Project Management Articles
New Certificate Holders
& Publication Information
Volunteer of the Quarter 4Q13
By Pamela Eden
Steve is one of two people on the Marketing team that distributes all
email blast communications to the chapter. All email blasts are required
to go out in a timely fashion. One added duty that the two volunteers have
is to respond to all email inquiries about the email blasts. The questions
they receive are quite varied.
Before taking this role, any questions from our membership regarding
the email blasts went unanswered which lead to member dissatisfaction.
Steve has answered questions from our membership on a variety of subjects.
To answer the questions, many times he would have to find the correct person
in the chapter to provide insight or figure out on his own how a process
worked and give the member an answer. He responds to questions in a timely
manner because many are time-sensitive when they relate to registration.
His role has provided a great insight into the obstacles our members encounter.
Another important part of this role is to transmit the feedback to specific
VP areas so that they can respond to the issue. Steve’s role has provided
an effective feedback loop from our members into the chapter.
Steve completed the Penn State Certification Program in March 2009.
He joined PMINJ on 10/10/2007and became a volunteer for the Marketing team
Click to see previous VoQs winners.
Project Managers in Transition Group (PIT) Forming
By Lisa Davis
Are you between jobs and looking for something constructive to do?
What if what you do between jobs could be converted into job experience?
That is the idea behind PIT (Project Manager in Transition), a new
program being offered by PMINJ. Volunteer your time to become a
working PMINJ project manager during your downtime, and continue to sharpen
your skills or gain new ones. In addition, you will be able to gain valuable
access to possible hiring resources, learn new roles, earn PDU’s and give
back to your chapter.
Close the gap on your resume by becoming part of PIT. For more information
about the program and how to register go to: http://www.pminj.org/vol-opp.mr
More details to come in the January 2014 newsletter!
Corporate Outreach Team Members visit the Verizon Wireless and PSE&G
By Dennis McCarthy
Karl Pisarcyk / Project Manager, Corporate Outreach PMINJ and Dennis
McCarthy / Director, Corporate Outreach PMINJ visited two of our satellite
locations for the October 15 Program Meeting.
"We are reaching out to our satellite partner companies and volunteers
by sending Corporate Outreach Team members to various satellite locations
for each of the monthly program meetings," said McCarthy. "The volunteers
who work to staff these satellite locations and the companies who provide
the facilities provide an invaluable benefit to the members of PMINJ and
we want them to know that we appreciate it and would like to see if there
is anything that Corporate Outreach could do for them."
The operation of satellite locations for members to attend PMINJ monthly
programs at no cost (and normally close to work or home) is a critical
element in PMINJ's strategic objectives "to engage and develop members...",
"to increase the value of PMINJ membership", and "to provide an environment
that promotes participation and collaboration among members."
Karl attended the September Program at the PSE&G location is South
Plainfield, and Dennis visited the Verizon Wireless location in Basking
The Verizon site was very well attended and the two hosts, John Spaventa
and Mike Otero (Louis Spadafora could not make the meeting), were very
helpful and interested in hearing what the Corporate Outreach Team provides
(in terms of speakers, lunch and learns, etc.).
The PSE&G site was also well attended and the two hosts, Bill
Herriott and Chuck Tkachuk, were very accommodating and appreciative.
If your organization is interested in having a speaker for a specific
Project Management topic, and/or conducting a lunch and learn session,
please contact Dennis McCarthy at d-CorpOutreach(:@:)pminj.org.
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Community Outreach Team Collecting Food for Needy Families
By Elaine Tanimura
When we think of Thanksgiving, we probably envision a big holiday
meal with family and friends. We eat too much, relax, watch football
and anticipate leftovers the next day. Unfortunately, for many families,
Thanksgiving is another day of hoping they will just have enough food to
Did you know that 1 in 5 children in New Jersey do not have enough
food to eat? That's almost 400,000 children living in our state.
Food pantries in our area feed several hundred families each day.
For most of us, that is hard to imagine.
The Community Outreach team is helping to fight hunger by organizing
a Thanksgiving food drive for local food pantries. In the month of November,
we have partnered with the Market Street Mission in Morristown for IPM
Day and are also asking all of our members to bring a variety of Thanksgiving
meal items to the November 19 meeting. Items requested include boxed stuffing,
boxed mashed potatoes, canned vegetables, packaged gravy, cake mixes and
frosting. The items collected will be distributed to local food pantries
who will provide turkeys. Cash donations are also welcome as a donation
of $20 can feed a family of six. The team collected about 400 pounds of
food that was distributed to several food pantries throughout the state for
the 2013 Spring food drive.
With your continued support, we can make a difference and provide
a special Thanksgiving meal to the needy families in our communities and
for needy families throughout the year.
