Project management

This category contains 71 posts

Seemingly impossible goals can change reality

It’s a constant bugbear of software teams that deadlines are often just wishes. “You need to deliver it by this date” can be largely the same as a manager donning a pair of ruby slippers, clicking their heals, screwing up their eyes, and saying “I wish, I wish, I wish for you to deliver by … Continue reading

Minimising “must have”s

I was speaking to friend the other day who had worked on a procurement project for a piece of machinery for his organisation. His role was to lead the requirements specification. The machinery needed was large and complex, and had to operate in fairly diverse environments. It was also very expensive. That meant it was … Continue reading

Moving from subjective to objective discussions

I often work with product teams who have conversations—sometimes very difficult ones with stakeholders—that are full of unstated assumptions, subjectivity, and a lot of unsubstantiated “I think…” comments. For a startup with few people the conversations aren’t often difficult, but poor subjective judgements can sink the company. For larger organisations with a product team and … Continue reading

Granularity of project governance frameworks

I’ve worked with a few organisations that wanted to create a framework for reporting on and governing projects or programmes. The intention is generally good: we have lots of projects and programmes across the organisation; if we can standardise the approach to governing them and reporting upwards then we can ensure they are run to … Continue reading

Product owners and technical decisions

Sometimes a development team has to make a technical decision. Actually, a development team has to make techical decisions all the time, and 99% of the time those decisions are focused entirely on the development process and therefore entirely at the discretion of the developers. But sometimes it’s not so easy. Perhaps they are thinking … Continue reading

Always build for real people’s real problems

I’ve been having fun this week watching some conference talks about my current favourite language, Elm, at Elm Europe 2017. And I enjoyed seeing an important idea discussed—important not just for coding, but for product and project development generally. The lesson is: solve the actual problems experienced by actual people. Don’t generalise—at least not without … Continue reading

Lightening the delivery balloon

I’d love to say all the projects I’ve ever worked on have run perfectly smoothly, but that would be a lie. There are plenty of times I’ve been involved with a project where a deadline is looming, and as we get closer and closer we have to ask harder and harder questions about what to … Continue reading

Avoiding the unexpected

Earlier this year I was involved in a talk led by Gayatri Kamath in which she discussed a serious incident at the Apollo Theatre in London in 2013. A large number of people were injured after part of the building collapsed due to water build-up in the plaster. On speaking to one of those with … Continue reading

The cost of delay of technical debt

Last week I wrote about the value of stopping work to tackle tech debt, and more specifically when we might expect to recover from the temporary stoppage. In the ensuing discussion a question came up about one of my assumptions, which was that the team was delivering at a constant rate (albeit below its potential). … Continue reading

The benefits of timeboxing a solution

A colleague pointed me to a nice article by Sue Davis about writing for the public, and among the suggestions was the idea of timeboxing feedback: “If you don’t, the polishing process can be never-ending and you risk delaying getting the content to your users.” Timeboxing is really valuable not just for getting feedback, but … Continue reading