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LITE 2017 – Project Management Fundamentals [Sebastian Meller & Todd Primrose]

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LITE 2017 – Project Management Fundamentals [Sebastian Meller & Todd Primrose]

  1. 1. Project Management LITE 2017 Todd Primrose, Sebastian Meller
  2. 2. • Project Management – pretty big topic to fit into 30 minutes • Our focus is largely on the early stages of project management – Project Scoping and Planning • These elements set the tone for your project and have big impact on project success (or failure) What are we talking about today?
  3. 3. “A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.” A project • has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources. - is unique in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to accomplish a singular goal. What is a project anyway? https://www.pmi.org/about/learn-about-pmi/what-is-project- management
  4. 4. We run Projects everyday – Consider dining out…
  5. 5. 1. Purpose and Principles – What is the purpose and what are boundaries? 2. Outcomes – How do I envision the end result? 3. Brainstorming – What do I need to account for? 4. Organizing – How to organize the elements I need to address? 5. Taking action – Performing current tasks and defining the next steps Natural Principles of Project Planning 5 Simple Steps
  6. 6. • Often in professional lives, we skip or skimp on planning • Too busy and don’t have adequate time • Too anxious to start work • Too worried about reaction or pushback • See planning step as non-value add Unnatural path Work starts before we have a shared understanding and before we have a vision and plan
  7. 7. • Misalignment • Wrong outcome • Insufficient outcome • Chaos and inefficiency • Late delivery • Budget issues • Wasted time • Team frustration So what happens when you skip or skimp on your scoping and planning steps?
  8. 8. • Why are we doing this project? • Who will benefit, how? • What’s the actual problem we’re trying to solve? So what comes first? Ask yourself ‘Why’.
  9. 9. • You must have a clear picture in your mind of what success would look like. • This is the ‘what’ instead of the ‘why’ • Requires the perspective of the stakeholders. What outcomes do we envision?
  10. 10. • Team Members • Budget • Timeline • Tools • Et cetera What are we working with?
  11. 11. What now?
  12. 12. Mind map
  13. 13. Whom to involve? • Technical people involved in the groundwork of your project • People who define the vision of the project • Representatives for the beneficiaries of your project • People helping to bring it all together – project managers, coordinators • Max. 7 people Group brainstorming
  14. 14. What to achieve? • Get everyone’s input • Quantity over quality • Open and creative atmosphere Avoid: • one-person monologues • two-person discussions • people trumping each other by hierarchy Group brainstorming
  15. 15. • Suitable pen (Sharpie) • One thought per sticky • Max. 7 words • Avoid one-word items – add a verb Write Post-it notes – silently, on your own Bad: Better: “Time” “Get finished by LITE 2017” “Bugs” “Crush existing bugs on the way” “Car” “Need large enough car”
  16. 16. Place Post-it notes - silently
  17. 17. Group and name groups - silently
  18. 18. Vote to prioritise – if appropriate
  19. 19. • What’s on your brainstorming map? • Things to be done • Project risks • Project constraints • Subgoals, milestones • Problems that need to be solved • Solution ideas – for the whole project or partial aspects of it Organise
  20. 20. Tasks to be done Unknowns needing investigation Risks Milestones / Subgoals Solution ideas Constraints … Organise your brainstorming output Componenthierarchy Timesequence Priority Sort by…
  21. 21. • Work breakdown • Estimation • Resource planning • Scheduling • Risk management • Progress tracking Classical project planning and tracking Risk management Gantt charts
  22. 22. • Plan • Next task actions that will generate demonstrable progress • Next actions that will update/improve your plan • Not too detailed • Execute • Demo, Deliver milestone, Celebrate progress • Evaluate – Get feedback Iterative planning
  23. 23. • Daily stand-up meetings • Recurring all-hands meetings • Status reports by email • Idea generation meetings • Planning meetings • Problem solving meetings • 1-to-1 communication • Milestone demos • Social gatherings Communication
  24. 24. takeaways • Don’t skip the Why question • Visualise the outcome • Effective group meetings • Iterative project delivery • Communication is key

