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Questions tagged [planning]

This tag is for questions that involve planning a project schedule or planning tasks for the team.

88
votes
9answers
36k views

How to estimate amount of work/man hours for an unfamiliar task?

Sooner or later we come across a task in our project, with which we are totally unfamiliar ('we' as in PM, but also possibly the staff assigned to do this particular task). How can we estimate ...
25
votes
6answers
2k views

Any tips on how to 'sell' the necessity of dealing with technical debt to nontechnical stakeholders?

A number of stakeholders do not quite understand the necessity of dealing with technical debt preferring new features on top of not very maintainable code. Development is sometimes seen as kids who ...
25
votes
7answers
4k views

Is PMP certification an appropriate career goal for someone about to start a career in project management?

Is PMP certification a requirement for a successful career in Project Management? At which point would it be appropriate for a newly starting project manager to plan to include PMP certification?
24
votes
7answers
2k views

Is there any data to show planning poker produces better estimates than individuals?

As described here planning poker is a group estimating process. It seems that it would work.But is there any data to show that it is better than individual estimation? Edit 4/19/11: I am interested ...
20
votes
6answers
2k views

How do you manage technical debt?

In real world, business initiatives always take higher priority as there are associated ROIs and deliver something tangible to the users. But there are technical initiatives and projects that need to ...
19
votes
5answers
4k views

How should a team handle disagreements about story-point estimates in Scrum?

During estimation, the Product Owner presents a user story that seems clear to a team that usually knows their strengths and weaknesses, and that is not hostile. What should the Scrum Master do if the ...
18
votes
5answers
8k views

Planning poker on virtual teams

I'm looking for a way to make it easier to perform planning poker on a virtual team (i.e. a team that is not co-located with one another). Requirements for a successful planning poker: Since we're ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

SCRUM Sprint and tasks/user stories that cannot fit into a sprint!

Say I have an Epic that is estimated to take 3 sprints to do. And the Epic is broken down into A to Z tasks/user stories. Problem is, to do B, we need A, to do C we need B, etc.... And in sprint ...
15
votes
7answers
6k views

How should a project manager capture decisions?

As a project goes through the planning and design phases, many decisions will be made. To develop with technology X instead of technology Y. To leave feature z off of the plan for this version of the ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

How do you schedule maintenance work in Scrum?

What are some of the different patterns you use to schedule maintenance work (any non-feature work like bug fixes, technical debt reduction, etc.)? In our organization, we've considered mash-ups of ...
14
votes
5answers
10k views

How to timebox Spikes using story points?

My original question was raised here: In Scrum, how to estimate research stories? and as suggested by @CodeGnome I created a separate question. In my opinion Spikes should be time-boxed as there is ...
13
votes
6answers
624 views

Advice for a young programmer on creating programming estimates

I'm a young programmer who has recently gotten a job at a company that is small but loves programming estimates. Since giving good estimates has been a problem for me in the past I'm happy about this ...
13
votes
6answers
1k views

What can I do to mitigate the risk presented by moderately skilled developers?

We are about to start a new project which is very serious. That will be a mobile project, and the target users is the whole population of a country. The client expects more than 1 million downloads ...
13
votes
2answers
35k views

In MS Project, can I create a task whose duration depends on two milestones?

I want to show an ongoing "support" task in MS Project, where the start date is driven by one milestone (test environment available), and the end date is set by another milestone (testing complete). I ...
13
votes
7answers
771 views

Proof that badly scheduled meetings hurt productivity

I have a friend who is a developer. He is very stressed out by his manager, who seems addicted to meetings. The volume of meetings is a problem, but what is more of a problem is that they are spaced ...
13
votes
4answers
258 views

Eliciting Requirements as a Client

Background: I am a computer science student and am currently employed as a programmer for a health institution. Recently we discovered the need for a project which is beyond a 1-man job (I am their ...
12
votes
8answers
13k views

Why Project Management is so hard? [closed]

I know a lot of Project Managers and they are all over 30 years old. Are all project managers like that? I mean, is this about getting more experience than at least 7-8 years? Or being a Project ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Is PM considered a billable resource?

In a software development firm that I work for, contracts are billed based on 3 items: Design, Development, and PM. Example: A simple software project could take 200 hours and would be broken down ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

During a sprint, should we try to achieve 100% user story completion or 100% productivity

We know that during every sprint, the team's primary goal is to achieve 100% completion of user stories which are part of the sprint backlog. But what happens in practice is that, development should ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

how to handle multiple project managers?

I am a team leader. My team handles multiple projects. Each has a different project manager. Our priorities keep changing according to deals the company is about to close. The project managers ...
12
votes
5answers
372 views

PM learns deliverable is vaporware, team has been hiding it from the client & want PM to lie to client also.

I will TRY to keep this simple. I was brought on this project approx. 1/2 way through to fill the role of CM DB SME(20+yrs broad based experience). The PM (non-technical by his own admission) ...
12
votes
6answers
653 views

Why use iterations in Scrum?

I am a Scrum Master in a 7 person team. We currently use one-week iterations for our sprints. I find that sprint planning overhead is huge (2 hours each week for entire team), and not nearly as ...
12
votes
4answers
318 views

What techniques are useful when factoring in the likelihood that one or more members of the team may take leave during a project?

What's the best way of planning for the possibility that a key member(s) of the team might want to take leave at some point during a project? I understand one solution is to buffer the project ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

What level of detail should I include in epics?

