Agile State of Mind (Part 2)

After accepting the Agile methodology through managing a project and experiencing its benefits, I wanted to take the opportunity to share some of the challenges I've faced and lessons I've learned along the way.
First and foremost, managing a project without fully validating the initial list of user stories can cause a domino effect of hurdles to jump over later on. Even though the product backlog is a living document and user stories are added/modified all the time, there is a fair amount of work that must be done in preparation for that first sprint. For example...

Don’t Go Chasin’ Waterfalls (Part 1)

When using the waterfall methodology to manage projects, each phase (Planning, Analysis, Design, Development, Testing, Deployment) must be fully completed before the next can begin. Everyone can call these phases something different, but essentially it’s when progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards. This has worked for so long and continues to work for some, but why not try something new? Agile, perhaps? It’s been around for a while, but lately, it’s the methodology of choice and it's gaining momentum. Agile is a time-boxed, iterative approach to software delivery that builds...

Organized Chaos

As a project manager, choosing the right project management tool for your company isn’t an easy task and organizations can take months (sometimes even years!) before deciding on a solution that fits best. You want a tool that can do it all; from internal projects, to client work, and tracking time - without the process having a huge impact on the company. After all, the goal is to help your team get organized, not cause more chaos.

So, how do you even begin your search? With the millions of tools available it can seem like a daunting task, but following the simple steps below can...

Transitioning Project Managers Successfully

Changing project managers during a project is a realistic situation that can occur in any company and a team should be prepared on how to handle this. Projects can be long-term engagements, and project managers may leave due to new job opportunities (whether that’s internal or outside the company), medical/personal leave, or internal re-assignments. There are a variety of reasons for a company to shift resources and since project managers or other team members can leave a project at any time, it is useful to plan for a successful transition.

The transition can be more of a challenge...

Great Expectations: Best Practices for Ensuring a Successful Client Engagement

In my experience, one of the most important and challenging tasks for any project is to set and manage the expectations of the customer from project initiation to delivery. Throughout the project life cycle, expectations should be monitored and managed to ensure a successful engagement. 

I know that sometimes it’s hard not knowing exactly what to do and it can take some trial and error to figure out what works best.  I’ve realized that the first thing to figure out is when these disconnects can occur.  Once that is ironed out, one can work through ideas on how to prevent them in the...

Big News in Project Management!

As recently as this past September, Congress passed a new bill called the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (PMIAA). This is HUGE as it truly exemplifies and solidifies the importance of Project Management in ANY organization. So what is this bill, you ask?

Well, it is going to bring the private sector standards and best practices, basically using the Project Management Institute’s standards for Project Management, to the Federal Government. This legislation will do the following:

• Adopt and oversee implementation of government-wide standards, policies,...

Out of Sight, Out of Mind? Tips on Effectively Managing Virtual Teams

Telecommuting is becoming the new norm and there is a lot of upside to working remotely for you and your team, however there are still some challenges some people face in a virtual environment.

In most virtual workplaces, entire teams are separated from their project manager, which can lead to feelings of disconnection and isolation. The most important thing to do is maintain regular, consistent communication with each other.

I started working with Function1 two years ago and have learned a lot about managing and working with virtual teams effectively and hope my tips below...

Work From Home Successfully

While working from a virtual environment offers many benefits, it can sometimes be challenging with all of the various distractions, which you may not experience in an office environment.  From thinking about and tackling your day-to-day responsibilities, to having a television nearby, all of these things can easily run you off course making it difficult to concentrate on work and manage your time efficiently.

Below are some tips that can help curb those distractions, and allow for you to be successful in the workplace, whether you work from an office or not.

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To Review or Not to Review – That Is the Question.

I’d like to think that there is the perfect employee out there in the world, but in reality, no one is really perfect.  Isn’t everyone’s definition of a perfect employee different anyways based on the company’s needs?  We all have certain standards and expectations of our company, colleagues and ourselves and need to make sure that at the very minimum these are met.  A company is only as good as its employees, right?

In order to ensure that employees are performing at their best and are continuously improving, a company should define a clear performance review process. It also...

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