Category Archives: Management

Agile and Scrum as Adaptive Project Management

Adaptive project management origins reach back to the early 1900s with Frederick Taylor’s scientific management ideas. The concept of an iterative decision-making process, with ongoing feedback throughout the process or project, allowed for a reduction in uncertainty in a rapidly changing environment. So while the term Agile and Agile methodology wasn’t recognized or referred to until the 1990s, Agile concepts have been a part of project management for over a century at some level.

“Agile is a group of product and service development techniques using an interative (repeating) and incremental approach in which solutions are delivered in stages. Agile promotes adaptive planning to develop a product in iterations, thereby lending a greater flexibility to change during the development process while reducing the extent of long-term planning.”1 While project managers within the software development realm are familiar with Agile methods (the most common being Scrum, Kanban, Extreme Programming, Test-Driven Development, Dynamic Systems Development Methods and Crystal), project managers in other arenas have been slow to embrace this foundational shift in methodology from the more familiar and traditional Waterfall methods.

Modern technology, however, is changing customer expectations in a wide variety of industries and needs to be a primary concern before brushing off the idea of implementing Agile principles and processes into your PM requirements. Customers are becoming more expectant of short deadlines, constant updates, giving feedback, seeing early value features, and the ability to make changes during the process. Traditional Waterfall is still a reliable and strong methodology for projects where there is little risk of the customer wanting to make modifications or of significant changes in the market occurring, but PMPs with strong familiarity in the alternative perspective that Agile offers may want to apply all or some of the principles in more volatile projects moving forward.

One of the more adaptable Agile methodologies is Scrum. Scrum starts from a viewpoint of business-value prioritization where some form of “shippable” product or service can be provided to the customer early on. This allows for early and frequent feedback, making sure that the Sprint Team is creating a final complete product that falls in line with exactly what the client wants. Let’s be honest; sometimes the customer has difficulty explaining what they want, or providing the level of detail needed to make sure the development team has clear direction. By working in sprints (time-boxed iterative sessions where prioritized product features/tasks are worked on and then presented to the customer), communication is frequent, feedback is useful early on in making adjustments, and the customer sees continuous progress.

On the team development side, scrum strongly encourages colocation of all team members working together so that as much as possible communication is face-to-face and frequent. Using a Scrumboard, all members know what everyone is working on at any given time and the progress the team as a whole is making. Daily stand-up meetings also provide both accountability and reporting of any challenges so that the Scrum Master can get with the team member(s) and help remove any roadblocks causing those challenges.

SCRUMstudy is the global accreditation body for Scrum and Agile certifications. It has authored the SBOK™ Guide as a comprehensive guide to deliver successful projects using Scrum. SCRUMstudy works through its large global partner network of Authorized Training Providers (A.T.P.s) to deliver trainings and certifications. Important certifications provided by SCRUMstudy include Scrum Fundamentals Certified(SFC™), Scrum Developer Certifed (SDC™), Scrum Master Certified (SMC™), Agile Expert Certified (AEC™), Scrum Product Owner Certified (SPOC™) and Expert Scrum Master Certified (ESMC™). Gazave & Associates is proud to work with SCRUMstudy as an Authorized Training Provider. For access to a FREE course and certification exam on Scrum Fundamentals (worth 10 PMI Approved PDUs), contact us via our website or email Charlene@gazaveandassociates.com.

1Scrumstudy SAMC Course Workbook©2016

 

Chicken or Eagle?

Are you a chicken or an eagle?

A Chicken has to get up early every morning and work hard scratching the ground to get her meal, one or two seeds at a time, all day long to meet her needs. She has to compete in close quarters with the other chickens for the same feed, and lives in fear of the fox and wolf in the night. She never ventures outside of the compound in which she lives, and she never knows when she will become a meal for the barnyard owner.

An eagle sits atop her mountain nest and surveys the land before her in all directions. She already knows the daily habits of the rabbit and the snake…and the fox and wolf as well. When she is hungry, she spreads her wings and swoops down knowing the exact time and place her meal will be waiting for her, and upon catching it, it will satisfy her for several days. She does not fear the fox or the wolf or concern herself with competing eagles. Her domain is protected from her high perch and vigilance… and if there are no rabbits on a particular day… there are always the chickens…

I train chickens to become eagles… are you ready to soar?

How to Raise Prices by Creating Added Value

One of the most valuable things you can do for your clients is to make their experience in dealing with you ultra-convenient. Everything from ATMs, half hour pizza deliveries, 24-hour convenience stores, Internet shopping and so on…

In today’s competitive environment it’s a foolhardy business owner who thinks that, by keeping a close eye on the competition and following the same approach of a seemingly successful competitor, they will have a similarly successful business.

If you want to stand out from the crowd you need to fully grasp and implement the concept of adding value to your sales propositions.  Adding value to a sales proposition can be as simple as ensuring your staff is 100% in T.O.U.C.H. with your clients which means:

  • Truthful
  • Open
  • Understanding
  • Caring
  • Honest Added Value

Here are a few ‘entrepreneurial’ ways to add value to your sales propositions in order to truly stand out from the crowd.

The greater the perceived value of a product or service, the greater the amount you can charge for it and the greater value it will have in the eyes of your prospects and current clients.  Adding value simply means increasing the perceived value of what you’re offering the marketplace.

Convenience

One of the most valuable things you can do for your clients is to make their experience in dealing with you ultra-convenient. Everything from ATMs, half hour pizza deliveries, 24-hour convenience stores, Internet shopping and so on…

To stand out from the crowd, start to focus on how you can provide more convenience for your prospects and customers.

Additional Ways to Add Value

Product bundling – grouping together certain products to create ‘packages’ which you then sell to your clients. If you’re in a service-based industry then “discount books” do the exact same thing. At the heart of all value-added propositions lies the need to help make your clients’ decision-making process easier. Bundles also make internet “price shopping” less of a threat.

Trade-in offers are a great way to generate extra sales. Any business that offers anything new could start using trade-ins as a tool to growing their business. You’re lowering your margin on the sale of the new item. People like to trade in something old for new and it definitely makes their buying decision easier. Offer to donate all traded-in goods to a needy charity. They’re paid a trade-in on the old product and helping out a charity as well. Promote that “all traded-in items will be donated to charity” and get a write-up in the local paper. Advertorials are better than paid advertising… you will reach more people and generate positive word-of-mouth.