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Johanna Rothman helps managers and teams solve problems and deliver products. Her most recent book is Manage your Project Portfolio: Increase Your Capacity and Finish More Projects. You can read her blogs and other writings at jrothman.com Johanna is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 127 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Similarities and Differences in Project Management

04.04.2013
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I once led a workshop for real estate project managers about how to define success and manage some of the early-in-the-project risks.

We discussed issues such as the Hudson Bay start, context-free questions, release criteria, iterative planning, interim milestones, and inch-pebbles. We had many discussions and a couple of simulations. I learned that whether they are in software or real estate, some of the similarities of project managers are:

  • Our customers change their minds, so we need to be able to adapt as the project proceeds.

  • Timeboxes help us and our customers focus on what’s important for now.

  • Finding the right person to help define what’s driving the project may not be easy whether you are in real estate or software.

  • Hudson Bay starts are useful no matter what your project is.

  • Iterative approaches to planning and scheduling are useful because they help other people see where you lack knowledge.

  • Inch-pebbles are a fine tool to help people break down their tasks and help you see where work is progressing and getting stuck.

And some of our differences are:

  • Because we have ephemeral product and can release more often, we should take advantage of that, to get feedback. When I ran a simulation that allowed them to get feedback every 8 minutes, some of them said, “We want to do this at work!”

  • Their timeframes are long, because their buildings are big. When I spoke about rolling wave planning and planning for one month at a time, they translated that to one quarter at a time. That’s often too long for a software project, but that much planning makes sense for them.

  • I’m sure there’s a third thing, but I can’t remember it.

As with everything, context matters.Every project is different from every other one and every project manager is different.

I had a great time and I’m looking forward to going on to New Zealand and Australian now.

Published at DZone with permission of Johanna Rothman, author and DZone MVB. (source)

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