Notes de l'éditeur

  • Why would you care?
    Apart from your routine work, you will do many activities that seem to grow arms and legs. If you haven’t called them “project” as yet, maybe it would help to treat them as projects. We only have 30min, so we will just dip into a few aspects that can help you.
    Examples for projects at Administrate:
    implementing new customers
    developing new software features and integrations
    Examples for projects at training companies:
    Adopting a new software solution (like Administrate)

  • Last time you went to dinner, why did you do it? You had one or more intentions. Satisfy hunger? Meet with friends? Have a meeting? Romantic interlude?
    What were the boundaries?
    I want to be in this price range
    I want to be able to walk there
    I want it to be able to get a burger
    What was your outcome?
    I want to eat at the Bistro with my friend at 8pm
    Brainstorming
    What do I need to account for?
    Do I need to call my friend
    Do I need to call the restaurant
    What if it rains?

    This happens every time but we don’t even think about it
    This is a natural and rational approach to reaching an outcome – I’ve eaten dinner tonight

  • What now?
    At this point, many people jump into classical project planning mode, defining resources, writing plans, scheduling and assigning tasks to people,
    but that would be missing an important resource: your brain, and, even more, your team’s brains!
    Our brains are actually very good at spontaneous collections of all important aspects when solving a problem – and they usually come without a structure - we are not computers after all.
    Also, you really don’t want to write plans that other people execute – you want to include them in the planning, get their buy-in, get their input.
    You really want to just collect for now – don’t judge, don’t sort, don’t organise.
    When you are on your own, you can draw a mind map fairly quickly that covers the important aspects – and it keeps the associations between the items – which can be free and don’t have to follow a particular logic.
    But how can you best do that in a group?

    First of all, which group?
    As Todd just said, at this point in time, you will have an understanding of who will benefit from your project and, roughly, who your team is.
    For the initial brainstorming, it’s good to include a mix of people:
    Technical people involved in the groundwork of your project
    People who define the vision of the project
    Representatives for the benefiaries of your project
    People helping to bring it all together – project managers, coordinators

    How can you get everyone’s input?
    Avoid one-person monologues and two-person discussions? Actually, you don’t want to discuss anything at this point.
    How can you avoid people trumping each other by hierarchy?
    You also want output from all individuals the group and you don’t want the whole group to fully engage with the one idea that happens to be voiced first in the room.

    One method that we have seen working best in these situations, is using post-it notes, or “stickies” on a whiteboard, max. 5 people per group – but this can happen with several groups in parallel in one room!
    This works in several steps:
    1) Ask everyone to silently dump their brains on sticky notes
    Use a suitable pen (Sharpies)
    One thought per note - not more than 5 words per note
    Avoid one-word statements – ideally have a verb or an adjective, and a noun – specific enough, generic enough:
    Bad: “Time”, Good: “Finished by LITE 2017”
    Bad: “Bugs”, Good: “Crush some bugs on the way”
    Bad: “Car”, Good: “Need large enough car”

    2) Silently and collectively add them to the whiteboard – naturally cluster same and similar thoughts to each other

    3) Silently, group post-its together, i.e. move some of them around – avoid big discussions at this point about how to group – any grouping can be useful at this point – and there is no right or wrong!

    4) Name the groups: Whilst some speaking is needed – this step also usually doesn’t create controversy. And be happy to allow some sprinkles of ungrouped items.


    Now, look at the bigger picture: Your whiteboard now may contain a big mix of
    - Things to be done
    - Project risks
    - Project constraints
    - Subgoals, milestones
    - Problems that need to be solved
    - Solution ideas – for the whole project or partial aspects of it


    Only now, you can start with classical project planning - and separate the above:
    Come up with
    an action list
    a list of problems and risks that need further investigation
    a rough breakdown of tasks
    a list of different solution ideas
    a list of subgoals, partial outcomes of your bigger picture, which could become milestones

    All of classical project management comes into play here – and we really don’t have the time to go into all of them, so, allow me to just dump some of them here:
    Work breakdown
    Estimation
    Resource planning
    Scheduling
    Tracking of project progress and risks

    But, more importantly: don’t try to plan the whole project in advance in detail.
    One thing is guaranteed – it will change.

