Project Management Tips and Tools

To address challenges and opportunities in managing projects with or without face to face meetings/conversations:  1) Make Work Visible and 2) Identify Communication Channels and 3) Hold Project Team Meetings. 

1) Make Work Visible

Identify a common location or tool where the entire team can view the work needed to complete the project. 

A Kanban board is one way to make work visible by using cards to represent work items and columns to represent work status (e.g., To Do).  As work is completed, the work card is moved across statuses so the entire team can see the status of the project work

Tools:

3 columns: To Do, Doing, Done, with colored squares under each column that represent work that is in To Do, Doing, or Done 

2) Identify Communication Channels 

Communication tools:

  • Google Group. for a single email that goes to the project team which can be used to share Drive folders, Calendar invites, and set up a Google Chat room
  • Google Chat for individual chats and establishing a room for project chats

3) Hold Project Team Meetings

Discuss & document a shared understanding of why we are doing the project and the value that it will bring to the University.  You may need to come back to that purpose as project decisions and issues arise.  Connect the team periodically through team meetings.  These are meetings based on the Scrum framework:

Planning

Meeting 

Start with a prioritized list of the known work that needs to be done (i.e., the project backlog - what needs to be done to complete the project?). Tip:  If you don't have that list of the work, set up a Team Planning session to create and prioritize one. 

During the meeting, the team and leadership:

  1. discuss the highest priority work for mutual understanding of what needs to be done,
  2. chose the highest priority work can be accomplished in a short period (e.g., a 2-week sprint), 
  3. agree to focus on that highest priority work during the agreed upon period.  

Daily 

Check-In 

In a daily 15-minute meeting, each member answers the following questions: 

  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What will you do today?
  3. What is blocking your progress?  and/or What did you learn?

Review

Meeting

 After completing a cycle of work (or a sprint), meet to review and share the team's finished work. 

If anything is unfinished or not "done", add it back to the project backlog. 

If it's done, mark it complete and celebrate!

Retrospective 

Meeting

Check In and Evaluate:   Reflect on work completed together and answer the following: 

  1. What went well?
  2. What didn’t go so well?
  3. What have I learned?
  4. What still puzzles me?

With information shared, make adaptations and/or remove obstacles to improve the team's work

 

Ideas, questions or comments?  

  • Julie Taubman, taubmanjl@appstate.edu, 262-7981 for any questions about this website or using Jira; and
  • Michelle Melton, meltonml@appstate.edu for any questions about Trello.  

Resources