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Deep Work for Projects

We all know what it’s like, distractions seem to multiply when we have an urgent deadline looming. Distractions seemingly come from everywhere, colleagues appearing at our desks to ask questions, the seemingly continual ping of emails, IMs, Skype and Phone calls. Then there are all the distractions we instigate such as checking our mobile phone, Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn. All of these distractions eat away not only at our time but also our concentration, our focus and our ability to get the critical activity done. Read More

Communication Matters

I recently took my 3-year-old son to visit the optician.  Well, more accurately I took him to two different opticians.  No, I wasn’t looking for a second opinion on the diagnosis, I was looking for a better approach and better communication. The differences were staggering and, in the end, have influenced where my son and I will be repeat customers.  This experience provides a useful analogy for the way we all too often think about stakeholder communication on projects. Read More

What a ScrumMaster is not

“Who wants to be the ScrumMaster this Sprint?” was the question overheard towards the end a virtual stand-up on a project with a globally distributed team.  This question screams of a lack of understanding about Scrum. The role of ScrumMaster is not something that gets passed from person to person with each Sprint.  The ScrumMaster does not just organise and chair the meetings that form part of Scrum.   Neither is it a role equal to a Project Manager.  ScrumMasters are neither the boss of the team nor its administrative assistant.  The ScrumMaster is the team’s coach, trouble-shooter, problem solver and facilitator.
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Not all change is created equal

Traditional Project Management approaches focused very much on trying to control change.  A lot of emphasis gets placed on managing change requests, implementing change approval processes and assessing the costs associated with modifications.

With Agile we’re continually being reminded to embrace change.  The mindset has changed to one that recognises that an evolving solution will better meet the customer’s needs, and will get delivered more quickly and efficiently.
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Focus during meetings

The electronic world in which we now work is full of gadgets and electronic assistants that constantly vie for our attention.  Sadly, these very devices that were created to help us work and communicate more efficiently can sometimes work against us and affect both the quality of our communication and our work.  Agile methodologies place a lot of emphasis on communication and team interactions.  Consequently, distracted team members can cause problems for both the team and the project.
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Agile Control

Compliance and governance are becoming increasingly important to the organisation.   Consequently this is changing some of the ways that we work and the processes that we must follow.   It is therefore somewhat timely that Project Manager Today ( ran an interesting and relevant article in their April 2015 edition titled “Agile Control”.

These two terms, “Agile” and “Control” are often perceived as being in conflict with each other. The article argues that this is partly because both are often misunderstood and poorly implemented.

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