Scrum | Scrum VS Classic Project Management

Scrum or Classic Project Management: Which is Better?
Team Clarizen | Jul 12, 2021

Scrum project management is rooted in Agile methodology, which is a framework in which small teams carry out the incremental and iterative delivery of a product.

(…) There are generally two main types of methodologies exercised depending on project specs: Classic Project Management and Scrum.

(…) “The Iron Triangle” is a term for the basic foundation of any project management method and refers to the cost, schedule and scope of a project.
(…) Scrum is a process framework that was developed for project management after technology—and more specifically, software—became integral components of major projects. The term itself simply refers to an “ordered formation of players used to restart play,” and the method is all about prioritization and time-boxing over fixing the scope, schedule and cost of a project.

(…) The main difference between scrum and classic project management methodologies can be summed up as fixed scope vs. iterative decision making. Classic project management calls for project managers to look at the development as a whole whereas Scrum has no problem dividing it up into segments.

One of the largest discrepancies in the two techniques is due to the simple differences in terminology. The following are some ways in which the terms differ:
Schedule = Sprint (or Release)
Scope = Sprint Backlog
Work Breakdown Structure = Task Breakdown
Productivity = Velocity
Estimate to Complete = Burndown Chart

(…) Can You Use Both? If you can’t decide between the two, it’s perfectly acceptable for organizations to use both waterfall and scrum. It’s not uncommon for development teams to use a scrum method, for managers to use JIRA to handle their teams and for project managers within the same organization to use a waterfall method.


User Stories | Assumptions, Risks, & Dependencies

Assumptions, Risks, and Dependencies in User Stories
DZone (Agile Zone) | Mar 06, 2019

Don’t gamble with your project. Learn where these three often hidden elements may be in your user stories and how they can derail your project.

An assumption in requirements is an assertion on which a given requirement or set of requirements depends.
There are 3 fundamental problems with assumptions:
An assumption is not quantified in terms of likelihood. It is nakedly stated as a fact.
An assumption is not quantified in terms of impact. “What happens if this isn’t true?” is not part of the structure of an assumption.
An assumption has no required or inherent follow-up. In my experience, assumptions are frequently placed in requirements documents and then forgotten about. It is “assumed” that someone has added a tickler in a project plan to check on the status of an assumption, but that frequently doesn’t happen.

Assumptions were a way of attempting to formalize connections to external conditions (systems, tasks, states, etc.) that would later be called dependencies.

A dependency is simply a connection between two items (often tasks or teams, but can also apply to components, modules, or other software structures). A dependency asserts that the dependent (client) state cannot change (start or finish) until the dependency (precedent) reaches a certain state
. There are four types:

Start/Start – item A can’t start until item B starts. Cars in a motorcade can’t begin moving until the lead car begins to move. In fact, each car in a motorcade can’t move until the car immediately in front of it moves.
Start/Finish – item A can’t start until item B finishes. The second stage of a rocket can’t fire until the previous stage has finished.
Finish/Start – item A can’t finish until item B starts. Less common in software development, but an example would be an evening security guard who can’t end his/her shift until the guard on the next shift clocks in and begins their shift.
Finish/Finish – item A can’t finish until item B finishes. My accountant can’t finish our income tax preparation until we have finished assembling all requisite data from the year.

Dependencies have similar problems to assumptions, though to a lesser degree.

Generically, a risk is something Bad that might happen (in this context we add “…that affects the timely and correct implementation of software”). More formally (at least in Project Management circles), a risk is a potential negative condition that can be quantified in two dimensions:
How likely is this condition to occur?
What is the impact should this condition occur?

It is important to note at this point that risks should be identified which affect the project, not the company.

It’s also useful to note how well this approach (originating in Project Management) dovetails with Agile. Identifying and quantifying risk gives Agile teams the ability to prioritize tasks. Some people are insistent that risk is a potentially negative external condition that can affect a project. But internal risks need to be identified and quantified as well.

Which brings up the second beneficial aspect of using the Project Management approach to risk: it requires the creation of a plan to mitigate any negative impact on the project. This has an implication that isn’t immediately obvious: risks that can’t be mitigated are effectively not risks.

Since dependencies are a form of risk, it stands to reason that they should be included in any mitigation plan.

Train your teams to avoid the use of assumptions in user stories, use cases or any requirements document. Excise existing assumptions from such documents by examining each one in detail, then either a) removing the assumption unilaterally, or b) converting the assumption into a risk or dependency.
Use dependencies specifically to document the order of events, steps or stages (not components), and be clear about how the term is being used. Treat all dependencies as risks.
Use risk to quantify likelihood and impact, using whatever scale is appropriate for your organization. Use the term and scale consistently across teams and projects.
Establish a mitigation plan for (at least) high-priority risks.
Remove any identified risks that have no possibility of mitigation, most effectively by bumping it up to any architectural planning group that oversees long-term development practices.

Author = Tom Fulton (Agile Zone)


Tools | Project Management: Basecamp Personal, Free

Basecamp now has a totally free version to help you manage personal projects. You don’t even need a credit card
The Verge | November 14, 2019

(…) Basecamp launched a new, free tier of its project management software, which it calls Basecamp Personal. Basecamp was originally designed for small businesses, offering handy features like chat, an internal message board, group to-dos, a shared schedule, and more, all in one place. Typically, though, it costs $99 per month, which could be prohibitively expensive if you’re just looking for something to help manage tasks in your personal life or with a smaller group of people.

Basecamp says Basecamp Personal is designed “specifically for freelancers, students, families, and personal projects,” and with it, you can make spaces for up to three projects, work on these projects with up to 20 users, and store up to one gigabyte of data in those projects. The new tier seems to put Basecamp in direct competition with free tiers from other project management tools like Asana and Trello, as well as workplace chat software like Slack and Microsoft Teams.

Author = Jay Peters

Basecamp Personal

Get it together, for free.
Introducing Basecamp Personal: our 100% free Basecamp plan that’s tailor-made for freelancers, students, families, and personal projects. Sometimes good things really do come in small packages.
Sign up for Basecamp Personal

Tools | Game changer?

Move over, Excel and Google Sheets. Meet the spreadsheet of the future
Fast Company | November 22, 2019

(…) The best way to describe is as a mashup between a traditional spreadsheet, à la Sheets or Excel, and a more advanced database or project-management service like Trello or Basecamp. You bring in any sort of data you want, including financial records, product launch plans, employee databases, and even full-fledged CRM worksheets. Then, similar to what’s offered by services such as Smartsheet and Airtable—with some new twists we’ll explore more thoroughly in a moment—you gain the ability to manage it in a contemporary and collaboration-friendly environment with lots of added bells and whistles.

Article goes into a few of the features of the product, which is not yet available, so I could not test it. You can sign up to request an early access (see below).

Author = JR Raphael (Fast Company)

Website is a Work In Progress as I post this. There is an option to “Request Early Access”:

Click here to Request Early Access

Website: Spreadsheets that come alive as applications
Work better together, wherever you are.