Back in September 2014, Erik Meijer, a Dutch computer scientist, gave a remarkable keynote speech at Reaktor Dev Day in Helsinki, Finland. It began with a claim that “Agile is a cancer that we have to eliminate from the industry”. You can follow the full video at Vimeo . This speech incited a large number of web discussions about who is right and who is not, who does and who does not understand Agile, but the most of those discussions missed the main point. The challenging opening was an overture to the main idea, and that is ‘One Hacker Way’. It contains – as may well be expected from a keynote speech – provoking, disputable and controversial statements, but also some very intriguing stuff. I would say: listen to the message, try to understand it and do not judge from a holy Agile corner.
It may not be scope creep that is troubling your project, but scope seep. And it may be self-inflicted. “Scope Seep” is what happens when the project team introduces additional scope of work not requested by the customer. Have a look at “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”. It is not for children only. Quite the contrary.
“If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give…)”, by Laura Joffe Numeroff (Author) and Felicia Bond (Illustrator) ISBN-13: 978-0060245863.
If you are reading this, you may need a social media detox. Just type a “social media detox” in Google and you will find enough to make you think. Here are a few: Are You Addicted to Social Media? Gabrielle Bernstein’s story from addiction to a successful author on life improvement; 10 Strategies for a Summer Social Media Detox by Aubre Andrus, maybe too late fort his summer vacation, but still good for your next break; Social Media Detox, a complete list of interesting articles from Huffingtion Post. And, if you want to learn more about liking and following, just listen to “You Like Me Too Much” .
How often do you fiddle with your smartphone during critical teleconferences? Or attend to e-mail pop-ups on your desktop? Our brain does not multitask – it switches between tasks. UK research shows that multitasking lowers IQ by 10 points. There are reasons why people multitask; you may recognize some of them in your behaviour. If you are multitasking, you should consider changing this. There are several ways to do this, see some of them here.
Not only cars, also projects can be hybrid. An upcoming theme in the last couple of years are waterfall-planned and agile-driven projects, or hybrid, if you like. A rule of the thumb seems to be that going hybrid makes sense when software development and infrastructure deployment are equally represented. A number of interesting blogs, articles, presentations and books are available, but preciously little can be found on show cases, experiences and lessons learned. Do you know of any more?
Going for project success is obvious, but how can we know if a project is headed to a failure? If we define that a project will fail if:
– It does not deliver what is needed and expected;
– Goes far out of budget and post-delivery cost;
– Will or cannot deliver on time.
Then the question is how to prevent this from happening. Plenty is available on best practices how to keep your projects on track, but preciously little on how to detect that a project may be headed to failure. One of useful resources I found is Letting Go: When Should You Cancel a Failing Project? The warning signs listed there are:
- Poor or missing requirements: not being able to describe and decide what is needed.
- Unrealistic schedule / budget: both ways – overestimate or underestimate, mostly the latter.
- Scope creep: not being able to keep within the requirements and allowing the scope to grow.
- Bad attitude: thinking that the project is a waste of time, not committing, even being hostile?
- People leaving: abandoning ship is connected to above, but with knowledge going away.
- Product failures: the product worked on shows too many failures, defects and issues.
Another useful compilation in found is How to Spot a Failing Project naming these:
- Lack of interest – both customers and project team.
- Poor communication – formal or informal; also people not talking to each other.
- Lack of velocity – things not moving, not having a fast moving team.
- A “no bad news” environment – a culture where bad news is slow going upwards.
- Missing concrete signs – dashboard preventing the green-green-green and last minute red.
- Lots of overtime – working overtime, in free time, stress going up, health going down.
- Diversion of resources – people pulled off project, by management or themselves.
- Metrics missing – no use of standard metrics like cost ratio and schedule ratio.
- Milestones not met – from internal stepping stones leading to major ones like gates
- Scope changes – scope creep, seep or crush; requirements may change, though.
There’s more in 7 Signs Your Project is Headed for Failure focusing on vision:
- The “vision guy” leaves.
- There’s no Vision Guy in the first place.
- Everybody is “the Vision Guy.”
- Project goals less important than corporate politics.
- Nobody knows what success looks like.
- Expert input ignored.
- Anything risky rejected out of hand.
Do you recognise some of the above? Well, it is time you did something about it, then. But what? Stay tuned.
What is a social network endorsement worth? Just having revisited my own LikedIN page, I realized that I had received quite some from the people I know, worked with, or worked for. I have not given any endorsements as yet, although many of those folks who endorsed me deserved them as well. Somehow, I have a problem this reciprocal ‘liking’. If you do not fancy endorsements, you can choose to opt out. The opposite would be to get into endorsement generators or ‘endorsers’. Yes, they do exist, just google them up. There is a nice blog item on this: To Endorse or Not Endorse? It will enlighten you.
Your project does not work and you cannot figure out why. Is it possible that your team and you are victim to the Cargo Cult science? … They’re doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn’t work… Reading Richard Feynman’s commencement address given at Caltech in 1974 may give you some clues and inspiration.