Project Management – The Key Skill of Analytics
By Abhinav Gupta
Analytics has been around ever since human race learned calculations but it has picked up steam in last few years owing to the hype and powerful marketing done by major internet firms.The term analytics refers to the ability to analyze something and to derive meaningful insights out of it. The insights need not be limited the in count or to a particular field. The insights can vary in size, number or in their relevance for the audience. In fact, if done beautifully, the insights can even lead to another discovery or an opportunity for further analytics.For example: the most recent escalation of one of the social media giants with regard to leaking users’ data to one of the analytics firms in Cambridge highlighted this field much more albeit through negative publicity.It seems that the firm was using this data and its analytics capability to help its customers fine-tune their marketing and advertising campaigns for political benefits. The ethical and lawful discussions on this matter will take a long time to settle down.But this episode does show us that analytics is a capability that has immense power to decide our future course of action and it should be used diligently and wisely.This is where Project Management becomes an important key skill for Analytics. That also explains why the new-age IT professionals are taking up project management courses like PMP to validate their skillsets.Why Project Management?Project management is a field dedicated to managing all the aspects of a project, program or key initiatives. If we consider Analytics as one of the projects within a company where, let’s say, we have been assigned a team.Now as a project manager, you will be required to manage the team dynamics, team communications, setting the team goals, understanding goals of business owners, governing ethics and rules of the game, punishing the culprits and rewarding the good players of the game.And the bottom line will rest with the Project manager, like it did with Mr. Zuckerberg.How to use project management skills for Analytics field?If you have been assigned as a project manager for the analytics project, immediately your goal should be multi-fold.1) Constitute the team in next few days: Any more delay in this matter will make it difficult for you to develop and deliver high-quality insights in time. Because as clichéd as it might sound, developing key insights by looking into data is no child’s play.2) Assign following roles within the team: Your team should have following members, and their responsibilities should be clear to them.Data gatherer: This person will be required to gather the data relevant to your project from all the required sources.Data validator: This person is responsible for making sure the data collected is in a good state to be consumed and is not incorrect. For this, the person will need to use various data validation programs and methodologies, before he/she confirms the data is consumable.Data organizer: Once you have the data collected, reviewed, validated and ready to be consumed, you need to organize it. Either in form of database tables, or queues or in plain simple excel but you need it organized. And in not only in 1 view or format but in multiple formats. But the key ingredient of delivering an insight comes from the ability to view the data from multiple angles and views; which views and angles will suit your needs best is decided by none other than a data scientist.Data scientist: The person everyone looks up to, the person who gets the maximum respect in Analytics project is a data scientist. This person supposedly knows all the algorithms, data crunching models, views and possible depictions of data. The Data scientist will guide your data organizers and programmers on the actual technical on the ground needs of the project.Programmers: Sharp technical people who know how to code and do it fast. Time is money when it comes to analytics.And some key people with good skills in talking to the data: None other than the project manager himself is best suited to play this role; as long as he/she is comfortable in working with data. I think this is given by default that any good project manager worth his/her salt is able to play with data and talk to it. Still, some people have an uncanny knack of going one step beyond and have the data talk to them. This is where no mathematical model or algorithm will help you. This knowledge and insight comes from observation, communication and being aware of the circumstances driving the project. And who else to have these things better under their control than the project managers themselves?Meet with key business owners of the project and understand their goalsExplain, iterate and re-iterate those goals with your teams especially data organizers, data scientist and programmersStart planning insight development and views on a unified dashboard for everyone to see.These are the top 5 work items that any project manager should do in order to have a working analytics project.3) Tying the loop:Needless to say, ensuring team respects the rules of the team, the correct hierarchical order is set and most important ethics are maintained whereby no consumer data is compromised, leaked or misused is again one of the most important responsibilities of a project manager.If the project manager is juggling multiple responsibilities in the team then the above can be delegated to an additional members known as team moderator.What a Project manager possesses that a Data Scientist can never have?Data scientists are a respected lot. They command respect and have authority wherever they go because they have the tools and techniques to bring out the best of data hidden under the layers of algorithms.But still, there is something a project manager that can make or break the insights that are going to come out of Data. And extra something is: Intuition.This intuition is what tells a project manager whether he should stop now or should the team dig deeper to gain more insights. This intuition is what tells the manager that a particular dead end in analytics [and you will encounter many in the journey] could be another opportunity for a breakthrough.This intuition is gained by the project in the following manner:Through experience. Nothing can beat experience. The experience of dealing with data is very critical here.Through observations. Observing the surroundings. Observing how data and systems interact with each other under different circumstances go a long way in developing the art of understanding data.And finally, through communication. In this case, communication with the business owners. For example, your team might be delivering a lot of insights by reading the data. And they could be right. But if this is what your business owners want then what use will those insights be off? So communicating frequently and keeping everyone on the same page is very important here.Final wordGaining insights from data through Analytics is not only science but an art, as well. It is a beautiful symphony that when played right, makes the data start unfolding itself in front of you without much effort; leaving you with treasures to be enjoyed and delivered.
