Monthly Archives: January 2015

Agile

Four Key Elements of the Agile Model

For many years, those were your choices. But now there is a different choice for IT development – Agile.  Calling them methodologies is probably too broad a word. It might be better to refer to them as approaches for doing development, or even philosophies.

There are four general beliefs that light methodologies have in common.

Develop in short cycles. Agile “sprints” usually take no more than 30 days each – or shorter. Partial solutions should be up and running in a very short time, with very tight iterative cycles designed to deliver continually working code that is built up to a final solution.

Value the people. People should be valued and treated with respect. Managers should trust them to do a good job and get out of the way. Agile teams work on a challenging but steady pace that can theoretically be sustained indefinitely.

Involve the client. If you are going to achieve the rapid results, the client must be an integral part of the project team. In fact, they should be assigned full-time and co-locate in the same physical space as the rest of the team.

Strive for simplicity. The basic thought is that if you have a choice between building something in a sophisticated way or a simple way, choose the simple way. Requirements should be simple, design work simple, and the coding techniques should be simple.

 

Over time, the Agile model has evolved to co-exist along with more traditional thinking of project management and development activities. You can also adopt hybrid mixtures of Agile and more traditional development approaches. This has made the movement more mainstream and safe for most organizations.

Can it work – yes! Can it fail – yes! I have spoken to companies that are highly successful and have cut development times dramatically. I have also spoken to organizations where Agile failed miserably. The bottom line – I think all IT organizations should have Agile projects. All projects are not candidates for Agile, but many are and every organization should probably be doing some Agile work or at least experimenting so that you see how it works.

Project Time

The Digital Timesheet

The digital timesheet is one of the many project management tools that do more than its analog counterpart. They still do keep track of your employees’ time at work, but the information collected can now be easily relayed,  along with more information on just what was accomplished in that time.

The old days of punching a clock are gone for most of the business world except in the production floors where manual labor is still needed. Those workers and the task they attend to are well known and documented. A digital timesheet is used more by the professional at your organization. It is the most efficient manner of monitoring the time spent on a project.

The modern day digital timesheet is a way of knowing just who is performing what on your project. It is also an excellent tool for determining just how efficient your work force is performing in their duties against the standards of the industry, and each other. This will also make a formal record of what is accomplished and the time it took to complete each segment of the project.

One of the largest reasons a project is considered a failure is because it did not meet the time constraints set forth in the business case. By utilizing the timesheet in the most productive manner, you will have a written record of all the events involved in your project. This resolution of time usage can then help you to resolve any timing problems that might exist. This will help the project manager in determining just where time was lost or wasted so it can be corrected in future projects.

Along with the time spent on a task, the digital timesheet can also be set up to include specifics about how the time was spent and if there were any deals in completing the tasks at hand. This is a great way to get to the root cause of lost time during a project.

The digital timesheet is the best way to keep track of this finite resource. Since you can never recover lost time, it is best to manage it in the most constructive manner all the time.