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PMI and Scrum

November 16, 2011

Though traditional project management and Scrum have long been viewed as antithetical ways of working, that’s not quite right. It would be more accurate to say that Scrum simply responds to and refines the shortcomings of traditional management practices. Still, as Scrum and other agile methods have continued to grow in the past few years, many PMPs have begun reassessing Scrum and agile to see what aspects of those methods it can utilize. On the PMI website, they’ve just run a short interview with an individual who straddles both worlds: Jimi Fosdick, who is both a PMP and a CST (certified Scrum trainer). According to him, it’s still possible for traditional project management and Scrum and agile to coexist. Still, he’s quick to point out that there are major challenges. Of those, he cites the following as the most irksome:

“Organizational Structure: Companies aren’t usually set up to handle the way the work is done in scrum and agile–and that’s a very difficult thing to change.

“Corporate Culture: Scrum is built on the principles of self-organization and self-management. So the development team doesn’t really have a boss or a manager telling them what to do. And that’s very scary for a lot of organizations. There’s a prevailing belief–left over from the scientific management of the 1950s and 1960s–that unless you’re watching what your people are doing, they won’t complete the task at hand.

“False Assumptions: Many of the policies and progress metrics in place in organizations and the artifacts and reporting required, are often counterproductive and run contrary to scrum. Some tasks–like needing sign-off on a full requirements document before development can start–interferes with the ability to do something in an agile way.”

You can read more here: http://blogs.pmi.org/blog/voices_on_project_management/2009/12/agile-apprehensions.html

Pomodoro

October 14, 2009

Agile management practices are great about time-boxing. Daily standups are capped at 15 minutes. Sprints never exceed a repeatable 30-day cadence. But what’s out there to help developers time-box in the short term? One technique that has gained popularity among agile practitioners (and been featured in sessions at the past two Agile conferences) is known as “pomodoro.” Pioneered by Francesco Cirillo when he was a student, the pomodoro technique was his answer to the problem of staying on task. He used a kitchen timer to divide his time into periods of work and rest. It has evolved somewhat since its inception, but remained mostly the same. Most folks who utilize this technique will work for 25 minutes and then break for five. They often employ three or four consecutive pomodoros before taking a more significant break. You can read more about it here: http://www.infoq.com/news/2009/09/Pomodoro

ScrumWorks Pro 4 and Epics

September 4, 2009

If you work at a large organization where products are developed as constituent parts of over-arching programs, then you know how tricky it can be to track these “shared components.” Well, there’s good news: Danube just published ScrumWorks Pro 4 and its biggest new functionality addresses that very issue. More specifically, the latest release of ScrumWorks includes a feature called “epics” that allows organizations to manage the release of complex projects that include multiple components. This means that the days of brainstorming creative workarounds to achieve similar results are over. Now, users can apply “themes” (a tagging feature for quick searching and filtering) to identify all the PBIs within a given Epic. This gives developers a more intuitive approach to organizing work, while also providing Product Owners and stakeholders with a view of progress that cuts across multiple products. I think you’ll be surprised by how powerful this new feature is. You can watch a screencast here or read more about this release here.

Scrum Comes to South America in October

August 25, 2009

It seems that excitement over agile processes and engineering techniques has finally migrated southward. Well, not “finally.” Last fall, Buenos Aires played host to Ágiles 2008, the inaugural South American conference on all things agile. But last month, the official website for Ágiles 2009 went live. This year, the conference moves to Florianopolis, Brazil for four days of “agilidad” in October.

With retrospectives guru Diana Larsen and Agile Manifesto signatory Brian Marick slated to deliver the keynote presentations, it looks like a great program, whether for South American software developers or North American coders looking for an excuse to mix business with pleasure.

Check out the full program here.

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