based on 2 customer reviews
Project Management: Act On Action Items After Team Meeting
By Abhinav Gupta
Invariably, all team meetings start with the promise to achieve the mighty goals and a zest to have the decided action plan followed up; only to have zero or little progress even after substantial time passes by.There is something in those confines of the meeting rooms that brings the best of ideas and enthusiasm to make a difference in everyone. But as soon as the team walks out of that door, back to their desks or an informal tea break after the meeting, all the goals, visions and action plans fall by the wayside and life returns back to the same old way of working.Invariably, again, there will be some members in the team who would wonder about what really happened to that action plan that was supposed to make the project shine again and to remove all the blockers; only to be silenced by the non-response of majority of the team.More or less, the response will end with the generic statement that the Manager was supposed to revert with something on some item and there has no update ever since. All the while, the manager is awaiting inputs from the team itself.Have you ever faced such scenarios in your projects and team meetings? If not, then wonderful. Please leave a comment at the end of this blog and share your best practices with us audience unless they consist of corporal punishment for defaulting members. Not a bad thought, though but it will not work in a democracy and even lesser so in a professional environment.So how do we really ensure that team actually owns up to the action items and acts on it towards tangible outcomes after the team meeting?If you have also experienced this same feeling, then do read on.Been there and done that“Been there and done that” syndrome belongs to those conditions where we have tried to break the logjam of above problem by assigning ETAs [expected time to achieve] and owners of those items. That seemed to work up until 2010.Ever since that year, I have personally noticed that even holding people accountable for action items is not yielding any action unless they are grabbed by their collars [in extreme cases and we certainly don’t want to go there].So assigning ETAs and owners of those actions is not working anymore.Some of the managers I spoke with modified this approach with a fair bit of success used to have an “action item dashboard” showing in public view such as hallway with item owners clearly called out and their current status marked by Red, Yellow and Green Post-It notes.That trick worked for a whole and it still does but there is a catch in this too.For the first few days, it triggers action on the account of public visibility and it generates public interest also especially of passersby, but then after few days it dies a natural death and nobody gives it a second thought; only to have it replaced by another action plan that came out of another team meeting.The root causesAfter having spent more than a decade in human interaction patterns and ownership attitudes, I came to a conclusion that only 5% of action items fail due to a lack of enthusiasm or interest from the team members.That puts a whopping 95% in the questionable range as to why they do not materialize.I spoke with hundreds of team members on what constitutes as their reasons for not being able to follow through on their commitments of team meetings and following are the responses, arranged in descending order of vote count. I call them “Star struck pattern for Inaction” [copyrighted and Trade Mark by Abhinav Gupta]Those action items are inherently considered secondary to the project deliverables and hence, do not get enough bandwidth.The action items have a dependency on other individual or a group to revert back and that never materializesThe action item is currently blocked due to some technical or logistical issue and to unblock it, the said team members’ needs to invest time which simply is not available at hand.The team member is not able to understand how completing the assigned action item will help deliver the end goal, so the sense of urgency is not clear.The action item is theoretical and not feasible in the real world. So not following up on that.It requires the person to go out of his or her comfort zone and that is not going to happen sooner.The above 6 reasons contribute to 95% of action items not materializing out of team meeting. The remaining 5% can be accounted to the “3-Lack Syndrome” [copyrighted and Trade Mark by Abhinav Gupta]:Lack of interest in the action item itselfLack of Interest in the overall well-being of team, project, company or societyLack of Empathy since the problem does not affect them; yet!The proposed solution to this problemIt took me more than 5 years to fine tune this approach into something that delivers sustained output and results irrespective of project domain, team personalities, and action item variations.But before I start delving deeper into the solution, let us understand why the said approach works with better odds than other approaches.See, there is an underlying human tendency that evaluates the person assigning the task to them more than the task itself. If the organizer of the meeting and the corresponding person who assigned them the action items, that Is You, enjoys the trust and authority of the audience then the chances of getting the completion increases by a few basis points