Lean Thinking

Written by Published in Agile

They say that when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. It’s the same in business – when all you have is a project management methodology, everything looks like a project. Most organisations have become very project focussed. Everything is a project. New release of software – project. Some process change – project. That’s great. Projects are good. They are certainly better than the ad-hoc approach we had before projects. But projects do have some drawbacks.

To work out what the drawbacks are, we need to look at what a project is. A project is defined (by the PMI who should know) as something that has a defined scope, a defined start and a defined end date.  So projects are finite in length. Anything without an end date isn’t a project, it's business as usual.

Written by Published in Agile

When a team is behind its targets, the natural instinct is to work even harder to catch up. Sometimes though, the best thing you can do is… nothing.

Let’s look at a team. For various reasons, they have done several sprints' worth of work with no test environment available. How can this be? Let’s just imagine that they work for a hypothetical large company with a ludicrously complex process around setting up test environments. I’m sure such things never happen in real life, but just go with me on this one.

08 October 2013


Written by Published in Agile

Normally, the phrase 'project vision" or "project goal" elicits a collective groan from any team in which it is used. This is because project vision statements are generally... well... crap. Whoever puts them together inevitably feels it necessary to slip into management speak and string a bunch of fairly meaningless weasel words together – "we will proactively leverage our synergies to achieve outcomes consistent with our values...". Lots of words but no actual meaning. No wonder people greet them with a groan.

But at the same time, the team needs to have a cohesive picture of what it is they are working towards. They need to know what the goal is. More than that, the team will do much better at reaching the goal if they really believe that the goal is worthwhile. They need to see the goal as a thing to be desired, a thing to be strived for. What do we call such a goal? Well.. that would be the project vision, wouldn't it. This leads us to a dilemma. The team needs a vision to strive towards, but vision statements are so universally awful.

06 October 2013

New Website!

Written by Published in Blog

The two or three of you who read this blog may have noticed a hiatus recently. That's because a brand new website was being built, and posting to the blog would have meant keeping the live site and the new one in development in sync. As I'm basically a lazy person, I decided to wait 'til the new one was up. The break has been longer than I intended; the new site was supposed to be up weeks (*ahem*...months) ago but with life and stuff, things slipped. But now it's up. It's finished and it's fantastic (with responsive design for mobiles and everything).

Regular posting will now resume...




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