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Chocolate Experiment 6: Caramel

[I wrote this in March 2014 and posted it to Food, Project Management, Testing. It takes about 1 minute to read.]

Leena is ill/skiving this week, so it is my duty to blog the project chocolate experiment for this week. The theme was caramel, and the competition was fierce.

A few notes before I share the winners and photos, folks

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My Wall vs Your Wall

[I wrote this in February 2014 and posted it to Agile, Methodology, Observations, Project Management. It takes about 2 minutes to read.]

All hail the story wall!

On agile project teams the use of a story wall is ubiquitous. It’s an asset that shows all of the stories (requirements, pieces of work) in play, and their status. It’s a physical wall (often with a virtual counterpart) designed to be an information radiator.

Nobody owns the wall, everybody can contribute to it. That’s the theory, at least.

On many projects the PM and BA are the main consumers of the wall. Their day to day life revolves around it. This leads to the impression that they, in fact, own the wall and an odd culture of taking permission to make changes emerges. I don’t really like it.

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Exporting Trello Data to Excel

[I wrote this in January 2014 and posted it to Excel, Metrics, Project Management, Tips, Tools. It takes about 0 minutes Less than a minute to read.]

Yet another great Chrome plugin, folks! Roll up! Roll up!

By default, the basic version of Trello exports data to JSON. I don’t now about you, but that isn’t too handy for me as I use Excel/Numbers/Libre Office so along comes the Export for Trello Chrome plugin.

Install and activate the plugin, and now when you click on the ‘share, print, and export’ link in Trello you’ll see an option to export it to Excel.

Job’s a good’un.

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Kanban and Waterfall together

[I wrote this in January 2014 and posted it to Kanban, Methodology, Observations, Project Management. It takes about 3 minutes to read.]

For most of 2013 I was working as a programme manager on a large engagement for a retail bank, in their network operations and projects area. We handled new project work of all types through two teams- a ‘BAU’ function and a rapid response projects team.

What kind of work did the team undertake, and where from?

  • Network routing changes, hardware installs/upgrades/decom, implementing a new network topology, firewalls, IP telephony etc
  • Requests came from around the globe
  • Requests came from the retail, commercial, and wealth IT directly (different stakeholders)
  • Requests came from the retail, commercial, and wealth businesses directly (different stakeholders)
  • In terms of ‘class of service’, each project was unique in its own right and seen by the stakeholder as THE top priority and required dedicated staffing

When we set up the projects team things were going well. The client liked it because they were able to get risky or more urgent work estimated and worked on much more quickly, accepting a project management overhead that wasn’t there with the BAU team.

Things started to go sour, though.

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The power of two days: Minimising down time to get maximum effect

[I wrote this in December 2013 and posted it to Agile, Methodology, Project Management, Software Development. It takes about 5 minutes to read.]

Today marks the end of a very unique project. It’s not necessarily the aim of the project that is special, but the mode of engagement; one XD and one BA for 2 days a week for 4 weeks to revamp the header of a website. My first thoughts were, what can you do in 8 days?

It turns out, an awful lot. I’m putting together materials for our final showcase and there’s way more here than we could reasonably fit into an hour slot. In this post I’d like to share how we approached the time challenge, some of the activities we undertook, and what kind of outcomes we’ve seen.

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