immediately.Then comes the second human tendency riding on top of the first one, that is, what is in it for me?Some team members are intelligent and mature enough to answer this particular questions for themselves in private. But some require a picture to be painted for them by the meeting organizer.It is important to understand that the answer for “what is in it for me?” need not be some reward or gold or money at the end of it. But a way that shows the audience that this whole exercise is going to benefit all of us and they are part of “US”.Once, these two subconscious barriers are crossed, it becomes very easy to get action items acted upon. But not entirely successful.Because one final frontier is left and that is the practicality of the action requested from the audience.Every individual is intelligent enough to understand whether something is feasible to be achieved in real time or not. Though some intelligent and bold individuals might be willing to push their efforts to achieve the unthinkable, but majority of the audience does not fall into that category.Hence it is the responsibility of the meeting organizer or the conductor to make sure that action items follow these patterns:They should be small enough to be achievableThey should follow a logical pattern of completion leading to the big picture achievementThe owners and their expectations are clearly understood along with the backup plansAnd most importantly, a personalized sync up with action item owners on a regular basis after the meeting is over.Most of us make the mistake of considering rough notes of our meeting discussion as action items and they get floated around in a Snapshot or email format to die a slow death of inaction.To get the action out of your action items, you need to understand the dynamics of the team, people personalities, goal of the meeting and your own personal investment in it.Because no one will invest their money in your project if you do not have any stakes invested in it. Ain’t it? Learn more about how you can emerge as a Project Management Professional everyone looks up to.Cheers! And All the best!
based on 7 customer reviews
Project Management: Juggling Agile with Waterfall
By Abhinav Gupta
I come from the days when Waterfall way of delivering projects was the de-facto standard. And it was successful, let me tell you.Then the competition started and new variations started coming up until we reached where we are today i.e. extreme Agile and ScrumOps.We have come a long way from the times where product release once a year was fine with everyone to the daily releases or incremental deployment was the expected quality of service standard.Coming to the crux of the matter:Have you ever faced a dilemma or moral questioning or a practical scenario where you asked yourself why are we pushing so hard to ship daily?Or your team asked you to schedule some items sequentially whereas the pressure on you from the top was to make them agile [read “parallel”]?Have you ever come across situations where your team members were executing project internally in a waterfall manner because it was simpler to do it that way?If yes, then please raise your hand and continue reading.If you have never encountered such situations then trust me you are blessed my friend! Please pass on the blessings to us by leaving a comment below with your experiences.The eternal fight between Agile Vs. WaterfallEver since Agile concepts came into being and helped us show a better way of executing projects, a battle ensued in the project management rooms.While some of the managers and companies were able to use Agile to the best possible results leading to a faster delivery, efficient services and others could not make much use of it. This is a well-known fact.Sooner, the discussions started getting centered around the points that Waterfall used to allow enough time to test before shipping, it helped ensure better quality for the consumers whereas the issues being reported by customers from field started to pile up for the Agile-run projects.I have been lucky enough to witness this transition from pure waterfall to pure Agile to a much more balanced Agile during my stint with world-renowned companies such as Microsoft et al.My own scales used to tip in favor of one concept only to tip towards another as I ran into issues!This frequent oscillation of my feelings, affinity, and common sense helped me understand a few things very clear and these were that:Agile was being blatantly misused in the name of faster development. And this was leading to a poor quality software being shipped to earn revenue fast and quick.Waterfall was being looked down in an unfair manner. It actually had a very mature way of delivering projects that was being run down by popular opinion.Quality was suffering and team morale was going down due to continuous pressure on them.My multiple conversations with my peers and experts in the industry revealed that they were experiencing similar pains. One of the research revealed that projects revenue had shot by a whopping 230% by switching to Agile mode, but the employee satisfaction dropped by 53% and the number of issues from the field jumped by 80%.Obviously, Agile is not going away, neither we are going to slow down to yearly shipping once again. So what do we do then?Juggling Agile with WaterfallI like to call it “Balanced Agile” [Trademark; Copyrighted by Abhinav Gupta, 