7 July 2013

Some specific practices for managing projects

This is the fifth and last part of a 5 part series on kicking off a project. It's a basic check-list of things to consider. The purpose of sharing this is to point you in the right direction to get started. The series starts here.


  • Interview your client and understand their intent and key stakeholders
  • Gather voice of customer data in whatever form your marketing team and analysts are using. (Maybe you need to invent some.)
  • Create a chart or visualisation of what might need to be done (See Lean Canvas as an example)
  • Define these as hypotheses with tests. Go back and look at the Scientific method and think about how you could use it for discovery and validating your ideas.
  • Form a view and visualise a map of what the project will address


  • Do this as collaboratively as possible
  • Face to face workshops are best
  • There is no one best way, but pay attention to the principles of mapping work to clear outcomes with clear definitions of done
  • Here is a workshop agenda you could use (based on IT projects) 
  • Pay attention to enlisting people in your cause. You want commitment and collaboration,. Not just compliant participants.
  • Be clear about roles and boundaries, and what to do when things aren’t working

Execute, Monitor and Control

This very context specific, so you must apply your own judgement here. Definitely measure progress by what your client and paying customers/stakeholders care about rather than percentage complete on a schedule or budget. (Although these things may also be important.)
  • Something isn't done until you know you are not going back to it (this is quite a complex idea, because you can iterate things from rough idea to very mature, and each iteration can be completed to a point that it valued by your customer)
  • Have your immediate team talk regularly, but don’t have long meetings. Instead engage them in collaborating on work together, and reaching across team boundaries to help others on the broader team.
  • Co-locate their workspaces as much as possible
    • Visualise what your work is in ways that are meaningful to the team
    • See more about visualisations in this Youtube clip from the Agile Academy. 
    • Also see some creative visualisations at the Agile Board Hacks blog
There is more, or course, but these tips will help you get started. Ideas, tips or suggestions are welcome in the comments.

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