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Conversation is Not Inherently Disruptive I work with a team of developers who are talented but often distract each other with chit-chat. You say they are "talented but distracted." What makes you think they are talented? Why do you think they are distracted? What is your metric for determining that the team or the process is operating at a sub-optimal ...


27

It sounds like you have team members from high power distance cultures. People may not speak up when the boss is in the room because their values require them to listen and follow, not to advise or lead. You may even notice it happening between junior and senior team members or between yourself and team members. Read more about power distance here: https://...


23

I think Retrospective is more appropriate name in this case Imho, project is dead when it has been aborted (or abandoned), if it has been successfully deployed then the project is very much alive (the code is there and it works!).


23

compare to other colleagues and feel insulted. The other two answers are good - but this confuses me. When I've done stakeholder analysis, the process has been open and participatory. There shouldn't be any value judgement. Power and influence are closely related to budget and participation. If a given stakeholder feels that the graph shows them as less ...


22

No, don't even think about taking someone's phone. If they're looking at their Facebook account or personal Twitter account during a meeting, then you have a bigger problem, and the solution most likely would involve possibly trying to recruit and hire the right kind of people; ideally, those who are capable of acting like adults. However, one thing ...


18

that's a very pertinent question! I'd rephrase it in a slightly different way: Why people don't pay enough attention to meetings? The usage of mobiles (or any other gadgets) just for distraction (at least in the meetings I've been to) is mainly because people don't believe the meeting is useful. So, instead of trying to solve the consequence, I'd suggest ...


15

Person-month is politically correct synonym for Man-month. It's mean amount of work performed by the average worker in one month. So, if: project requires 12 persons-months of development time all team members do only pure development activity (i.e. they are telepaths and they don't need to spend time for communication with each other). [note: this is not ...


15

I personally don’t like tools you have to hide. This leads to mistrust and if it leaks (for whatever reason) you are in trouble. So we started 20 years ago to use a technique which is called project environment analysis (AKA extended stakeholder analysis). The tool is simple and efficient and is part of the open accessible project handbook and is also used ...


15

Analysis There is a chilling effect when he is here. Am I overreacting? Should I just try to build up the confidence of the team? or should I ban my boss from the retrospective? In my experience, this is a classic case of missing the forest for the trees, and mistaking process problems for interpersonal ones. Let's enumerate some of the issues that ...


14

You are actually in an enviable position in that you have a client who is engaged enough to get involved. My problem is usually one of getting that kind of attention. Depending on the complexity of the documents and the size of the team you are probably saving more time (outside of travel) going through this FTF than dealing with it through email because: ...


12

As Thomas Owens noted, one of the solutions to scaling up Scrum is the Scrum of Scrums. What you describe in the OP, however, is different: We've tried that each team delegates an "ambassador" who participate on the others' stand-up too but in that case the info flow was not the best. Instead of each team sending an ambassador to other teams' daily Scrum,...


11

Command-and-Control vs. Self-Organizing Teams Should I collect all the phones before a meeting? ...I don't want to punish everyone just because a few people can't pay attention[.] It depends. Are you facilitating a meeting between adults, or babysitting kids? If you treat adults like kids, then you abandon all hope of creating teams where people step up ...


11

The Problems Reading between the lines a bit, it would seem that you have a few related issues. Your "team" is too large to be truly agile. You may want to consider splitting up into cross-functional tiger teams with a focus rather than a multi-project, matrixed organization. The purpose of your stand-up hasn't really been defined. Truly agile stand-ups ...


10

Every industry has lingo. It slowly evolves and becomes a sort of sub culture of the industry itself. Even if technically not correct in terms of a literal definition or even proper grammer, it becomes okay and common and accepted. So, no matter how any of us dissect the word, I doubt any of us can say we have never heard anyone use post mortem in our ...


10

option 1: it might work if you make these standups extremely quick and efficient (15 min is the maximum, standup could be much shorter) option 2: sounds like a disaster to me; having so many people and projects, it would be impossible to process it all in a meaningful way and still keep it under 15 minutes; you might end up with long boring "standups" (I've ...