2018].Balanced Agile is a concept that aims to help projects get back to health. Too much of everything is bad; isn’t it?Before I delve deeper into what “balanced Agile” entails, I would like you to know what benefits you will derive from juggling Agile with Waterfall efficiently:Your work life balance will improve. Chances of you working over the weekend or late nights will go down considerably.Your team will start respecting you once again and their motivation levels will go up certainly.The quality delivered will be a slight notch higher and your customers will feel better with lesser number of issues on ground.And trust me, it will not hamper your project margins. Agree there will be a slight slowdown on topline but those effects will be nullified with reduced cost for low productivity, better quality, and lesser live field issues. Don’t be surprised if you actually are able to increase your margins if done properly.How to strike the perfect balance?There are many ways with which you can implement Balanced Agile in your projects irrespective of domain. Whether you are handling a software project, hardware project, manufacturing project, anything can take benefit of this approach.I am assuming you would like to make this switch in your ongoing projects, so start with calling a series of post-mortem meetings that discuss the following items:Issues reported from fieldIssues reported in last 3 monthsMinimum 3 sittingsMake sure you actually know 5-Whys of the problem being reported.Review the redundant work items being done by the team in last 6 months.6 months duration helps make reasonable trendsThis feedback of redundancy should be taken from stakeholdersMake a list of top 50 items that are being used repeatedly but don’t have automationMake a list of top 25 items that are not adding any real value and can be merged with other activityReview team’s pulseAsk your team about their feedback on the overall project, product, managementExplain to them the intention of this exerciseIf they feel more comfortable in giving anonymous feedback then let them giveFinally, come up with a list of items that reduce project complexity if they are done sequentially instead with Agility. Because the trade-off you will do in this area will help you buy some extra quality and better customer reaction by letting go off some speed in project execution.Once you are done with these reviews you should come up with a plan on how you want to incorporate those change in your existing project wheel.But not before considering the impact on:ScopeCostScheduleResourcesYou need to have your stakeholders on boarded with these changes but above all, it is you THE PROJECT MANAGER who should be convinced with this plan. Only then you will be able to drive it to success else it will end up being just another initiative that bit the dust.Some examplesI will list out some of the common examples of items that are causing the pain to you, your customers and team. These are collated based on my experience from my projects.Items that commonly are redundant or lead to time wastage:Daily status meetingsSeparate sync up calls with entire team to discuss issues being faced by only a couple of membersToo many approvals or organizational hierarchy in your team or companyTeam deadlock where one team member is dependent on another but that person is unavailableItems that can improve team efficiency without creating extra burden:Cross training. Helps the team members reduce the dependency on each other. It comes in handy in unexpected situations.It helps the team members improve their skill repository leading to a better resume. That way you get support from the team as well.25-Minute sprint review meeting. Focus only on the good things for the first 10 minutes then delve into things that could be improved for the next 10 minutes followed by last 5 minutes to summarize. 1) Remember this meeting is not to discuss people but to focus on highlights and low lights. 2) I have intentionally kept it for 25 minutes. So because it creates a psychological goal for us to be efficient.Items that are most commonly reported from field:A feature that used to work earlier is not working anymore or in other words, a new way of doing things is not easy to use. This comes under scenario engineering.Good amount of field issues are also due to lack of proper customer training. So you should focus on that as well.Guided tours help in such situations.I hope my post on how you can juggle Agile with Waterfall in a seamless manner for better results. I will certainly look forward to hearing your experiences through the comments section or you can write to me on email@example.comAll the best!
based on 4 customer reviews
A Beginner’s Guide To Project Management – Part 1
By Abhinav Gupta
PMP, Prince, PMBoK, Templates, deadlines, communications, charter, review books, meetings and what not! Project management is a heavy duty exercise that takes up so much involvement from a person yet most of the time it is a thankless work [from my personal experience]. And that is because excellence in this field is considered as expected. Hence the chances of you failing or letting someone down are very high.
In this post, let me share with you some of the tips and tricks to make project management easier for you based on my 11 years of experience in this field. I have been burnt many times and hurt quite a few times. And excelled multiple times.