I am writing user stories for a new project. One of my epics is: As a company owner I want a graphical profile so I can build my visual identity. And then there are multiple user stories linked to ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Communicating requirements to offshore teams

Just to give a context, there is an offshore team in India for a client in San Francisco. The offshore team is about 9 developers and 4 QA, with one project manager. I am doing onsite coordination for ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Where to get general info on Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)?

I work in a software development company. I have this major ticket for which I have to produce a WBS (Work Breakdown Structure). I also have to prepare an estimation for the ticket. The ticket deals ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Is it possible to forecast when a scrum team will complete the product backlog?

This question is related to this question but I couldn't find this part answered there. I am part of a large project whose entire product backlog has been sized in story-points. The estimate is ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

My customer is pushing me very hard to come up with a fully detailed fine grained almost by hour work plan

I know this is likely to fail almost by definition, but I don't really have an suitable alternative. Currently we are working almost exactly the opposite way, with a 8 items work plan, but we are ...
11
votes
7answers
2k views

Accuracy of Estimates

Aclear16, on an answer from another question, brought up the notion of accuracy of estimates. In my view, this notion is nonsensical; however, we talk about this often in PM circles. In an ...
10
votes
3answers
556 views

How should we plan work on support issues without a “battery”?

We are working on a very old project with a lot of legacy code. This means that we have around 3-5 unplanned issues every Sprint. We were handling that with "batteries": time set aside for ...
10
votes
15answers
2k views

Is planning software necessary?

Is planning software necessary? Can you plan your project without one?
10
votes
5answers
321 views

How to communicate with project leaders when they are doing poorly

I have been on multiple projects where the project leaders have not involved themselves in the project enough to even learn what the project is really doing. Other times the project leaders didn't ...
10
votes
3answers
203 views

When a PM goes on holiday, what can they expect when they get back to convince that the project has not suffered?

Partway through a project and a significant holiday kicks in for the PM. What should the PM take their temporary replacement through before they go - and what should they expect to be handed back ...
10
votes
2answers
392 views

Ongoing Development and Maintenance: Should I break it up into small projects, or keep one open project and keep adding milestones?

I have to manage ongoing development and maintenance of a client's web domain. There are many ideas for features to add in the future. I was wondering what the best practice would be for an ongoing ...
10
votes
2answers
21k views

What percentage of a project manager's time should be spent working in the project management software and documentation?

What percentage of the project manager's time is spent planning, writing tasks, and tracking time in the project management software? How much time should be given to documentation? Every position ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Software tool for resource pipeline planning for multiple projects [closed]

My company has about 20 - 30 open projects at any given time, as well as 5 - 10 that have been approved and will start within the next few weeks. We currently use Basecamp to manage the projects and ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Participants of sprint planning meeting - Is it essential to involve part-time team members

I'm currently in the process of getting my team in a position to start using Scrum and Sprints within the next couple of weeks - I intend on taking on the role of Scrum Master as long as everyone on ...
9
votes
4answers
371 views

Customer seems to be too busy to do regular meetings

We're doing Agile development, and even though we are not going as strict as Scrum, we'd like to keep the sprint planning meeting so that the customer is able to prioritize on business values for each ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

How do you plan for risks in your project's estimates?

I have been working on the risk-management topic in software development for a while. According to the different literature there could be knowns knowns (typical risks), known unknowns (product ...
9
votes
8answers
1k views

Are processes and procedures only for enterprises?

I've had the opportunity to work at quite a few start-ups. One thing I've found to be common in them is adhoc way of doing things and ignorance towards processes, best practices and known project ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there Scrum ceremony for planning Technical Details on an Agile Project?

Specifically, if we assume that the team spend a day on Sprint Planning using the 4-8 hours of planning for each week of our sprint formula then that doesn't really seem like enough time for the team ...
8
votes
4answers
276 views

Is WIFO a good project management method?

Is WIFO (Worst In, First Out) a good project management method? That is, should projects always prioritize work on the part or component that is the worst? Will WIFO make project quality more even by ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Scrum: Cancel or change a sprint

The Scrum method defines that the content of a sprint cannot be changed. But can a sprint be cancelled while it's done? I mean, it's unlikely to happen and probably shows really bad planning skills by ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Estimating user stories at the start of the project so that the PM can determine a quote for the client

Recently I have started to work on a team in a new project. Our company is attempting to run things in an Agile manner. The project team consists of 4 developers each from different teams and with ...
8
votes
4answers
368 views

Resources used by multiple PMs

I am the Infrastructure PM on a large project, working as part of a team of PMs with different responsibilities. These include Development, Testing, Environment Support, and Implementation. My remit ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

How to organize multiple releases/feature sets

I'm the product manager for two of my company's application sets, and I've been running into some difficulties trying to manage future releases and how best to move them around. If I have version 2.2 ...
8
votes
5answers
504 views

What is the difference between metric and KPI?

I know that KPI is a metric and metric is not necessarily a KPI, but I still don't understand the difference between these two. Let's take Periscope application as an example. What are possible KPI ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

How to link Scrum release backlog to conventional project plan (MS project) in keeping sprint benefits?

We use the Scrum methodology for our software development. Since software development isn't the core activity of our company, and since this company isn't agile methods oriented yet, I need, as the ...
7
votes
8answers
543 views

What is the preferred number of tasks to assign?

I am going to lead a small team for the first time in my career and I am determined to not subject my team to the same issues that I perceive to have been subjected to as a programmer. This question ...
7
votes
6answers
5k views

How to handle user stories that cannot be split and do not fit even a 30 days long sprint?

Given a small team (3 people or so) and a technically challenging area (e.g. middleware, embedded software etc.), and Assuming that a user story is a smallest thing that has value for the end user, ...