2013 Chapter Meeting
By Lisa Davis
September's chapter meeting included a comprehensive program with networking
opportunities, methodology training, chapter news and events and a preliminary
introduction of future opportunities for PMINJ members
Judy Balaban, Chapter President of PMINJ, started this month’s meeting
by recognizing the new and existing board officers and advisors. Newly
appointed board officers recognized were Barbara Fuller, Raji Sivaraman,
Lisa Blake, Mark Barash, and Kim Hinton with newly appointed advisors Linda
Glickman and Bill Ruggles.
Our key note speaker, Kevin Aguanno, BA, MAPM, PMP, Certified Agile
Project Manager and Certified SCRUM Professional, a highly recognized teacher
of Agile with 25 years of project management experience presented “Why all
the fuss about Agile?.” The presentation focused on the appropriate application
of management methods to more complex, high change, highly detailed and/or
failing projects. Agile focuses on deliverables, communication, team bonding,
customer collaboration and velocity over the more ingrained standards of
comprehensive documentation, following plan, contract negotiation and earned
value. The benefits in using Agile include reduced waste, higher productivity,
higher morale, dramatically improved quality and most importantly a more
satisfied stakeholder. Some examples of major corporations which are now
using the Agile method are Yahoo, Google and Sirsi Dynix.
Kevin also hosted a 1-Day Agile Boot Camp on September 18th, where
participants were trained on the basics of Agile Project Management. The
workshop covered topics ranging from the Agile philosophy to requirements
and scope change management and ending with metrics and status reporting.
The workshop was well-received overall as evidenced by some participant
“Content was useful
and general enough to apply to everyone, but in-depth enough to provide
“Very informative and gave very useful examples to demonstrate new
“This bootcamp was excellent, it helped me understand many aspects
that I need on a daily basis.”
“Nice job. I'm a beginner with Agile. This provided me with the knowledge
I need to take back to work. My company is just starting to use Agile.”
“Great workshop. I was very familiar with the materials as I've been
assigned to Agile projects for almost three years, but seminar still very
Click to see pictures from September.
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October 2013 Chapter Meeting
Our presenter for the October monthly program about the Adaptive Lean
Six Sigma for project management was John Muka. John's presentation covered
the key concepts of this methodology including time-based improvement,
project streamlining to define the key elements which are most important
to the client, and the prevention of process defects which can cause significant
delays in productivity thereby decreasing the value of the work overall.
The implementation of accountability processes for management also plays
a key role in maintaining the productivity and efficiency levels to create
a circle of accountability which eliminates the ineffective practices formerly
addressed at the beginning of the project.
John Muka possesses a Ph. D in PsychoEducational Processes, Team Dynamics
and Adult Learning methods and also holds a certified Master Black Belt
in Adaptive Lean Six Sigma. Following a prestigious career working for
such well-known companies as General Motors and Robert Wood Johnson University
Hospital, John formed his own company, AptoLean, Adaptive Lean Six Sigma,
Project Management Articles
Small: Five Tips for Agile Program Management
If you have an agile project larger than two or three feature teams,
you have an agile program. A program is a collection of projects where
the objective is one business deliverable. If you’ve managed programs before,
you know how difficult it is to keep programs on track. With bigness comes
One of the best ways to make sure your agile program is successful
is to think about how to make everything smaller. Not in what the program
delivers, although you’ll have the opportunity to deliver early if you follow
these tips. But if you think about smaller for organizing the program, you
might be able to manage the risk better.
Here are six tips for making your large efforts “smaller” to achieve
maximum benefit from your agile programs and to help them maintain progress.
Tip 1: Keep Your Iterations Short
length of the iteration is the length of work you can afford to throw
away. That’s the amount of time you have between feedback from the customer
or product owner to the team.
Tip 2: Keep Planning
Now, the more people you have on the program, the more inertia the
program has. Imagine you have a program of 100 people. If you have a three-week
iteration and you have problems with that iteration, you might have to
throw that iteration’s work away. That’s better than throwing a release
of work away. But, do you want a three-week iteration, where you have 100
people times three weeks of work you might have to throw away?
The more people you have on the program, the shorter you want the iteration
to be. Maybe you can only afford a one-week iteration. Consider how long
you want the iterations.
And for those of you who are saying, “We don’t know how to make our
stories that small!” that’s a program impediment and a risk. You need to
learn that, and pronto. Because if you maintain long iterations, Murphy
will come sit on your project, and you will have a long iteration you will
have to throw away. You know you will. Keep your iterations short.
If you have short
iterations, you don’t need a lot of planning time for each iteration.
You do need enough planning time for each iteration. Each team needs
to know how many features they can take for their iteration, and they need
to know if they have dependencies with other teams.