The basic problem with Project Managers
The basic problem with project managers is they are a pain in the neck [for the lack of better term] for their team. They nag their team members and leads constantly about cost, schedule and most often ask them to work overtime or on the weekend.
Aren’t these the reasons why we used to hate our project managers when were engineers?
And trust me, these are the reasons your team does not like you now.
After being on both sides of the fence in my career, I can now totally understand the pain and pressure project managers go through.
We are also human beings and we do not want to harass our team by constantly asking them to provide tracking data, validation arguments, and checking costs. But due to our circumstances, we have no option.
So why do we do this? Because we don’t have any better way to do it.
But not anymore. Let me tell you some of the tips that will help you.
Steps of IPECC
In order to help align your thoughts with the management tips and tricks, let me go in order of the IPECC [Initiation, Planning, Execution, Control and Closure] areas.
8 challenges affecting software project management | CIO #PMOT #ProjectManagement https://t.co/r1rG9oeL5n
— Project Insight (@ProjectInsight) May 5, 2016
How to save time and escape problems in Project Initiation?
Many would think that project initiation stage is very simple and small to bother anyone. You are right.
But the real danger of this stage occurs during the control stage wherein you try to control escalating costs, off-track schedule and suddenly you get to know that people who made the charge have moved on and are unanswerable, or you do not have the same amount of control you thought you would have.
Has this happened to you? If yes, then read on.
If this has never happened to you, then keep the notes handy with you as you could be next!
Trust me! No one gets spared!
Tip # 1: Take control of the project, officially.
After you have been assigned a particular project, take it in writing from the project sponsors. The written confirmation should have the following things clearly mentioned in it:
The duration of your engagement in the project
The clause of renewal
The success criteria of the project
What you are authorized to do
The things you are not authorized to do
And that written confirmation should be signed by the project sponsors with the dates.
This confirmation need not be in a single document; although it is preferable.
Tip # 2: Know the people who can influence your project
Officially this is known as stakeholder register. But I am not talking about that one. I am talking about something more sinister, a hidden plot to derail you that is unfolding while you are focusing on your project.
I am kidding!
But I mean business when I say that you should know of all the forces that can influence your project either personally or professionally. They could be your friends, foes, colleagues or family.
Always keep a map ready in your mind that tells you who can add up to your strengths and who might be the cause of your downfall.
This will also help you distinguish between a well-meant scolding and a misleading appreciation.
Tip # 3: Plan in chunks, the smaller the better
If you straight away create a plan that covers all aspects, all scenarios from start to finish, then it will definitely please your seniors. But it will harm your team as the plans would become outdated soon.
If you choose to go just in time approach for planning, then you might be the cause of bottleneck for your team.
So here’s what you need to do:
Prepare a broad outline of all the things you need to cover
Along with the detailed plan of the very next stage your team needs to do
Run these 2 items with your seniors to get their buy-in, in writing of course.
Then share these plans with your team ensuring that your leads are completely on-board with your plans.
This way your planning will always be one step ahead of the team’s progress and not be outdated at the same time.
Tip # 4: Involve your team in planning
I would like to say, teams that plan together sail together.
Else you run the burden of multiple project meetings, getting sign-offs and commitment issues from the team.
By including the team in your planning, you achieve following things:
Complete and real picture of ground reality that allows your plan to be as close to reality as possible
You get to know bad apples and good apples in the team first hand by means of their interaction during the planning
You gain firsthand knowledge of dynamics within the team
The Team buys into the plan because they have helped create it
This way you will be saving a lot of time from recurring meetings, review, pushing people to get things done and conflict management.
Tip # 5: Get in external reviewers early in the game
By getting external reviewers early in the game, you safeguard yours and the team’s interests in multiple ways. Let me elaborate:
The viewpoints of external reviewer will allow you to dispassionately review the project and deliverables and thus create a higher quality of products.
The team is fully aware that no amount of politicking or gaining favors with management will allow them to escape from an independent external review and thus, self-quality control.
In tough times, when your decisions and approach of the team will be questioned by stakeholders, these records of external validations will help you present your case on a strong foot.
The External review will help you forecast trends and upcoming challenges early in the game.
