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MODULE 1: INTRODUCTION TO PROJECTS

Module Overview
This module provides an overview of projects, their important characteristics, and
their challenges. You are introduced to project life-cycle planning, project
management essentials, and both agile and waterfall delivery approaches.

Objectives
The objectives are:

Define a project.

List project challenges.

Explain project life-cycle planning.

Position project management.

Describe agile and waterfall project delivery models.

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What Is a Project?
The term project is widely used in this course and within the software
implementation context generally. Therefore, you should understand the essence
of projects.

Lesson Objectives
The objectives are:

List project characteristics.

Define a project.

Compare projects to operational work.

Describe project pressure.

Explain the triple constraint.

Describe the project management diamond.

Project Characteristics
When you ask people what they know about projects, they typically refer to
phases, resources, goals, scope, budget, time, planning, and issues. But are these
features really important? What really makes up a project? The following section
focuses on important project characteristics.

Unique
Projects are unique activities. That is, no two projects are ever the same. But what
really makes your ERP and CRM implementations unique? If you give it some
thought, you can probably identify several elements in various areas of these
projects:

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Vision and Objectives: You repeatedly implement the same


Microsoft Dynamics ERP or CRM software for various customers. But
customers have their own vision and objectives for the
implementation. These company-specific goals are unique for the
specific project.

Scope: Product scope refers to the features and functions that


characterize the software product. Scope describes the what of the
project. You identify the scope by breaking it down into requirements
(both high-level and detailed) linked to business processes and areas.
Even though most companies have similar business areas, such as
finance, purchasing, sales, and marketing, they also have their own
unique business processes and requirements. These are never
completely the same for your projects.

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Module 01: Introduction to Projects

Team and stakeholders: In each project, you collaborate and


communicate with different stakeholders. Your team composition
most likely differs in the various projects, with different people
offering their own approaches, visions, and perceptions to name but a
few.

Temporary
Projects start somewhere and end as well. In other words, they are temporary.
They have clearly defined begin and end dates, both of which are necessary.
When you take on a project, you know that it has to end. That makes it subject to
urgency as you work to deliver the agreed outcomes within the desired
timescales.

Project Definition
Definition of a Project by PMI
The Project Management Institute (PMI) is one of the world's largest professional
membership associations, with a half million members and credential holders in
more than 185 countries. It is a not-for-profit organization that advances the
project management profession through globally recognized standards and
certifications, collaborative communities, an extensive research program, and
professional development opportunities. (What Is PMI? Project Management
Institute Inc., accessed 9/1/2012, http://www.pmi.org/About-Us/About-Us-Whatis-PMI.aspx.)
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) is a book
which presents a set of standard terminology and guidelines for project
management. The Fourth Edition (2008) was recognized by the American National
Standards Institute (ANSI) as an American National Standard (ANSI/PMI 99-0012008) and by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers IEEE 14902011.[1] (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, Wikipedia,
The Free Encyclopedia,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Guide_to_the_Project_Management_Body_of_Know
ledge, accessed 9/1/2012.)
The PMBOK Guide defines a project as a temporary endeavor undertaken to
create a unique product, service, or result.

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PRINCE2 definition of a Project
PRINCE2 (an acronym for Projects In Controlled Environments) is a process-based
method for effective project management.
Used extensively by the UK Government, PRINCE2 is also widely recognized and
used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally. The PRINCE2
method is in the public domain, and offers non-proprietorial best practice
guidance on project management. (What IS PRINCE2? ILX Group,
http://www.prince2.com/what-is-prince2.asp, accessed 9/1/2012.)
PRINCE2 defines a project as a temporary organization that is created for the
purpose of delivering one or more business products according to an agreed
business case.

Project vs. Operational Work


You can also discover the true essence of a project by comparing it to operational
work.
Operational work is ongoing and generates repetitive output. The purpose of
operational works is to sustain the business.

FIGURE 01.1: OPERATIONAL VS. PROJECT WORK


There are also similarities between projects and operations:

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Both are performed by people.

Both are constrained by limited resources.

Both are planned, executed, and controlled.

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Module 01: Introduction to Projects


Project Pressure
Project Pressure
Because of their unique and temporary character, projects are conducted under
pressure. Project teams contend with the following:

Uncertainty: In your projects, you are rarely sure about many things.
If you have ever had to estimate workload, duration, and costs to
produce project deliverables, you probably know how difficult this is
in the beginning of a project. Providing estimates is just one example
in which uncertainty adds pressure to project work.

Risk: When you start unique and temporary activities to implement


new business objectives for your customers, many potential problems
can arise. Lack of commitment, internal politics, different objectives
for the project, uncertainty about responsibilities, project
dependencies on outside products or services, and a history of failed
projects within the organization are just some potential sources of risk
to your project. The more uncertainty you face, the higher the risk.

