Project Planning

Reducing the Bug count in your backlog

When there is a huge backlog with a combination of both new features and bugs, you will have a pretty hard time control this. It is really difficult when you develop products and everyday this bug count will grow when customer using it. Same for the new feature list. So what can we do to control this situation?
Following are new steps that you can follow in terms of Agile Project Management.

  • Take a count of new features and bugs. So that you know how much bugs and features are there in the backlog. If you are using physical boards display these numbers so that everyone in the team knows this.
  • Then plan for the first sprint with new features. Priorities the new features and create the sprint backlog and start working on it.
  • Remember to keep some story points to deal with “New Issues”. For example, if the bug count is 200 then if it becomes, 201 then you need to solve the new issue immediately keeping the bug count under control. Attend to the new issues, even if the whole team has to look into that, let them fix the new issue.
  • Remember to keep some story points to deal with “New Issues”. For example, if the bug count is 200 then if it becomes, 201 then you need to solve the new issue immediately keeping the bug count under control. Attend to the new issues, even if the whole team has to look into that, let them fix the new issue.
  • As the Project Manager you need to look into whether this has any impact on the sprint goals. If the delay has an impact on the sprint goal and then cancel the sprint, start a new sprint after completing the issue. Remember the important thing out here is to control the bug count.
  • Also as the Project Manager you may need to inform the interested parties about the delay and make sure to convince them that how important it is to keep the bug count under control.
  • Do this for about maximum of two sprints. After that you can include about 5 bugs in the 4th sprint and fix them. By the time the number of bugs in the backlog will have 195. Keep it under control, don’t let it grow to 196.
  • During sprint planning sessions make sure that you include some bugs, so the number of bugs will reduce when time progresses.

Again, you and your team must be committed to complete the new issues when they are reported. Don’t leave any new issues unattended. Even if you have to give proper explanation to the reporting party and close it immediately. This way you can control the bugs, plus add new features to the product. Same will apply for project development as well.

How do you estimate projects with fixed dead line and must have features using Agile.

This is a scenario where no project manager would like to be. It is in fact a bad dream. At the beginning you can’t predict the rate of bugs and rework together with the change requests. These critical items that have dramatic effects on the estimates you give. In this article I am going to discuss the best practices that Agile estimation provides for us to effectively deal with this type of projects. I will take an example application to describe this scenario.

The Project: Migrating all the manual work done by a legal firm to Office 365. Basically you need to move all the operations to the Office Cloud, because the particular firm doesn’t like to maintain hardware and the staff want to access to the critical information when they are in and out of the office. All the clerks uses laptops and the legal offices and lawyers use hand held mobile devices such as IPads and Android devices. The firm handles many clients daily and they need an effective way to collaborate and communicate. Technical consultant team provided the best solution with office 365 because it provide all the needs that the user wanted. They also wants to share information with all the legal officers and lawyers. According to the agreement there is a fine if we fail to deliver the project on time, there is a fine for each delayed date. Let’s say it is $1000.00 per day. So if we delay the project by 10 days, the fine would be $10000.00.
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Mapping Agile Project Management to phases of Traditional Project Management

In this article I am going to talk about how we could map agile concept in a traditional project management phases. This is highly useful when moving from traditional methods to agile. So first of all what are the phases of traditional project management.

Initiation: During the initiation phase even before getting the team and infrastructure, you need to get the business case ready. You need to convince the project board about the ROI. i.e. whether this project worth of investing money and knowledge. Once the project board is presented with what the project is going to do to the business and when they approves it, you can look into identifying the budget, the team, the infrastructure, etc.

Planning: In this phase we prepare the schedule, resource planning, preparation of the firm budget and a cash flow plan, resource plan, risk management plan, etc. Also we can finalize the team and the infrastructure required. You may want to plan for change control management, issue management, etc. as well.

Execution: So after all the planning is done we are ready to roll out with the execution. During this phase you need to monitor and control various activities such as development, testing, change control, release management, etc. and ensure that the team is on track and delivering the requirements according to the plan.

Closing: At the end of the project you need to package up everything and ship the product to the user. You also can allocate time for end user training, preparation of user manuals, UAT, etc.
I am sure that all the audience are aware of the activities in detail which are executed during these phases. Here I have given a brief description. What my goal here is to discuss how agility can be implemented on top of these phases.

This is what I do. For me we have to do initiation and planning up to some extent before beginning. Remember doing agile is not just starting with it. You need to do some preliminary planning first. This will totally depends on the nature of the project. If your company is focusing on software products you may have to have product road map with several releases during the year. So if you want to get some new features done and some long hanging bugs fixed then initiate an internal project. You may want to get the involvement of the product managers and convince them about the priorities that you have set. You can use the planning phase to carry out traditional PM work as mentioned above.
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Planning Porker: For Agile Planning with Scrum

During my work as a Project Lead I had to work on planning the sprint. One of the current projects that I was leading used Agile with Scrum Methodology. So at the end of each sprint I had to conduct planning sessions for the next sprint. Planning Porker was introduced in the planning process and it was really fun when it comes to the planning.

Our planning sessions became more entertaining and above all the Planning Porker made the end results successful, which is at the end we have estimated the User Stories very successfully. There are many Planning Porker methods and we used the one from Mountain Goat software. The card deck contained the following values: ?, 0, 1/2, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, 100, infinity. We also used a check list against the to determine the relative complexity of the user story (back log item).

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