If we do not opt to do this earlier than in times of escalations, the external agencies are looped anyways by the investigating committees and at that time, you have no say in the matter and you cannot stop the vested interests from bringing external auditors of their choice.
So take a bold step and involve external reviewers early in the game and document every review with findings, actions taken by the concerned people.
These are just 5 tips to handle initiation and planning aspects of project management in a smarter manner that helps your cause and reduces the number of brickbats that you get from teams.
Stay tuned for more such tips and tricks in the upcoming posts on “beginner’s guide to project management”.
based on 38 customer reviews
ITIL Practitioner – Things To Be Aware Of
By Abhinav Gupta
ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library and it is a set of libraries to help professionals cover different aspects of managing an IT Service project. Whether you provide a service as a vendor company or your product is marketed as a service to the world; in both cases, ITIL framework is suitable.
Currently, Version 3 of ITIL framework is in existence and it contains 5 volumes dealing with Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Operation, Service transition and continual service improvement. This existing version known as ITIL V3 came into being in the year 2011.
Initially, ITIL framework categorized the professionals into foundation course, intermediate level, expert level and master level. However, in the year 2015, AXELOS introduced one supplementary certification known as ITIL practitioner. This certification is meant to complement the professionals who are already on their way to become an Expert or a Master and in no way is it compulsory for them to clear it.
However, it will add 3 credit points to your journey of becoming an expert if you choose to add this to your profile. And it will add 15 points to your ITIL badge for professional competency development.
Must-read primer on the new ITIL Practitioner Guidance via @stephenmann https://t.co/LDb46lcRfp @Joe_the_IT_guy pic.twitter.com/vmM9RX2kUO
— Greg Sanker (@gtsanker) March 9, 2016
I am a newbie, please tell me about ITIL Practitioner level
By the term newbie, I am considering anyone who has heard about ITIL certification framework, or might have come across some ITIL professionals in their network or official circles but does not know exactly what it entails.
First of all, ITIL practitioner level was introduced by the governing council not only to add one stepping stone for the professionals who are familiar with the definitions and technical terms of ITIL Course, but also, to allow them the additional benefit of understanding how to apply these terms and knowledge in the real world.
Practitioners are professionals who understand the ITSM [Information Technology Service management] framework, know how it fits the big picture and how to use it. These professionals are the ones who use this knowledge on a daily basis as part of their projects.
In order to become an ITIL practitioner, one needs to clear the ITIL foundation exam. However, being practitioner level certified is not compulsory to attempt becoming Intermediate level certified.
What knowledge is contained in ITIL framework in general or for ITIL Practitioner?
In version 2 of ITIL framework, there used to be a certification for “ITIL service practitioner”; in version 3, that has been removed and this ITIL Practitioner is different from that one. So do not get confused. Both are different from each other.
Additionally, out of the 5 volumes of ITIL framework, Service strategy volume is considered to be the core of ITIL framework and once you develop the understanding of all 5 volumes, I am sure you will agree with me too.
In the upcoming post, I will briefly speak about this point.
ITIL practitioner exam consists of 40 scenario-based questions that you have to answer in the form of multiple choice questions within 135 minutes. This is an open book exam where you are allowed to carry the ITIL practitioner guide with you. You need to have 70% marks to be certified as ITIL practitioner.
Once you subscribe to the course of ITIL practitioner, you will get access to ITIL core library providing you an information about planning to implement service management, ITIL practitioner guide and a toolkit containing existing publication, worksheets, templates, case studies, and scenarios.
These resources will not only help you in clearing the exam, but will also prove useful to you in your day-to-day work.
Which job roles are most suited for the ITIL certified and how will it help me and my organization?
As you must have understood by now, if you are working in a service-based, information technology industry then this framework is useful for you. But if you are working in any of these job roles then it is highly recommended to get ITIL certified:
IT managers or Support staff
Consultants or Architects
Service application developers
It will help you in two ways:
It will help you make informed and educated decisions about process, practices to be followed in your project
It will increase the weightage of your resume, leading to better job prospects, especially for the UK-based clients.
It will help your clients and company in a way that they will get the confidence that their project is in better hands, they can rely on you to provide a standard way of delivering the “service”.
So overall, it helps everyone.
How can an #ITIL qualification help you advance your career? #ITjobs https://t.co/CT4aY8MoJf
— IT Governance (@ITGovernance) January 25, 2018
Adopt and Adapt – What is it?
