Agile at a Large Enterprise

By | Enterprise

dosequismemeI’ve spent the last few years consulting at a large enterprise retailer that has traditionally managed IT projects using a waterfall methodology.  It made sense—being so large, the company is very silo’d with separate IT departments for different functions and a strong business operations team that constantly gets feedback from the field. A structured requirements and design process with very specific scope was a necessity, as budget was allocated to “projects” at the beginning of each year.

But a few months ago, some of the IT leadership started to push for projects in the new year to be managed with an agile methodology (which included the teams that we were working with). I had a lot of doubts as to whether this would work or not, mainly due to the size of the organization and because only a portion of IT was to use agile.

Some of our team members have had experience with agile in smaller organizations, usually startups, but this is a different beast. As one of my friends often jokes: “Agile is just waterfall without requirements and design.” I thought that’s what it was going to be, but a couple of months in, our progress has exceeded my expectations. Read More

The Benefits of Being A Technical Project Manager

By | Ideas For Your Business

Over the years I’ve worked with a lot of other IT project managers that never really understand the technical side of their project or product.  Most didn’t even have a desire to do so!  Coming from both a business and technical background, I’ve found that being a technical PM is a huge advantage, not only to me, but also to the greater project and the other members of my team.

In most organizations, a project manager is responsible for:

  • Creating and maintaining a project plan with tasks and estimates
  • Communicating with both IT and business stakeholders
  • Risk management and escalation
  • Managing scope

Yet how can a good project manager:

…verify whether a developer’s estimates are correct for a given task?

…create effective and meaningful status updates without knowing what’s going on with development and QA, and what are the major issues the development team is running into?

…take effective and meaningful meeting notes without understanding what is being talked about?

The benefits of being a technical project manager extend beyond the typical PM responsibilities and create a more well-rounded individual that can help a project in many different ways.

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