Archive for August, 2011

6

PMI-ACP Prep Workshop

I am very excited to announce that I will begin offering my own 3-day PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner Certification Prep workshop, beginning September 26-28.  The workshop will be offered at the Bridge Education Training Facility located at 6716 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia, Maryland.  As an added bonus, for those who register for the September (and the to-be-announced October) class, I will give each attendee a free ticket to AgileDC 2011.

Count on 3 full days of learning, simulation, and Legos!

Who Should Attend/Prerequisites

Although this prep course is primarily targeted towards project management professionals interested in achieving the PMI-ACP(sm)  certification, it could benifit many others. It is an effective foundation for anyone interested in adopting and leveraging Agile techniques, including Product & Line Managers, Program Managers, IT Managers, or Senior Technicians.

Course Overview

The PMI-ACP(sm) certification requires the candidate to have 2,000 hours of general Project Management experience, 1,500 hours of Agile Project Management experience, 21 training hours in an Agile specific curriculum, and pass the PMI-ACP(sm) certification exam.

This course will satisfy all of the training requirements for the exam. After taking this course, students will have the strong foundation needed to begin preparing for the certification exam.

Take your course from one of only a few instructors who were independent reviewers of the curriculum, as it was being developed. As independent reviewers of the PMI-ACP, it was our job to modify, revise, update or delete elements to ensure that it was comprehensive, contemporary (reflective of current practice), concise, and clear.

Learning Objectives

The course will provide a broad survey of Agile PM tools, techniques, skills, and knowledge areas. Within the 3-Day course, we will cover all 6 domains of the upcoming PMI-ACP exam

  • Value Driven Delivery
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Boosting Team Performance Practices
  • Adaptive Planning
  • Problem Detection and Resolution
  • Continuous Improvement (Product, Process, People)

Some of the topics covered include:

  • Active Listening
  • Adaptive Leadership
  • Agile Frameworks and Terminology
  • Agile Manifesto Values and Principles
  • Agile Project Accounting Principles
  • Assessing and Incorporating Stakeholder Values
  • Applying New Agile Practices
  • Building High Performance and Empowered Teams
  • Coaching and Mentoring within teams
  • Communications Management
  • Co-Located and Geographically Distributed Teams
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Elements of a Project Charter for an Agile project
  • Facilitation Methods
  • Feedback Techniques (e.g. Prototypes, Simulation, Demonstration, Evaluation)
  • Globalization, Culture, and Team Diversity
  • Incremental Delivery
  • Innovation Games
  • Knowledge and Information Sharing
  • Leadership tools and Techniques
  • PMI’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
  • Problem Solving Strategies
  • Product Roadmapping
  • Progressive Elaboration
  • Project and Quality Standards
  • Principles of Systems Thinking (e.g., complex adaptive, chaos)
  • Servant-Leadership
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Team Motivation Techniques
  • Time, Budget, and Cost Estimation
  • Variations of Agile Methods and Approaches
  • Value Based Analysis, Decomposition, and Prioritization

When:

Monday, September 26, 2011 9:00 AM - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 4:30 PM (Eastern Time)

Where:

Bridge Education Training Facility
6716 Alexander Bell Dr.
Suite 100
Columbia, Maryland 21046

Cost:

$1,495 per attendee (plus travel and expenses for private workshops)


Drawing courtesy of Pictofigo

1

PDCA and Emergency Preparedness

PDCASome of you may have heard there was an earthquake and a hurricane that hit the Mid Atlantic this last week.  I see both events as perfect learning opportunities.  No, these are not learning opportunities on emergency preparedness.  Rather, let’s learn about the PDCA cycle by Dr. W. Edwards Deming.

Several years ago, my wife and I thought it would be prudent to put together an emergency preparedness kit.  We didn’t want 6 months of TVP or anything like that.  We just wanted something for events that may never happen.  So, we planned for the unexpected.  We created a kit and packed it away.  And there it sat for several years.  So, after the earthquake, my wife and I checked our preparedness “kit”.  It’s interesting to see what you put into these things when you haven’t had a recent emergency.  It’s like opening a time capsule to a naive past.

After we did our inventory, we created an actionable list of  refinements. I swear, it doesn’t matter if you’re preparing for a zombie apocalypse, an earthquake, or a hurricane.   If you try to plan too much for one particular event, you’ll find yourself with a lot of stuff you’ll never need or use.  Low and behold, a few days later, here came hurricane Irene.  Fortunately, the hurricane spared us.  And with that, tonight we had a retrospective.  You may have guessed.  We missed something.  What’s scary is you don’t get many chances to do retrospectives like this.  So, we’re hoping the new additions will not lead to wasteful spending on something we’ll never use.

