Agile Project Management Tips

ProjectManager.com

In this video, project management trainer Devin Deen provides a short tutorial on how to manage Agile projects faster and more efficiently.

In Review: 

Devin is often asked about how to use the feature set offered in the ProjectManager.com online software tool to run Agile projects. Since ProjectManager.com has many of the same features as MSProject and supports traditional, or Waterfall, projects, his video will be useful to anyone using MSProject or other tools.

When working with an Agile project, you’ll want to rely on the regular software features, however, you’ll need to organize your tasks, manage your changes and track them differently.

  • All tasks within one sprint will have the same start and end dates
  • Use changes module to track your backlog
  • Run tracking reports more frequently

RELATED: Top 12 Agile Principles

You’ll note that by tweaking your software to the methodology you’re using on your project you’ll get more bang for your buck, so to speak, and stay on top of the work.

Pro-Tip: When working an Agile methodology, it’s important that you keep the backlog items in the change repository so you can identify which ones you’re working on for which task. Those items will come and go as the team progresses in its work, so this way you have a way to best track them.

If you’re interested in Agile methodology, then you’ll want to read Dave Taber’s interesting article from CIO magazine, called Time and Distance Enemies of Agile Project Management.

Thanks for watching!

Transcription

Hi. I’m Devin Deen, Content Director here at ProjectManager.com. Hi, welcome to today’s whiteboard session. Over the last few weeks, we’ve had a lot of requests from you users out there, about how to use the ProjectManager.com service on an Agile project. So I’d thought what I’d do today is take the opportunity to show you how I would use it, and how I use ProjectManager.com when I’m doing Agile projects.

I’d be certainly interested to hear your feedback on my approach and certainly, give us some feedback on how you’re using it on an Agile project. Remember once again, if there are any features that you’d like to see on the project stack, make sure you click on the “request a feature” button which we’ve just enabled, and that request will get into our development team.

So, first off, the most important thing is that Agile project communication and collaboration are key. All those sorts of philosophy and that concept is built into the ProjectManager.com service, so use all the features per normal. I would not use all the features, certainly use the issues, use the scheduling, use the document repository, messaging; all that is very important in terms of communication and collaboration and none of that goes out the window just because you’re doing an Agile project. Use all the features as per normal.

What the difference is how you actually organize your tasks, how you manage your changes, and then how you track it. I’m just going to focus in on those three items for the moment. As you know, in an Agile project, you’ve got your story, you’ve got your backlog of requirements and then you’ve got the tasks that go into making the backlog possible, delivering on that set of prioritized requirements. The chart within ProjectManager.com is there for you to use. Most people use it in the traditional waterfall manner, but if you’re doing an Agile project, use a Gantt chart, but don’t put your task in there like a normal traditional waterfall project.

Put your start and end date for the task to be the same for all the tasks. Take the particular tasks that you’re going to do in that particular sprint, list them in the columns on the left tasks to do; definitely put your resources on them, put your effort estimate, but on the start and end dates, put the start date as the start of your sprint, and the end as the end date of the sprint. You’ll basically have a column of tasks with start and end date for that particular sprint.

The next thing you do is your changes. In the change module, that’s where you would traditionally put any of the change requests that come through from your project stakeholder and your user group. I would use the changes module to track your backlog. Put your list of requirements in there. Every item on the backlog goes into the change repository and you can identify which of those that you’re doing for each sprint. The reason why I do this is because in Agile project management, items in the backlog drop in and drop out as the team progresses through the sprint. So the best place to keep the list of backlog requirements is in the change module. That’s where I would put all the backlog, put it in your changes and track which ones are being done in each of the sprints that you’re doing to achieve your end result.

Lastly, how do you actually track that Agile project manager using project manager.com web service? Well, in an Agile project, the things you’re going to focus on and the number of task you’re completed in a given day in that sprint and how many hours have been expended on every day of the sprint. Same principles apply here using the ProjectManager.com service, you’ll be able to get a report if your team members are using the timesheet module. They’ll be able to put in the amount of time they’re doing against each of the tasks. You can run a report at the end of the day to figure out which if the team members are completing their task, which tasks have been completed and how many hours have been expended up to date. By getting that information you can pull that together in a spreadsheet and put it in your status report for your burn chart.

There’s some really simple ways to use the service in an Agile project. I’ll be very keen to hear your feedback, and if you’re doing Agile projects using ProjectManager.com, and certainly, once again, if there’s any features that you’re not seeing in there that you want to see, in particular doing Agile projects, certainly request that on the request feature.

Ready to find out how easy it is yourself? Take our award-winning software for a test drive. It’s free for 30 days and you can run projects of any scope or size, Agile or not. Get started now.

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