“Lean” meets “Demand Management” in IT – Managing the Constraints

It has been a few months since I've posted, but I haven't been idle - two significant projects (aside from working very hard at the full-time job), only one of which I can talk a bit about at this time. Tomorrow (Thursday, 16 Feb 2012) , I am presenting at a conference on IT Portfolio Management in Rosemont, IL - a case study on how we use ideas from Lean Manufacturing and Demand Forecasting to solve a fairly common problem…

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If I Told You a Fractal Solution, Could You Change the CEO’s Mind?

As the new year approaches, debates over the "value" of IT and business projects intensify; it's not holiday stress, but the excitement of the approaching New [fiscal] Year. Lately, I'm hearing more about the struggle to quantify business value, especially when selecting those few projects that will "make the cut". We will definitely iterate on our scoring framework, adding a cost / benefit template to facilitate more apples-to-apples comparisons between projects (yes, don't scoff¬† - it is possible - more…

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Collaboration “in the Wild”: Some Observations

An Enterprise 2.0 dream scenario: implementing a complex project across multiple sites, in two different time zones, with a large team (well over 100). The team was reasonably savvy with collaboration tools; core team members were quite comfortable with Instant Messaging, and we have been relying on SharePoint for many months. A centralized, coordinated document repository; a single source, very public bugs/issues list - the foundation was in place for some time, so our "go-live weekend" experience was pleasantly predictable.…

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PMO Nirvana is a Conversation, not a Schedule

We continue to iterate on our PMO processes - managing too few resources and too many project requests, an environment I have consistently seen in every IT group I have ever worked with. Our latest discussion concerned the concept of FIFO work on projects ... ... when presented with five things to do, I will only [emphasis added] work on them in the order received. This is an exceedingly poor assumption for your personal run-rules, and a short-sighted objective for…

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Opportunistic Insights from the RSS Stream

I've written about using RSS for internal as well as external information sources. This past week, I found a couple of interesting tidbits in my feed reader (behind the firewall) ... Eyes on the Skies: It's that time of year again; oil price volatility will continue if any big storms create problems for refineries in the Gulf - something new to keep an eye on. Never fear - our friends at NOAA kindly put out an RSS feed for storm…

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Butting In to the Conversation: PM Communication Tools

Dennis McDonald and Lee White are conducting an interesting experiment on their blogs, crossposting a conversation about project management and social media. I'll add my voice, with both input on the topic and observations on the method. (Topic) The Right Tool for The Job - depends on the Job The first part of the conversation talks about whether social media could replace classic project management tools, in terms of communicating project status. I agree with Dennis - you can never…

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Three Business-Case Arguments for Agile, & The Moose On The Table

Another conversation at the start of the new year - this time in our PMO, concerning project prioritization and resource assignments. Many organizations follow a "parallel" model, launching multiple projects at any one time and working concurrently to move things forward. To be fair, this often occurs because we start work on one or two things, only to have additional worthy business requirements pop-up as time goes by. Unfortunately, we don't stop the first project or delay the second; most…

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Five Simple Rules for Project Names, plus Four Sample Lists

A recent post by Jeff Atwood about project names brought back memories of a previous employer, and the project naming convention we set up in our PMO. At this company, the IT group spawned maybe 30 to 50 chunks of work we would call "projects" - at least two calendar weeks in duration (anything smaller than that was just a programming request, and given a control number). Like any good PMO, we generated charters, mission statements, requirements, process maps, status…

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How to Cheat at the PMO Prioritization Game

Many will say their Project Management Office (PMO) has been established to promote "Best Practices for Project Management" - better work product, alignment with business strategic direction, etc. That may be partially true, but let's inject a little reality here ... many PMOs were created to help solve what I call the Dirt Bag problem - you can't fit 10 lbs of "dirt" in a 5 lb bag. I'm talking about the project prioritization process; I have 100 different project…

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