Project Management

Apr 10, 2017
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The paradigm shift towards agile and lean product development has brought collaboration between large cross-functional team in the spotlight. The existing literature is already mature explaining clearly how benefits can be reaped fast by executing a clean transition to agile delivery by enhancing the performance of the new cross-functional teams. However, in parallel, the time spent in endless meetings by product owners, business analysts, engineers, product managers and many others involved in the product creation, has grown exponentially. This leaves key product people with little or no time to do the critical activities they are employed for.
Mar 23, 2017
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Watching the speed by which Information Technology (I.T.) has changed over the last forty years has been amazing. Hardly a day goes by without some new twist or invention. In particular, my interest is in how I.T. can be applied to support the systems needed to operate a business, such as for manufacturing, inventory, order processing, customer service, accounting, human resources, and much more. I have seen a lot during the last four decades, perhaps too much.
Mar 13, 2017
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Through the use of contract terms and conditions, this article provides insight on managing risk on outsourced projects beyond just transferring work to a contractor. Training courses on risk management typically cover transferring risk at a high level, but that is just a start. Read this article for the follow-ups on managing risk via contract terms and conditions.
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The context diagram and the use case diagram are two useful techniques for representing scope. This article describes two other methods for documenting scope: feature levels and system events.

Jun 19, 2016
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A bid is like a product that, once designed, the team must be able to deliver it. This delivery includes manufacturing the product, testing it, preparing the marketing for the product launch and finally launch it.  We propose a staged approach that replace guessing a number with qualitative investigation. The model suggested, distilled from experience, shows how estimates are transformed into effort and, ultimately, into a coherent story with a price tag attached.
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Every software team talks about project scope and team members often complain about unending scope creep. Unfortunately, the software industry lacks uniform definitions of these terms, and the requirements literature is short on clear guidance regarding how to even represent scope. I confront scope head-on in this series of three articles...
Apr 24, 2016
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It is common for projects to be initiated based on blueprints. However, a blueprint is just a guide to the future state. Its intended purpose is to guide the subsequent analysis and design activities. It does not answer all the questions. The details of what, how, and why are left to requirements analysis.
Apr 11, 2016
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Being required to produce documents that create massive information bloat and don’t add value is frustrating as it slow projects down and creates additional project cost that isn’t needed. It’s a headache for Project Manager, Business Analyst and everyone on the team. What we need is the smallest set of information that can be verified and validated quickly that directly ensures the highest quality outcome of the project. 

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If you are a Scrum Master of an agile team, your prime purpose is to help the software development team remove obstacles that are impeding progress. The best practice approach in succeeding at this is to assume the role of a neutral facilitator. That is, the Scrum Master guides the team through a process for solving situations themselves rather than the Scrum Master proposing a solution. This article provides two workshop scenario exercises (an internal team conflict and a team conflict with the product owner) that help the Scrum Master practice the neutral facilitator role.
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...why blame the success or failure of the project primarily on requirements? If the business analyst is not in charge of the monitoring and controlling of the project, why pass the blame on. If a decision to apply one form of methodology over the other does not rest with the BA, is it not valid to review the stewardship and question the effectiveness of the stewardship?
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The 3 Amigos (sometimes referred to as a “Specification Workshop”) is a meeting where the Business Analyst presents requirements and test scenarios (collectively called a “feature”) for review by a member of the development team and a member of the quality assurance team.
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One of my favorite tools in business analysis is the premortem. Instead of waiting until the end of a project to find out what went wrong, and learn for the future, we can use this technique to go on an “imaginary time travel” to avert real failures.
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As a business analyst (BA), what would you say during the initial conversation with your project manager (PM)? First, do not assume that the PM knows what to expect from a BA. In fact, this is your opportunity to set expectations and explain your value added to the project.

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Tracking project status means comparing where you really are at a particular time against the expectation of what “complete” means for this development cycle.  Monitor the status of just those functional requirements that were committed for the current release, because that’s the set that’s supposed to be 100 percent done before you declare success and ship the release.

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The lines between business analysts’ and project managers’ responsibilities seem to be becoming increasingly blurred, particularly in these tight economic times where candidates are sometimes expected to fulfill both roles. But it is crucial that companies understand the difference between these roles if they want their projects to be executed in the most efficient manner.

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