Category Archives: Project Management

Hidden Slippage

After reading this, I followed through to here, which meant I ended up here.

To summarise, Michael’s theory is this:

The amount of undetected slippage that can occur on a task that was scheduled to take X, where X is in the range of one hour to one week, is X.

Generally, I’ve found this to be true. However I have to augment it with my experience:

The amount of undetected slippage that can occur on a task that was scheduled to take X, where X is in the range of one hour to one week, is X. However, as X gets closer to one week, the amount of undetected slippage that can occur on a task that was scheduled to take X, is actually X + X.

Those folks who don’t understand this are the same folks who will ask you if you have a “quick minute”. A minute’s 60 seconds, no argument. There’s no such thing as a quick minute that doesn’t last 60 seconds.

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Prince 2 Foundation – Day 2

Day 2 of my 3 days of Prince 2 Foundation training…

Notable quote: “At some point you’ll need a detailed requirements document”. This was made in reference to selecting an “end date”.

I was a little surprised to learn that apparently, after requirements have been gathered, we’re supposed to work out an end date using estimating and scheduling. Of course, we all know that this is a luxury; end dates are frequently dictated and imposed upon us!

Page 239 of the Prince manual discusses Management of Risk. It was interesting to learn that risks can have a negative effect and a positive effect. In other words, a risk can be an opportunity. Amusingly the lecturer believed that the manual has “messed” with a good English word.

Equally amusingly, page 241 states that risks should be owned by the person best situated to keep an eye on it.

Fortunately, there is some overlap between Scrum and Prince 2. Both approaches advocate openness and honesty, never tell the Executive or Product Owner “what they want to hear”.

However, Prince 2 does take a moderately long time to “start producing the goods”, there’s a lot of up front documentation/design before production begins.

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Prince 2 Foundation – Day 1

I attended a three-day QA Prince 2 Foundation course.

Including myself, there were nine delegates. Of course, being a project management course, there was an interesting skills mix: generally, though, everybody had some sort of IT background.

The lecturer was excellent and made good use of humour throughout. I don’t know how he managed it, but he used to “B” word (questioning parentage) frequently, but never just for the sake of it: each time resulted in nine heads nodding followed by laughter.

Interestingly, whilst I’ve not found this in the Prince 2 manual, Prince 2 believes that the best way to mess up a project is to allow the users to change requirements. Now, those of you who know me will know that I have been attending Agile Scotland meetings since February 2003… the agile modus operandi revolves around allowing users the opportunity to change requirements. I could see a quandary coming on…

During his introduction to Prince 2, the lecturer mentioned that an earlier version of Prince was seen as being bureaucratic and overcooked. “You must do this…” was a common phrase. Luckily, Prince 2 moves away from this approach, allowing the tailoring of Prince 2 to specific organisations and projects. After all, there’s little point spending £50K managing a £10K project…

Prince 2 is mainly commonsense, however how often do we get time to apply commonsense? Interestingly, the Prince 2 manual takes 400 pages to describe its flavour commonsense.

On the plus side, Prince 2 does expect us to get the customer involved and to get the user involved. This was seen as a good thing as it reduced any “moment of truth” surprises that might crop up during project/product delivery. I picked up another useful acronym, OSIHNTOT: “Oh s**t I had not thought of that.” (Aw-shin-tot)

Here’s a screenshot of the Prince 2 process model:

Prince 2 process model

I think that goes some way to proving why Scrum works…

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