Will Agile for Food

Will Agile for food

By close of business yesterday, we lost 10 people. No, we didn’t lose 10 resources. We lost people.  They came to work every day, doing their jobs, thinking they provided some kind of value to the organization.  Unfortunately, some saw the costs outweighing the benefits.  The positions have been eliminated.  I get it.  Business is business.  Times have been tough, even for the Federal Government.  Everyone has to tighten their belts.  Even with the Reduction In Force (RIF), we’re still dealing with a very probable government shutdown in a week.  Will Agile for food

I’m in a weird situation here.  This is the first time I’ve been the one who survived the first round of a RIF.  Some 20 years ago, I worked for McDonell Douglas.  In one day, over 10,000 of us got RIF’d (lost our jobs). At that time, the organization didn’t care who you were.  The longer you had been with them, the longer you lasted in a layoff.  It actually made me quite angry.  The union members who had been there the longest, who did the least amount of work, got to keep their jobs.  The newer employees were the first to go (LIFO).

I think I understand the government’s approach to this first round.  The “positions” eliminated were too specialized or too generalized.  Either the person only took notes in meetings or only dealt with risks, only dealt with EVM or only wanted to work part time.

Though I’m the only one here who has any background with Agile, perhaps that was to my benefit.  I think I’m still here because I made it my business to know as much as possible about what was going on, on a Program level.  I stepped up at every turn to see if I could help with something, regardless if it was my specialty.  I could wear a Product Owner hat if asked or switch hats between a ScrumMaster and a Project Manager.

But, I can’t help but feel that my time here is coming to an end.  In one day, the culture has changed.  In one day I went from servant-leader to job counselor.

If the right opportunity comes along, where I can help people deliver more value or increase Agile adoption, I will certainly consider it.

Like the drawing?  Get the original one from Pictofigo

What is in a Name


Hello my name is Derek HuetherThis weekend, I took the first step of rebranding myself. Some know me as Derek Huether the “PMP”; some as Derek Huether the “CSM”; some even refer to me as The Critical Path blogger or Zombie PM.

With the real risk of the Federal Government shutting down this next week, I’d be an idiot if I didn’t eat my own dogfood and have some kind of Risk Management strategy.  Though I may have to “accept” the risk, I will do what I can to mitigate it.

Because I am NOT a government employee, if there is a shutdown, I will NOT get paid.  When I heard about a possible shutdown, I remembered the similarities between grief and risk.  So, what needs to get done?  I need to get my resume and social links updated.  Wherever my name is, I need to make sure the message I’m sending reflects my current frame of mind.

When I look at LinkedIn profiles, it appears some people really love adding initials after their names.  I saw one fellow had no less than 6 acronyms after his name.  Though people in the industry may understand this alphabet soup, I think many are just annoyed by it.  I did a search on him and he really had nothing to say (publicly).  So, who is this guy?  What I see happening is he’ll be loaded into a database with everyone else and he’ll become nothing more than a keyword search.

Though I admit, that could happen to me as well.  I’ll do what I can not to pander to it.  I think people should be hired because of their personalities or because they are good culture fits.  I wouldn’t want to be hired because a hiring manager needed a body with a PMP or CSM.

I’m not going to turn my back on what I’ve learned over the years.  I will still champion the baseline information the pursuit of these certifications or accreditations exposed me to.  But, I’m not going to continue using them in my name.  It’s just not who I am.

Categories: Agile, Project Management Tags: Tags: , , ,

My First Year In A Directive PMO


directive_pmoToday I realized I’ve been supporting and advising a Federal Government PMO for a whole year.  Prior to that, I was the Manager of Software Engineering at an online company that had recently gone public.  I was the sole PMP (Project Management Professional) and  sole Agile Evangelist. Upon my leaving that company, I told my superiors they really needed a PMO if they wanted to offer consistent results, measurable improvements, and increase stakeholder satisfaction.  It was hard at first to shift gears, away from a private profit-driven organization, to Federal governance-driven organization.  At the private company, it was all “being creative” to meet unrealistic goals set by those not versed in best practices.  Since there were no other PMPs, I felt like the lone sheriff in the Wild West.  Now that I’m dealing with the government, I’m surrounded by other PMPs.  There is policy, process, and governance.  Everyone knows their jobs very well.  They know best practices.

So you can differentiate the type of PMO I work in compared to others, I’ve included the 3 basic types below with their definitions.

There are 3 basic types of Project Management Office (PMO) organizations are [1] supportive, [2] controlling, [3] directive.

1. Supportive PMO generally provides support in the form of on-demand expertise, templates, best practices, access the information and expertise on other projects, and the like. This can work in an organization where projects are done successfully in a loosely controlled manner and where additional control is deemed unnecessary. Also, if the objective is to have a sort of ‘clearinghouse’ of project management info across the enterprise to be used freely by PMs, then the Supportive PMO is the right type.

2. Controlling PMO has the desire to “reign in” the activities – processes, procedures, documentation, and more – a controlling PMO can accomplish that. Not only does the organization provide support, but it also REQUIRES that the support be used. Requirements might include adoption of specific methodologies, templates, forms, conformance to governance, and application of other PMO controlled sets of rules. In addition, project offices might need to pass regular reviews by the Controlling PMO, and this may represent a risk factor on the project. This works if a. there is a clear case that compliance with project management organization offerings will bring improvements in the organization and how it executes on projects, and b. the PMO has sufficient executive support to stand behind the controls the PMO puts in place.

3. Directive PMO goes beyond control and actually “takes over” the projects by providing the project management experience AND resources to manage the project. As organizations undertake projects, professional project managers from the PMO are assigned to the projects. This injects a great deal of professionalism into the projects, and, since each of the project managers originates and reports back to the Directive PMO, it guarantees a high level of consistency of practice across all projects. This is effective in larger organizations that often matrix out support in various areas, and where this setup would fit the culture.

Definition Source:  http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=John_Reiling