Project Management for Slackers

Monday, December 29, 2008

New SQL Server Blog

I have a new blog releated to my experiances on the Microsoft SQL Server Manageability team at: Be sure to check it out.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Not Enough Slack in My Diet

I've been in a bit of a crunch at work and at home and now it's time to get back to sharing my experiances from the trenches. I have a few more Scrum sprints under my belt since I first started this blog.

What Scrum does rather nicely is focus the team on what they committed to do for the month. The thing to watch out for is making sure that those commitments are worth tracking in the first place. The folks at Agile Advice put out a great blog on the "Five Signs of Trouble in an Iteration". Twice we experianced the burndown associated with the "Special Quiz Section" where there was a big drop off in time remaining. This was due to the realization that we really didn't need to track special projects that weren't part of the overall goals of the team for the month. Or, there was a rather nebulous deliverable that turned out to be much easier that anticipated. It's best to leave the Product Backlog to the things that matter and plan the monthly Sprint around that backlog. When it comes to the fluff - just leave it chaulked up to overhead and don't track it directly in the sprint.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Several years ago, Johanna Rothman wrote a facinating article on how to use the concept of Inch Pebbles as a way to measure the progress of a project. The idea is to define tasks to create the project's deliverables for the project so that they typically last a day or two. You can then track - was the work done or now. There is no 50% done. As a project or resource manager, I would not have to track remaining hours - instead I can track done or not along with any issues that may be blocking completion of the task.

I recently emailed Johanna and she still swears by Inch-Pebbles. It makes a lot of sense. More to follow...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Driven to Distraction

I just read a great article titled "Driven to Distraction"in the Sunday newspaper by Betty Lin-Fisher about the common distractions in the work place.

I know that I get somewheres up to 200 messages each day and very seldom to I get a message that I need to respond to right away. I recently told my boss that I'm not reading email during the day, so if he needs something, just walk over to my office. What I end up doing is spending a little time in the evening triaging my emails looking for anything that needs a response and using the first hour of my morning work composing the responses. After one month of this behavior, I feel as if I've taken my life back. David Anderson in his recent ventures at the Lean Design and Development conference discovered an even better way of getting email under control within a group - check out his posting of - Oobeya eliminates email deluge.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Welcome to my blog. As a program manager for a major software company for many years, I've seen plenty of projects fail or simply take much longer than originally planned. This blog explores how the "right" level of project management can be used to achieve better results through exploring old and new concepts as they apply to software projects.