If you want to get something right, you plan, you do, you check, and you act.  Then, you do it again and again.  You never stop.

10

Theory X vs. Theory Y

Do you lead or do you manage?  Do you believe in command-and-control or do you believe in team empowerment?  Recently, while presenting an Agile Enterprise Workshop, we discussed Theory X and Theory Y with our workshop attendees.

Theory X and Theory Y are two extremes introduced by Harvard Professor Douglas McGregor in his book “The Human Side of Enterprise”.  It was published over 50 years ago.  Still, you can find both theories in practice today.

Though the theory of x and y are not absolute in how human nature plays out in our places of work, there will always be those among us who are polarizing and think of life as a side of a coin.

So, which do you believe?

Theory X and Theory Y

 

HT: Dan Pink

HT: Sanjiv Augutine

HT: Wikipedia

3

LeanKit Kanban

LeanKit KanbanWhen the Agile Manifesto for Agile Software Development was written 10 years ago, it stated “We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.”

The very first of four values listed within the Manifesto was “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”

The Manifesto goes on to state “…while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

Well, I am compelled to write about one of the items on the right.  I still believe the tool should be good enough that it helps you reach your goals.  But after that, it should not become a big process onto itself.  What I want to do is finish tasks and get some actual closure on them.

I recently read in the book Personal Kanban by Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry, a phenomenon known as the “Zeigarnik Effect”.  It states that 90% of people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks.  Soviet psychologist Bluma Zeigarnic found that the human brain becomes preoccupied with things that are not closed.

Though I have leveraged Kanban with teams, it took me a while to realize that Visual Control Systems could be used to visualize and manage both personal and professional work.  I then found myself using a physical board at the office and an electronic version (web-based tool) at home.

What is visual control, exactly?

A visual control is a technique employed in many places where information is communicated by using visual signals instead of texts or other written instructions. The design is deliberate in allowing quick recognition of the information being communicated, in order to increase efficiency and clarity.

The real question is, can a process tool take the place of individuals and interactions?  Perhaps we need to stop and think about the reality of our world.  Is everyone in your company physically located in the same office space or are you geographically dispersed?  If you’re not all sitting there together in an open workspace, you need to find a tool that will bridge that physical gap and then stay out of the way. Bandit Software’s  LeanKit Kanban does that.  Let me tell you what puts LeanKit in the lead of the Kanban tool race.  It’s called mobile computing.

I seem to carry my iPad with me everywhere. (I’ll be getting an iPhone as soon as my contract is up).  Though the LeanKit iPhone/iPod interface could use a little work, the iPad interface is completely awesome.  The image above is actually a screen print from my iPad.  The design is simple; it’s lightweight; it’s functional.  It helps me visualize my work and it helps control my work in process.  Merge LeanKit Kanban and an iPad and you will have an amazing user experience, as it allows individuals to interact wherever they see fit.  I’m happy because I can access half a dozen different boards with tap of my finger and my wife is happy because I didn’t cover the walls of my home office with whiteboards and sticky notes.

If you’re thinking about using a web-based Kanban tool for yourself, your team, or your organization, all of the vendors out there have relatively similar features.  See which one fits your budget.  If you or your teams are using mobile devices like iPhones, iPods, or iPads (in addition to desktops or laptops), you need to go to iTunes and download this app.  Though you need to have an existing LeanKit account to make the Apple App versions work, you can get a personal account for free!

After you see how well it works for your personal life, I don’t doubt you’ll be using it in the office in the not-too-distant future.

 

HT: Wikipedia
HT: LeanKit
HT: Personal Kanban

 

 

2

Agile Flashcards

To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the signing of the The Manifesto for Agile Software Development and the upcoming launch of the PMI-ACPsm Agile certification, I have been working behind the scenes on a new mobile learning tool.  After realizing how congested the PMP market was, I decided to leverage what I learned from PM Prep Flashcards and apply the code toward agile learning.

So, are you going to take the PMI-ACPsm certification exam? Would you like to be notified as soon as we’re done with a simple learning tool that you can use on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad to prepare for the exam?

Get on the list!


PMP® is a registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. PMI-ACPsm is a service mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.