Highlights: Scrum Master

A consultant is sometimes defined as someone who gives advice more than 100 miles from where he or she lives. I know why this is the case. My neighbors know my lawn has patches and crabgrass in it, just as their lawns do. The police in my town know I sometimes speed. The librarians know I sometimes have overdue books, and they know I have a taste for daring mystery stories. In short, the other residents of my town know I am a regular person with both strengths and shortcomings—I’m not at every moment an expert on all questions.

Highlights: Scrum Master

Litware is a medium-size vendor of planning software. A project management office consisting of one manager, John Chen, and three project managers planned all of the company’s releases. After each release was planned, the work was broken down into tasks and organized on PERT charts. These tasks were then divided among the various analysts, designers, programmers, testers, and documenters. The approach was very “waterfall” and very defined. As the complexity of the releases increased and the customer base grew, the release planning phase grew and grew until it was simply unacceptable. The results of each release planning phase were also unsatisfactory: the plans were difficult to adapt to the complexities that the team encountered and to the changes that sales and customers requested.

Highlights: Product Manager

As I have mentioned, systems development used to be simpler. But as the complexity of the systems in question and the environment in which they are being developed has increased, people and organizations have lost their way. We visited Service1st in Chapter 2 and Chapter 4. Service1st used a defined project management process that included Gantt charts, resource allocation, and time reporting to plan, initiate, and track project progress. Reports were sent to top management that indicated the critical paths, percentage of work completed, and other key project metrics. Management didn’t feel that was enough, however, and also required the vice president of development to report in person at a weekly executive meeting.