“Adopt and Adapt” – Sounds like a mantra given by some great marketing guru or a lesson from elite Management class, isn’t it? Well, it could be. But in this context, this is the guiding principle of ITIL.
ITIL framework is one of the main proponents of this concept that states that once you understand a new or better practice, whether it is from ITSM library or from industry, then you adopt it in your project.
But before doing so, you need to apply your domain knowledge, your existing constraints and your upcoming opportunities, to modify that practice to make it suitable for your needs.
Since ITIL does not believe in the concept of one size fits all, therefore, adaptation is necessary. Else you are doomed to failure through the same means that you hoped to use for your success.
While adapting, you also need to review your existing strategy, your transition plans, and your existing processes to know if there is a redundancy. And if such redundancy exists then you need to apply your critical thinking or even call for a brainstorming session and merge the processes into a single and a more effective way.
This is “Adopt and Adapt” way of working for ITIL professionals.
Lastly, what other benefits will I gain if become an ITIL practitioner?
First of all, you will learn how to apply the knowledge of ITIL framework to the real-world projects on the ground. So in short, you will gain practical experience.
And as we all know, theory and practice differ vastly from each other.
One more benefit is that you will be able to help other individuals in your project and company to leverage continually and improve the service through measurements and maximize benefits by taking the right steps.
And most importantly, you will be able to integrate well with the ITIL community and will be on a firm step towards your journey of becoming an expert or a master.
So should I take this certification and become an ITIL practitioner?
Yes, You should!
If you are an Information technology professional dealing with service-related projects or products, then you should get ITIL Practitioner certified.
KnowledgeHut is a certified and approved knowledge training provider to help you get certified. Contact support staff at KnowledgeHut to get enrolled.
All the best!
based on 2 customer reviews
10 deadly myths of Agile and Scrum
By Abhinav Gupta
Agile and Scrum have been conquering the minds of engineers, managers especially from software industry quite effectively since last few years. The impact is so much so that every software engineer thinks that if he/she is not working on an Agile or Scrum project, their career is not going anywhere!
Sounds funny, right?
It surely is, but so is the reality of this fact.
Agile and Scrum have become so pervasive in our thought process that we as engineers or managers or product owners do not stop to ask ourselves once if we really need any Agile methodologies to complete the project at hand or not. We simply assume that we are going to follow Agile and Scrum.
While I do not have any problem with Agile or Scrum as such, I do have concerns when I see people following things that are wrong; wrong as in incorrect even from an Agile manifesto perspective.
These bad practices or even myths [as we can safely call them due to lack of a better word] have crept in due to our insufficient understanding of the manifesto or Scrum alliance guidelines owing to the rush of getting onto the Agile train before it leaves us high and dry. And the impact of this short sightedness is the fact that we are adhering to mistakes in project execution techniques based on some popular concepts, because no one knows they are myths and have no resemblance to truth.
It is possible that these mistakes might be causing the issues in your project execution.
Through this article, I am trying to share with you some of the most common myths or misunderstandings that people have with respect to Agile and Scrum.
Myths and Legends of Agile- only software? via @adrian_stalham #waterfall #scrum #agile pic.twitter.com/TDXFrSthUC
— Pat Lynes (@patlynes) 10 October 2017
Do go through them and let me know your take on this.
Myth 1: Anybody can become a scrum master
Reality: A Scrum Master is supposed to be the person who does not involve personally into the discussions going on in the sprints and daily stand-ups and keeps his eyes on the goal even when emotions are running high during the Scrum meeting. So yes, anybody can become a Scrum Master playing many roles as long as they have emotional intelligence to deal with the varied opinions, discussions, and tendencies to derail the team away from the goal.
Hence, in reality, emotional intelligence is the most important prerequisite to become a Scrum Master.
Myth 2: More meetings mean Scrum is going well
Reality: Scrum was supposed to be meeting-free except for the 5 known time boxed events [kick off, planning, scrum status, review, and post-mortem]. Apart from this, there are no more meetings required. And if your schedule is filled with multitude of so-called short meetings, then it is a clear sign that something is not right in the way Scrum is being done in your team.
Hence, the reality becomes, more meetings mean your Scrum is going ‘into’ the ‘well’.
