Agile Contracting

Last week I had time to attend a web conference about how to get contracts implementing your projects under agile rules. I would like to remember some of the points the speaker stressed.

Sell:

  • Visibility, the customer is the person who gets the backlog and decide the next package of features to be developed.
  • Continuous delivery, that works on immediate value for the customer.
  • Risk reduction in terms of cost of change orders, cost of project termination, cost of vendor switch.

Estimation:

  • To perform estimations of the functionalities they work on the real velocity of development, doing a continuous measures on them.
  • Development speed is also measured to see if this speed is continuous or have accelerations or decelerations (considered bad).
  • They have some KPIs used as references: line of hope, line of desperation…
  • Some other graphics with monthly graphics where presented. They draw lines of reference with: mean (last 8), mean (-3 worst)…

This part in the management of the speed was the most interesting for me.

A colleague told me they are working using agile framework under software life-cycle, specifically they are working on scrum, but the development of the project is under waterfall:

“…adopting the better characteristics of each methodology and being properly balanced we are delivering quickly under our corporate methodology…”

What top-managers expects from PMs

In the Project Management environment, the PMs, team members and upper managers each have expectations of what their relationship should be with other parties.

Today I would like to list what top-managers expects from PMs. It’s a generic list, not in 100% of times is right:

  • Assume total accountability for the success or failure to provide results.
  • Provide effective reports and information.
  • Provide minimum organizational disruption during the execution of a project.
  • Present recommendations, not just alternatives.
  • Have the capacity to handle most interpersonal problems.
  • Demonstrate a self-starting capacity (be pro-active).
  • Demonstrate growth with each assignment.
  • A good PM is a good decision maker under the corporate ethic.

Remember these lines to junior project managers or project leaders it’s a very healthy exercise that helps them to clarify the position they are getting. I also like to remember them to myself in order to reinforce the messages I have to give.

Education and awareness on these practices of people working on projects is mandatory. Don’t hide the paramount.