Urgency: Project work is work against the clock. A sense of urgency is


widespread in all projects.

Integration needs: You must integrate time, cost, scope, and


resources for a successful project. Plus, you must leverage the unique
project result into the business and project organization.

Cost constraints: Project teams must deliver the agreed and


perceived outcomes within the agreed budget.

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Triple Constraint
All projects are performed under cost, time, and scope constraints. The
interdependency between these constraints is frequently represented as a triangle
and called the triple constraint.

Projects must be delivered within cost.

Projects must be delivered on time.

Projects must meet agreed scope.

FIGURE 01.2: CLASSIC TRIPLE CONSTRAINT


Changing one of the three constraints implies a change to the other two.
The following are examples:

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When you reduce the projects time, you must increase its cost or
reduce its scope.

When you increase the projects scope, you must increase its cost or
time.

When you reduce the projects cost, you must reduce its scope or
increase its time.

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Module 01: Introduction to Projects


The Project Management Diamond
More recently, the triangle progressed to a project management diamond, with
cost, time, scope, and quality at its corners. The diamond also puts customer
expectations at its center. This communicates that no two customers are the same,
and you must give priority to their expectations.

FIGURE 01.3: THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT DIAMOND


PMI agrees that the triple constraint triangle is incomplete, recommending that
project managers include additional criteria. The multiple dimensions of the
diamond help the project manager to include more perspectives that might be
relevant to the success of the project.
PMI also discussed a diamond model in its knowledge center. This diamond
combines the tactical focus of project outputs on one side with strategic outlook
of business outcomes on the other and the effective use of and compliance with
governance processes and quality of delivery.

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For example, many organizations emphasize health, safety, security, and
environment (HSSE) as factors similar to quality.

FIGURE 01.4: PROJECT MANAGEMENT DIAMOND

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Module 01: Introduction to Projects

Lab 1.1: List Characteristics of a Project


Objectives
In this lab you will explore what a project means to you.

Exercise 1: List Characteristics of a Project


Exercise Scenario
Task 1: List the words that come to your mind when you think about projects.

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Lab 1.2: List Factors that Influence Projects


Scenario
Reflect on projects that succeed and fail. What do successful projects have in
common? What leads to failed projects?

Objectives
Find most common project challenges.

Exercise 1: List Factors that Lead to Project Success


Exercise Scenario
Which elements made your past projects successes?
Task 1: List the elements that in your opinion make projects successes.

Exercise 2: List Factors that Make Projects Challenging


Exercise Scenario
Some of your past projects might have been more challenging than others. List
the elements that caused problems in these projects.
Task 1: List the elements that in your opinion challenge projects significantly.

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Module 01: Introduction to Projects

Project Challenges
The previous lesson introduced projects and in the last lab you reflected on
project influences. In this lesson you review important project challenges.

Lesson Objectives
The objectives are:

Describe recurring project challenges.

Describe project life-cycle planning.

Recurring Project Challenges


Projects are unlike operations. They are unique and temporary. Each ERP and CRM
software implementation project must adapt to differences such as the following:

Customers

Internal teams

Stakeholders

Goals

Constraints

Business processes and requirements

Infrastructure

In this diverse context, several different challenges may arise:

Poorly managed perceptions and expectations.

Uninvolved customers.

Unclear roles and accountabilities.

Scope creep.

Unrealistic deadlines and insufficient budgets.

Communication failures.

Underestimated complexity and dependencies.

Unsuccessful risk responses.

Poorly defined objectives and returns.

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Poorly Managed Perceptions and Expectations
Most project participants have struggled with perceptions and expectations. But
what is perception, and what are expectations? The perceiving stakeholders
organize and interpret your information based on past experiences and
knowledge. They also filter their view of the project through their own needs,
values, desires, and emotions at the time of perception. Therefore, clarity is
important to the communication process.
Expectations are thoughts, representing what our stakeholders want to occur and
have delivered. Expectations define what stakeholders think can, will, and must
occur in the project. Perceptions and expectations are closely related and
personal. They drive performance and establish the benchmark for project success.
That means that they are very important to our projects and that we must
manage them accordingly.
One of our biggest challenges as project managers is to align the different
perceptions and expectations of the different stakeholders.

