving from “if” we’ll deliver to “when”

On too many projects it’s easy to get caught in a debate about if we’ll deliver. There is some fixed point at which we’ll be judged—very likely a specific date—and when that happens we’ll look at what we’ve produced and see whether it matches our pre-defined threshold of “acceptable”. If delivery of “acceptable” is in … Continue reading

The value statement

Over the last 12 months I’ve worked increasingly with people to create what’s been termed a “value statement” for their various projects and programmes. Value statement isn’t my term (although it’s been used before for similar things [1], [2]) and I like it a lot. A value statement is a very simple statement of the … Continue reading

Traffic lights, roundabouts and decision-making

Last week I saw a presentation from Bjarte Bogsnes of Statoil, at a meeting about Beyond Budgeting, which offers “a management model that is more empowered and adaptive [and] releasing people from the burdens of stifling bureaucracy”. Part of they ethos of Beyond Budgeting is to bring decision-making back to the people who have direct … Continue reading

Agile teams have more responsibility with less planning

Some people think agile teams have less responsibility because the plans are looser. In fact the opposite it true. When organisations start their agile journey, there are—inevitably—slips and confusion along the way. One thing that often happens is that the reduced up-front detailed planning leaves those outside a team to think there is “no planning” … Continue reading

Burn-up charts create trust

Burn-up charts are very powerful—they show progress against reality very clearly. A colleague once told me that his boss much preferred the burn-up charts he saw than the more traditional reports other managers gave him, because the burn-up charts gave him confidence based on hard data, whereas other reports were more vague and had milestones … Continue reading

Being trusted and verifiable

Of all the GDS governance principles for service delivery, the one I probably repeat most often is “Trust and verify”. As written it’s directed at managers—it’s to ensure they give the team more freedom (“trust”), but to also to let them know they can still have some assurance (“verify”). Yet despite the positioning towards managers … Continue reading

Projects need to think beyond outputs

A common distinction made between projects and programmes is that projects deliver outputs (things) whereas programmes deliver outcomes (benefits). I think this is a dangerous separation, particularly in digital projects and programmes today. The view is most evident in the Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) approach, which has been long advocated by the UK government. But … Continue reading

Good benefits management can be lightweight

Do you practise good Benefits Management? It seems like a heavyweight process, with a lot of bureaucracy, especially as I’ve chosen to capitalise the initial letters. But it need not be so heavyweight. A short time ago I saw a presentation on Benefits Management and it certainly came across as heavyweight. A statement was made … Continue reading

The Siren call for consistency

I often come across the call for consistency… it sounds sensible, but can often be more damaging than people expect. Here I am talking about enforcing consistency across teams, projects, departments, etc. It might be about using the same user-story tracking tool, having different teams’ iterations in sync, reporting project progress using a standard template, … Continue reading