Myth 3: Daily scrum meeting is same as the status meeting.
Reality: Nothing could be further from the truth and intention if we think that daily scrum meeting is same as that of status meeting. It is not!
You must have seen multiple instances where team members give updates on what we did yesterday and what we plan to do today; they discuss issues and leave assuming that today’s scrum was successful.
In reality, that is a failure.
Scrum meeting is supposed to get together and quickly review the overall progress of the project based on efforts till last night against the end goal of project and quickly gauge if we are on track or not.
That is followed by status meeting, where today’s tasks are quickly distributed along with the status check of in-flight items.
That’s how it should be.
Myth 4: Velocity and Value are the same thing.
Reality: This is so wrong on many fronts. This assumption implies that if a work is being done quickly then it is taking us towards the end goal. Is that true?
Say a team member is creating automation with high velocity. But is it taking you closer towards shipping the product by the end date? No right?
Similarly, during Scrum meetings, we focus on the Value of work being done. It is possible that 100% of yesterday’s efforts might have contributed to 10% of total value. That is fine, as long as your idea of velocity and value is clear.
Velocity is checked during status meeting; just to be clear. Velocity leads us to Value.
Myth 5: Only a technical person can become a Scrum master
Reality: I want to correct that statement by saying a technical person can be made a Scrum master as long as they can ensure that they do not let their technical impulses interfere with their duties of being a Scrum Master.
If that cannot be guaranteed, then it is better to choose a non-technical person to be a Scrum Master because they can then ensure that the discussions do not cross the time limits and the meeting’s focus remains sharp.
Myth 6: Sprint 0 is a must
Reality: These days it has become a norm to have the first sprint as a “blank Sprint” to allow teams to do dry runs and become accustomed to the system. This is a bad practice that has come into being due to the fact that the client, leadership and sometimes the managers put unfair and immense pressure on engineering teams to start delivering from day 1 or week 1. So the concept of Sprint 0 crept in where these stakeholders are given the confidence that something is happening and the team is buffered from pressure.
So what should be done in such cases? It is better to open a dialogue with stakeholders and take time for planning rather than calling it as Sprint 0 which actually goes against the values of Agile and Scrum.
Myth 7: Scrum projects are faster to produce output and cheaper to execute
Reality: Yes this is true. But only if you are using them in the right environment. If you implement these practices for a wrong project, you can be assured of cost and schedule overrun to happen with a lot of production bugs.
For example, you can use Agile and Scrum for mobile App development, but it is not a good fit for Operating system development. Or it can be used for road construction projects, but it cannot be done for Dam construction projects.
Myth 8: Sprint backlog is a commitment that has to be honored in all circumstances.
Reality: Wrong! Sprint backlog is a collection of work items that you wanted to complete in each sprint, but it is not mandatory to finish it 100%. This means you need not make weekends working or force people to spend long hours in office to complete the sprint backlog. If there is a Sprint backlog remaining at the end of Sprint, then it simply means either the planning was not correct or there were unexpected capacity issues in the team and you need to fix them properly.
In such cases, the backlog moves back to Product backlog to be considered in future sprints based on its priority.
Don’t bite more than you can chew!
Myth 9: Quality can be compromised for faster deployment or shipping.
Reality: We all have been seeing this around us; sometimes in our own projects. Yet we choose to look other way and claim that quality was ensured throughout the process. Don’t we notice that these days softwares are having way too many bugs? We brush them aside by saying that software has become really complex these days so this is expected. But in reality, this is a direct outcome of our rush to deliver earlier than we had time to properly make it. Quality should not be compromised in lieu of shipping the product.
Always set the KPIs before the start of project and ensure quality measures up to those KPIs [Key Performance Indicators] throughout and especially before shipping the software or product.
Myth 10: 0 backlog means Scrum was success
Reality: If this was the case then why did that product fail to make any money? Running through the complete list of to-do items and getting a sense of accomplishment is one thing but it does not ensure success unless you made all along the way that you were making the right thing.
And that is measured by the concept of value and quality and this is where Scrum Master and Product Owner play the most important roles.
So the next time you are going to start a project and want to use Agile and Scrum, step back and analyze the scenario. Ask yourself about the best fit for the project and make sure you don’t fall into these traps of Myths.
All the best!
based on 20 customer reviews