6S for Success!
By Cécile Bérubé
Managing projects is like riding a bike. At the beginning, we hold the handles tightly, afraid of falling. Then, we learn to let go and ride our bike looking ahead while pedaling.
Putting down and controlling all requirements up front, holding on the handles tightly, having stakeholders clearly explain the product objectives solely via requirements is not efficient. Learn to let go. Building user stories, rather than hammering out all requirements up front is easier to manage with the End Users. It’s tangible and expectations are easier to communicate. Tools are available to facilitate discussions (ex: diagrams, models, prototypes, storyboards).
Poor requirements management is a major cause of project failure, second only to changing organization priorities.¹
Success with 6S!
- Stories, Small and Subdivided
Keep it small, break it down. Plan to subdivide into smaller portions and then distribute. It easier to manage and allows for simultaneous effort. User Stories are essentially user scenarios that users can relate to, based on their own business processes and experience. Keep a single pool of stories (product backlog) for better control.
Divide any way that works: by user interface tier, system tier, business functionality.
Expect the unexpected, unpredictability and ambiguity. Respond to change. Make the switch. Focus on the short-term tangible, feasible priority outcomes and maintain the Product Backlog and include the remaining project user stories with from a high-level perspective (must-haves, nice-to-haves, don’t wants) Plan. Prioritize.
Keep the iterations to a maximum 2-3 weeks to keep the momentum, motivation and engagement.
Learn to let go of the traditional approach of managing requirements.Having hypothesis and assumptions are acceptable. Not everything needs to be known up front. As you move along, things will get clarified. Keep it simple.
Agile progressive elaboration
Uncover, clarify, remove ambiguity, validate, often. Iteratively reassessing expectations, having stakeholders voice and clarify all interpretations and assumptions, aligning, resulting in ONE interpretation. Expect change as expectations get clarified. Stakeholders will feel more engaged, motivated, satisfied with short-term tangible results.
Agile Project Management is no suitable for all projects. Project size, complexity, criticality, culture (including active sponsors and stakeholders, capable of handling change) and experience are to be considered. If required, adapt by balancing between Agile and traditional.
What’s your success story?
Cécile Bérubé, PMP, is a dynamic, trusted senior advisor, with proactive, pragmatic and practical hands-on leadership. She is highly motivated, autonomous, accountable, with demonstrated achievements. Cécile has acquired different perspectives by managing teams in different industries and multiple frameworks, including ITIL, PMI, ISO, FDA and Six Sigma. You can read more from Cécile on Christian’s Bisson blog.