Uninvolved Customers
No project team can deliver great results without customer involvement. A lack of
customer involvement introduces risk to your project. Customer stakeholders must
be involved at every stage of the project by reviewing and validating information,
building vision and the concept, reviewing deliverables. They provide feedback,
report issues, attend demonstrations, and so much more.
Customers must interact with the vendor project team at all times. Without
involvement, customer stakeholders do not receive accurate perceptions and
expectations. At the same time, you fail to understand the real need and value of
the expected delivery.
With unengaged customers, you are not informed about timely issues and pitfalls.
Furthermore, without validated results, you cannot effectively build the new
deliverables. An involved customer organization becomes a learning organization,
which enables the customer to drive the change.
The project vendor team cannot be exclusively responsible and accountable for all
project tasks and deliverables. It is neither advisable nor realistic.
However, customer commitment does not come easy. Many customers are
unaware of the importance or their participation and are uninformed on how and
when to get involved. Your challenge is to overcome this and get your customer
involved.

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Module 01: Introduction to Projects


Unclear Roles and Accountabilities
Role clarity has a big impact on project success. It must be clear what is expected
from team members. Uncertain expectations about outputs usually do not boost
team performance. Clearly identifying team roles and responsibilities is necessary
when you form a team, after which each team member settles into his or her role.
Only then can team members begin to work most effectively.
Your worst competitor is day-to-day confusionthe time it takes everyone to
figure out what to do and what not to do. Role clarity supports people working
together because they can see what tasks are their responsibility, who is doing
other work, and how it all fits together.
If you are working with or in a seasoned implementation team, you might know
everybodys roles and responsibilities. But how familiar is your customer with the
roles and responsibilities in the project? If you want the customer team to perform
well, you must clarify that.

Scope Creep
Scope creep refers to uncontrolled changes or continuous growth of the projects
scope. Delivering the project on time and within budget is seriously challenged if
the product, solution, or service that you need to deliver changes all the time.
Familiar with the never-ending demand for new product features? Most of your
colleagues have also experienced this, as scope creep is widespread. Scope creep
typically occurs when the scope of a project is not properly defined, documented,
and controlled. It can also be imbedded in the customers sector, culture, and
even economic situation. It might also be related to a communication deficit,
incorrect perceptions, or expectations. Without proper management, scope creep
will impact your project and must be addressed proactively.

Unrealistic Deadlines and Insufficient Budgets


Unrealistic deadlines and budgets are classic recurring project challenges. The root
cause of these problems can usually be found in poor estimation performance.
People have a tendency to underestimate project complexity, time, and costs.
Envisioning all effort, complexity, and dependencies in a unique but dynamic
context over a long period has proven to be very challenging. However,
underperforming in this challenge adds lots of risk and pain to your project.

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Communication Failures
Communication glues together your project by connecting people, expectations,
and perceptions with the scope, the constraint, and the status of the project. Poor
communication is cited in most top ten lists as a cause of project failure. Good
communication is compared with the lifeblood of projects.
Effective project communication is planned and multifaceted. It requires skill from
both team members and project managers, including their ability to talk and
listen. Good communication also strongly depends on project life-cycle planning
and interaction levels throughout the whole project. You communicate in your
project through both formal and informal channels. Finding the correct mix for
your project is both challenging and necessary.

Unsuccessful Risk Responses


As projects are unique, temporary, and filled with uncertainties and dependencies,
they are also synonym for risks. Did you ever deliver a project without unforeseen
events or activities? Probably not. Each project will have its own specific risks
related to the uniqueness of the project next to more recurring general risks
related to the sector and type of the project. You must prepare for both so that
when a risk occurs your team can respond.

Poorly Defined Objectives and Returns


A project running on poorly defined and rather vague goals and objectives is like
taking off without a flight plan. You cannot determine whether you have arrived
and achieved your goals or must still keep executing. You will have problems
making good project decisions as you lack a relevant priority horizon, and unclear
goals can compromise project closure. Smart project objectives, well-defined
returns, and the conditions that will lead to customer satisfaction have to be
identified early and remain within the project until the end.

Project Life-Cycle Planning


The Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step glossary defines the project life cycle as the
collection of generally sequential groups of activities or phases that make up a
project from start to finish. In other words, the project life cycle spans your project
from start to finish. You can find and discover different ways to organize a project
life cycle. Waterfall methods typically organize projects in phases, whereas
agile methods break projects into sprints or iterations.

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Module 01: Introduction to Projects