    If you work with software teams, the term agile project management will be familiar: It’s all about solving your problem in an iterative way, delivering partial results in every iteration, not just in the end, and involving the team in each step.

    In every planning session, you keep one eye on the bigger picture, and one on the next concrete doable steps that will bring you closer to visible progress: the software developers call them iterations or sprints and make sprint commitments: The whole team commits to get these concrete pieces of work done by the next meeting.

    You also want to make sure you plan the next step to improve your plan: Who else needs to be involved? What has changed last week? Which resources have changed or need changed? And you plan actions to lift your plan to the next level, ready for the next iteration.

    One important aspect of your project will be communication:
    How do people in your team communicate to each other?
    How can you keep everyone informed but limit communication overhead?
    Whom do you want to keep happy?
    Which subteams need to communicate more?
    And which teams need to speak to each other more than they already do?

    Big all-hands conferences are useful for announcements, organisational changes, to remind everyone of the vision – or a change to it, and to hear a high-level update from all involved groups, but not for problem solving. They are usually expensive and can be boring if not facilitated well.
    1-to-1 meetings are …
    Team meetings are useful for idea generation, planning, problem solving and retrospectives – and the above method of using post-it notes can be applied to all of them.

    Regular status emails are important for everyone who is not directly involved in your project, but marginally affected or interested: RAG reports e.g. once a week, or once a month, with a brief comment on the status, and an outlook on what’s next and what’s on the horizon.


    It can help to prioritise at this point: You can ask the group: “What’s most important?”

    5) Voting on each of the groups can happen silently, again – everyone gets a number of sticky dots to place on the groups – or on some individual thoughts.

    This
  • What now?
    At this point, many people jump into classical project planning mode, defining resources, writing plans, scheduling and assigning tasks to people,
    but that would be missing an important resource: your brain, and, even more, your team’s brains!
    Our brains are actually very good at spontaneous collections of all important aspects when solving a problem – and they usually come without a structure - we are not computers after all.
    Also, you really don’t want to write plans that other people execute – you want to include them in the planning, get their buy-in, get their input.
    You really want to just collect for now – don’t judge, don’t sort, don’t organise.
    When you are on your own, you can draw a mind map fairly quickly that covers the important aspects – and it keeps the associations between the items – which can be free and don’t have to follow a particular logic.
    But how can you best do that in a group?

    First of all, which group?
    As Todd just said, at this point in time, you will have an understanding of who will benefit from your project and, roughly, who your team is.
    For the initial brainstorming, it’s good to include a mix of people:
    Technical people involved in the groundwork of your project
    People who define the vision of the project
    Representatives for the beneficiaries of your project
    People helping to bring it all together – project managers, coordinators

    How can you get everyone’s input?
    Avoid one-person monologues and two-person discussions? Actually, you don’t want to discuss anything at this point.
    How can you avoid people trumping each other by hierarchy?
    You also want output from all individuals the group and you don’t want the whole group to fully engage with the one idea that happens to be voiced first in the room.

    One method that we have seen working best in these situations, is using post-it notes, or “stickies” on a whiteboard, max. 5 people per group – but this can happen with several groups in parallel in one room!
    This works in several steps:
    1) Ask everyone to silently dump their brains on sticky notes
    Use a suitable pen (Sharpies)
    One thought per note - not more than 5 words per note
    Avoid one-word statements – ideally have a verb or an adjective, and a noun – specific enough, generic enough:
    Bad: “Time”, Good: “Finished by LITE 2017”
    Bad: “Bugs”, Good: “Crush some bugs on the way”
    Bad: “Car”, Good: “Need large enough car”

    2) Silently and collectively add them to the whiteboard – naturally cluster same and similar thoughts to each other

    3) Silently, group post-its together, i.e. move some of them around – avoid big discussions at this point about how to group – any grouping can be useful at this point – and there is no right or wrong!

