Discussion Question #1:  Research Agile Project Management Methods and specifically how it can benefit an IT Project.

First off, my apologies for the very late post this week. Been traveling and crushed by the flu.

Two of the most popular project management methodologies are Agile and Waterfall.

Waterfall is a traditional project management approach where phases and tasks are approached in a linear progression. Waterfall is a disciplined approach to project management which maps the entire project and timeline from beginning to end.
While the rigid waterfall approach has benefits around maintaining timelines and budgets, it can be difficult to accommodate changes throughout the project.

Agile is a project management philosophy which was first defined in the 2001 paper entitled The Agile Manifesto. Agile focuses on loosely defined objectives and short, measurable phases called sprints. Sprints are like mini-projects that concentrate on quickly producing a rough representation of the goal, the Agile methodology then iterates to work towards a final product.

Because it can be difficult to define all the needs and requirements of an IT project, Agile has emerged as a popular project management philosophy for IT professionals. Agile is especially popular in the areas of software development and DevOps. The pivot from large-scale monolithic applications with long release cycles to microservices (The Twelve-Factor App), continuous integrationdelivery, and deployment has lent itself to the Agile philosophy. Agile focuses on adapting to change and shifting priorities throughout the project lifecycle. Agile is focused on delivering the best product to the user community.
Agile is rooted in philosophy more so than a paint-by-number roadmap, so it often requires dedicated and self-disciplines teams to execute well.

I like “The Blue Botton Moment” as a way to depict the behavioral differences when comparing Waterfall to Agile.

Waterfall Blue Button Moment: https://goo.gl/L1XDLk
Agile Blue Button Moment: https://goo.gl/fFdjnh

I believe the “The Blue Botton Moment” captures the essence of Agile; it also highlights the challenges that can arise from having a team which is not dedicated and self-disciplined.


Alex Cowan and the Venture Design process. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2018, from https://www.alexandercowan.com/

Continuous Delivery. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2018, from https://continuousdelivery.com/

Manifesto for Agile Software Development. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2018, from http://agilemanifesto.org/

Portny, Stanley E.. Wiley Pathways Project Management, 1st Edition. Wiley Higher Ed. Kindle Edition.

Waterfall vs. Agile: Which Methodology is Right for Your Project? (2017, August 14). Retrieved January 28, 2018, from https://www.seguetech.com/waterfall-vs-agile-methodology/


Discussion Question #2:  As the project manager over a virtual team, what communication plan will be put in place for interactions between project team members interacting with each other and project team members interacting with you as the project manager?

Again, I am very sorry for my tardy post this week.

In my opinion, virtual teams have become the new norm, especially in IT. Open Source software is written primarily by virtual teams. As someone who manages and embraces the idea of the virtual team and someone who believes it will become increasingly difficult for organizations who believe that physical presence provides an advantage, there is one word or trait that I think defines the most successful virtual teams, it is purpose. There is no doubt that communication is critical when managing a virtual team but communication is the result of virtual team members who are both purposeful and self-disciplined.

Linus Torvalds commands a virtual team of ~ 10,000 developers, committing ~ 3,500 lines of code each day to the Linux kernel which is already ~ 15 million lines of code. This is a virtual team driven by purpose. Linus conducts this team from a walking desk in his home (https://goo.gl/n46vHp).

There is a video entitled “RSA ANIMATE: Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us” does a great job outlining what is different today than say even ten years ago.

The Open Source statistics are truly staggering, and all this incredible software is being built and contributed to by virtual teams across the globe.

With the above said some practices and tools can be used to enable virtual teams. Some of these are standard practice, and some are my personal beliefs.

  • Have a defined, well understood and unanimously bought int shared purpose.
  • Leverage the technology at your disposal.
  • Technology like Google Hangouts, Slack, Gitter, Hipchat, Git, Google Docs, Pivotal Tracker, Cloud9, StackExchange, etc…, etc… These technologies were built for and by virtual teams.
  • Integrate gamification and keep team members engaged.
  • Conduct a synchronous or asynchronous daily stand-up.
    • What did you accomplish yesterday?
    • What are you working on today?
    • Is anything standing in your way?

My team makes extensive use of video chat, we collaborate using Google Docs, we collaboratively code using Cloud9, we track our projects in Pivotal Tracker, and we frequently communicate on Slack. Everything we do is visible on ChatOps (Slack). Commit code to a Git branch, it shows up on Slack. Kick off a build and deploy it shows up on Slack. Working on something you post what it is on the #the-railroad channel, the system does some analytics and sentiment analysis and logs what it is you are working on, are you happy, sad, angry, etc… sends you words encouragement, etc… The idea here is always to keep people engaged.
We also do virtual standups via Slack. We try to embrace tools and elegantly use them to foster the productivity of virtual teams, realizing some people do their best work between 12 AM and 6 AM while others do their best work between 6 AM and 12 PM.

I often have the conversation about how I would rather have five people always connected via a mobile and capable of doing self-directed work than five people showing up at the office from 9 to 5. For me, the success of virtual teams all comes down to a purpose-built culture. There has to be transparency; everyone has to know what they are working towards and how critical their role is.


Agile Project Management. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2018, from https://www.pivotaltracker.com/

AWS Cloud9 Amazon Web Services. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2018, from https://aws.amazon.com/cloud9/?origin=c9io

Build software better, together. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2018, from https://github.com/

HeyTaco! (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2018, from https://www.heytaco.chat/

Portny, Stanley E.. Wiley Pathways Project Management, 1st Edition. Wiley Higher Ed. Kindle Edition.

RSA ANIMATE: Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. (2010, April 01). Retrieved January 28, 2018, from https://youtu.be/u6XAPnuFjJc

Standup Bot: Running Slack’s fastest standup meetings. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2018, from https://standupbot.com/

Slack. (n.d.). Where work happens. Retrieved January 28, 2018, from https://slack.com/



Develop Gantt chart (by entering in a work breakdown structure) in MS Project for any project (landscaping, construction, information technology, fundraiser event, etc.).  Be sure to select a project that has at least 5 tasks with a minimum of 10 subtasks in the work breakdown structure.