10

I don't know why aclear16 deleted his answer. His answer is perfect. There are a ton of positives with idle, unproductive time by way of teaming. It matures the team and you want that. I'd even go as far to say that, if you are running behind, let the social time continue because the positive aspects of that will help, not hurt. And likely the down time was ...


10

Great project management is not about hitting your targets 100% of the time. Much of our performance is probabilistic where many of the drivers of our results are out of control and very random. Missing your targets becomes a problem if it became a surprise for you as the PM and your customer. If you were monitoring properly, such as using critical path ...


10

Your Capacity Planning and Prioritization Processes Need Re-Engineering You appear to be attempting to solve the wrong problem by treating this as an individual-availability issue. This is most likely because you have a weirdly-matrixed organization that isn't based around project teams or team capacity planning, but apparently based on the notoriously ...


9

The easy solution is to have only one standup which is for the team. My recommendation is to talk about only the upcoming work and focus on those issues which my cause some troubles later on such as cross-project tasks, integration tasks, tasks which are on the board for a long time. With this approach the three personal oriented questions need to be ...


9

The downsides that you mention could just as easily be applied to project teams if you continue to have different groups siloed. It's a threat to productivity and to project success as you can't ask peers from other functional units that you have to interact with a quick question without walking down the hall It's a hit to project team morale as both teams ...


8

The first issue you must face: Are distractions good or bad? I think this can not be answered with either a clear yes or no. First, no developer can work 8h on end and still remain sane. On a good day you get 4-6h of concentrated work. But don't think that, since they are not sitting concentrated at their desk that they are "not doing work". In my ...


8

Quick answer: It depends. It depends on: Frequency: If you're having a daily meeting, sending the minutes one day later make it useless. Action Points: If you're dealing with several people that will follow the actions discussed during the meeting, better sending the minutes before having the other people doing anything. Otherwise, if the attendees carry ...


8

I recommend: Demonstrate your application to the customer often, and get feedback early. Break stuff down into small tasks that you are very confident about estimating time for. This is key. Focus on minimal functionality first - login, logout, visit home page, etc. before the real features. Use an Agile methodology. Talk to your client daily. Use software ...


7

Okay, a few comments here - The first is to answer your question - "what pm techniques"? Based on your description, the first (and most important) technique is 'commitment'. I would describe my team as follows: self-motivated in the beginning but motivation drops as times goes by, inexperienced , innovative, willing to learn but less time or ...


7

Post-mortem also has strong connotations in English of examining something dead to see what killed it and it is hard to see why it would be appropriate for a successful project. Lessons learned is better as it covers positive and negative experience from a project. Your gut instinct is correct and you can do your bit by not using the term in that sense and ...


7

I think is it completely fine. I googled it and organizations outside of the Agile world often call their lessons learned sessions postmortem. I found a great article by Jeff Atwood about postmortem in case you are interested. Pawel also has a post about the very same topic and he called it postmortem (in 2008). The naming is interesting though: I found ...


7

The answer is an unequivocal yes. If the input came from an outside vendor, you would certainly have an agreement in place in terms of quantity, quality, specs., costs, whatever. Why would it be any different if the input came from a source internally? Now, by contract, most would assume some type of paper agreement with signatures. Some teams could ...


7

I second @sqreept opinion (+1!), you're trying to deal with the symptom rather than with the cause. Having said that, my opinion below only represents a few between all possible scenarios. Now, the scenario: my team is chit-chatting a little bit too much Why? Because they know they have loose deadlines to meet. Why? Because developers tend to be ...


7

TL; DR The bottom line is that you're using a project manager for a reason. Assuming you feel the need to explain at all, the reason you provide to the client should be substantially the same reason you provide to the rest of your organization. Fixed-Price or Internal Process If a project is fixed-price, or the customer is inquiring about your internal ...


7

You do have a project manager and technical lead on your project. For every project, every project role necessary is represented. In this case, there is only one person filling these roles: you. You have been managing single person projects since you were six. You have more PM skills than you are giving yourself credit for. There are certainly ...


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