    4) Name the groups: Whilst some speaking is needed – this step also usually doesn’t create controversy. And be happy to allow some sprinkles of ungrouped items.


    Now, look at the bigger picture: Your whiteboard now may contain a big mix of
    - Things to be done
    - Project risks
    - Project constraints
    - Subgoals, milestones
    - Problems that need to be solved
    - Solution ideas – for the whole project or partial aspects of it


    Only now, you can start with classical project planning - and separate the above:
    Come up with
    an action list
    a list of problems and risks that need further investigation
    a rough breakdown of tasks
    a list of different solution ideas
    a list of subgoals, partial outcomes of your bigger picture, which could become milestones

    All of classical project management comes into play here – and we really don’t have the time to go into all of them, so, allow me to just dump some of them here:
    Work breakdown
    Estimation
    Resource planning
    Scheduling
    Tracking of project progress and risks

    But, more importantly: don’t try to plan the whole project in advance in detail.
    One thing is guaranteed – it will change.

    If you work with software teams, the term agile project management will be familiar: It’s all about solving your problem in an iterative way, delivering partial results in every iteration, not just in the end, and involving the team in each step.

    In every planning session, you keep one eye on the bigger picture, and one on the next concrete doable steps that will bring you closer to visible progress: the software developers call them iterations or sprints and make sprint commitments: The whole team commits to get these concrete pieces of work done by the next meeting.

    You also want to make sure you plan the next step to improve your plan: Who else needs to be involved? What has changed last week? Which resources have changed or need changed? And you plan actions to lift your plan to the next level, ready for the next iteration.

    One important aspect of your project will be communication:
    How do people in your team communicate to each other?
    How can you keep everyone informed but limit communication overhead?
    Whom do you want to keep happy?
    Which subteams need to communicate more?
    And which teams need to speak to each other more than they already do?

    Big all-hands conferences are useful for announcements, organisational changes, to remind everyone of the vision – or a change to it, and to hear a high-level update from all involved groups, but not for problem solving. They are usually expensive and can be boring if not facilitated well.
    1-to-1 meetings are …
    Team meetings are useful for idea generation, planning, problem solving and retrospectives – and the above method of using post-it notes can be applied to all of them.

    Regular status emails are important for everyone who is not directly involved in your project, but marginally affected or interested: RAG reports e.g. once a week, or once a month, with a brief comment on the status, and an outlook on what’s next and what’s on the horizon.


    It can help to prioritise at this point: You can ask the group: “What’s most important?”

    5) Voting on each of the groups can happen silently, again – everyone gets a number of sticky dots to place on the groups – or on some individual thoughts.

    This
  • Daily stand-up meetings
    within teams: “Yesterday, I did X. Today, I plan to do Y. I am currently blocked by Z and need help to resolve this.” (but follow up on blockers offline – don’t use the stand-up meeting for solving the problem).
    Recurring all-hands meetings
    : clear agenda, meeting minutes: Reminder of the project vision and goals, highlights from each participating team
    Status reports by email
    : RAG reports of each subproject, with a brief explanation for the current status, progress relative to the agreed timeline
    Idea generation
    meetings: Present the problem, collect ideas on stickies in max. 5 person groups, collectively and silently group them on walls or whiteboards, only then discuss.
    Planning
    : Avoid writing plan documents and handing them over the fence to be executed. Involve the people who will do the work in the planning. Work with stickies to collect lots of ideas in short time – avoid or time-limit discussions, as often, only 2 team members participate actively.
    1-to-1 communication
    : listen to their opinions, exchange minutes that make people feel heard – record actions and follow up
    Problem solving
    meetings: max. 3 people from different backgrounds
    Milestone demos
    – with subsequent Q&A – celebrate success of project milestones and name everyone who contributed
    Social gatherings
    , in work context

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