Tip 3: Make Architecture
a Just-in-Time Activity
This is where small features helps with planning. If you have small
features, you don’t have to spend any time estimating how long the features
take. This is one of the reasons I like features that are so small you don’t
have have to estimate the size of. The team can say, “Oh, we can do that
in a team-day.” The teams just take in the features they know they can take
into a sprint.
But this does mean you’ll need to have a feature roadmap for the product
and maintain the feature roadmap during the entire program.
A feature roadmap is a living document. I’d expect the roadmap to change
based on which features finish and which features you no longer want in
the release. You know more about features early in the roadmap and less
about features later in the roadmap.
Since you’re thinking of short iterations, the early features are smaller
and well-formed. The later features are larger and more vague. It is the
Program Product Owner or the customer’s job to continue to work on breaking
down the later features into smaller features for easy consumption later.
Each team needs to know how many features they can take for
their iteration, and they need to know if they have dependencies with other
want architecture to occur as it’s needed, to evolve the architecture
by refactoring as you would on a regular agile project. But on a very large
program, especially, once you have more than nine feature teams, you might
want more planning than just when you see a need for architecture, because
you don’t have to have many feature teams waiting for architects to do their
Tip 4: Integrate
Continuously Across the Program
Architects can look at the roadmap and do some prototyping in advance.
They can do some wayfinding or exploration. The architects or feature
teams should resist the temptation to do any big design up front. They
should always let the features guide their exploration and refactor to
Okay, I’m saying always here, which probably means that there is at
least one exception to this guideline. But think hard and long about whether
your program is an exception to this tip. The longer the architects or
anyone works in front of when the actual feature is requested on the roadmap,
the less likely the exploration is the right exploration. The less likely
that exploration is in touch with the current code base, and more likely
the exploration is waste.
You want the feature teams to incrementally refine the architecture.
That means the architects have to be embedded onto the feature teams.
If they are not, that is a huge risk to the program. One of the deliverables
I have requested for every iteration in an agile program is an updated
picture of the architecture to see how the architecture evolves, bit by
bit. You might request that, too, as a way of managing risk.
within feature teams is necessary in an agile project. That requires small
stories to be integrated every day or so. What is not always given is
continuous integration across a program. The larger the program, the harder
this is. And, the larger the program, the more necessary it is.
Tip 5: Encourage
the teams to Communicate Like a Network, Not a Hierarchy
Again, the more feature teams you have, the more inertia you have.
If you don’t start integrating from the start of your program, you will
incur technical debt. So the best way to avoid technical debt is to integrate.
Are there some programs where you cannot continuously integrate? Maybe.
I have not yet met one.
Start by using continuous integration inside each team. Make sure that
teams understand that “done” means they can build and demo the entire
product, not just locally, but for the entire program. Then make sure that
each team integrates across the program so that the entire system is built
as often as necessary and is green at the end of each iteration and demo-able
at the end of each iteration.
The larger the program, the more your program might need help, especially
if this is a legacy product. Your first set of features for the program
might have to be a re-architecture of the build system so that the feature
teams can build independently and continuously integrate—if not independently,
with minimum assistance from an integration team.
and iteration smallness comes a need to communicate often. People can’t wait
for a standup on other feature teams to talk to each other—they need to know
right now what is going on with features, with integrations, with architecture,
with testing issues. And, you don’t want feature team issues to have to
be escalated to you. You want people to solve problems themselves.
Please reference the link which illustrates this.
Think Small to Go
You might have many kinds of feature teams. Some, like Sally’s,
have several teams working in that one project. Sally’s project is a program
itself. Joe, Tim, and Henry have just one team working on their set of features.
All of these feature teams are cross-functional and have everyone they need
to deliver their features. And, because they all know who each other is,
they can communicate with each other when they need to. Don’t force a hierarchy
on the feature teams.
larger you need the program to be, the smaller you need to think. It sounds
funny, but it’s true. You have an epic feature? Break it down into small
features. You want to accomplish more? Try shorter iterations. You want
to make sure you have the product ready for release? Use continuous integration
at the beginning of the program, everywhere in all feature teams. You want
to make sure you have an architecture that works? Integrate architecture
into every team’s work. Want to make sure the teams know what’s going on?
Think network communication, not hierarchy.
Try these five tips
and see how your agile program proceeds. I bet you too will find that going
smaller will allow you to scale your agile program larger.
Johanna Rothman is the author of “Manage Your Project Portfolio: Increase
Your Capacity and Finish More Projects” and the Jolt Productivity award-winning
“Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management.” Her upcoming
book about agile program management is “Agile And Lean Program Management:
Collaborating Across the Organization,” on leanpub.com. You can read more
of her writing and blogs at www.jrothman.com.
New Certificate Holders
The following have received their
certifications since the last newsletter (through
30 October 2013):
& Publication Information
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