Waterfall Essentials
The Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step glossary defines the waterfall project as one
that follows a sequential software development process. Progress flows steadily
downward (like a waterfall) through the phases of Analysis, Design, Development,
Deployment, and Operation.
The waterfall model is the classic and widely accepted software life-cycle model. It
enforces moving to the next phase only after the previous phase is finished.
Phase Closing
Phases represent separate time periods within the project. A project phase is a
breakdown of time in your project. In each phase, deliverables and activities are
planned. This breakdown represents how you organize your project life cycle.
Phases are an important element in any waterfall approach. In waterfall you
should not only identify phases but close them too. Without phase closing, your
phase-based approach does not exist.
At the end of a phase, a milestone meeting must be conducted. During this
meeting, the team stops to review the previous time period. The team checks if all
planned deliverables were delivered and if this work is accepted by the user
organization. This review also has to make sure that the project team is in
alignment with the progress of the project. Issues and risks for the next phase
should be addressed. During this meeting you must decide to proceed with the
next phase and its planned deliverables or to continue the existing phase. This last
scenario is applicable when the planned work has not yet been delivered, too
many quality issues still arise, or necessary acceptance is lacking.
Phases are a breakdown used to increase your management control. It is easier to
control a smaller part of time and scope than the whole project duration at one
time.
Challenges for the Phase-Based Approach
Identifying and representing phases for your project on paper is not that difficult.
However, carefully planning and respecting the thorough essence of a phasebased approach is much more challenging.
Many waterfall projects are executed without phase closing meetings. This means
that these projects are basically managed in one phase. There is also a strong
tendency to slip into the next phase before finishing the planned work of the
previous phase . By doing this, deliverables and effort are postponed to a later
phase. This can be the result of a rational decision or caused by ignorance and
poor management control. When this postponement becomes a habit, an
overload of work may slow later phases, and even weigh down efforts when you
are close to go-live. This is a risk for your project as it impedes any proactive
approach and pollutes the deployment phase with non-deployment activities.

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Phase Planning and Execution
A successful waterfall project life cycle not only relies on the use of phases, it also
depends on balanced planning of deliverables and activities for each phase.
Typical waterfall planning starts with highly interactive first phases, but struggles
to maintain stable and continuous interaction levels throughout the whole project
life cycle.
Typically, customer interactions decline right after analysis activities as more
technical design and later development activities are executed. This drop in
interaction may cause a communication black hole, jeopardizing not only
expectations and perceptions but your project success as well.

Project Management
The previous lessons positioned and explained projects and their challenges.
Projects differ from routine operations and cannot be managed like operations.
Real projects need real project management. This lesson defines a project,
promotes it as an organizational competence, and lists project management
disciplines and processes.

Lesson Objectives
The objectives are:

Define project management.

Explain organizational benefits.

Describe project management disciplines and processes.

Project Management Definition


Project management is a methodical approach to plan and guide project
processes from start to finish. Project management can be applied to almost any
type of project and is widely used to control the complex processes of ERP and
CRM software projects. The Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step glossary defines project
management as the discipline of organizing and managing resources toward a
specific goal or end result within defined scope, time, and cost constraints.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines Project Management as the
application of knowledge, skills, and techniques to execute projects effectively and
efficiently. It is a strategic competency for organizations, enabling them to tie
project results to business goals and therefore, better compete in their markets.

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Module 01: Introduction to Projects


A Recognized and Strategic Organizational Competence
A disciplined project management process is important to any project. It helps
you control and reduce typical and unique project risks and deliver your projects
while respecting promised quality standards. Project management plays an
important role in any quality management or improvement strategy. Adapting to
standardized project methodologies has proven to be very useful for software
implementers as it introduces a repeatable implementation process into the
organization.
The Project Management Institute states that when customized, or fit, to an
organizations culture, project management brings value by improving the
following:

The execution of strategy, through repeatable, reliable performance


and standardization.

The integration within the organization, through elimination of silos


and better communication and collaboration.

The learning that a project organization undergoes as it explores new


products, processes, and markets.

Project Management Disciplines


PMIs nine knowledge domains or disciplines give you an overview of what a
project manager (PM) has to oversee. These include the following:
1.

Project Integration Management.

2.

Project Scope Management.

3.

Project Time Management.

4.

Project Cost Management.

5.

Project Quality Management.

6.

Project Human Resources Management.

7.

Project Communications Management.

8.

Project Risk Management.

9.

Project Procurement Management.

This means that a project manager works with all these domains for the unique
project. In most operations-driven companies, separate line management is
installed for each of these different domains. For example, you find someone
managing quality management while another person is responsible for the
communication of the company. In projects, one project manager manages this
variety of different domains. This is undoubtedly a very challenging and
demanding responsibility, which requires sufficient time.

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Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step includes literature and guidance about all these
project management disciplines in the project management library.

Project Management Processes


Project management processes do not break up time. They describe a series of
project management actions. Project management processes are concerned with
describing and organizing the work of the project and differ from phases as they
do not represent any time period. You should plan for initiation, planning,
executing, controlling, and closing activities in each phase.
According to the Project Management Institute, the processes fall into five groups:

Initiation authorizing the project or phase.

Planning defining and refining objectives and actions to obtain


objectives.

Executing coordinating people and other resources to carry out the


plan.

Controlling monitoring and measuring progress regularly to identify


variances from the plan.

Closing formalizing acceptance and bringing it to an end.

This also makes clear that closing should be not only formalized at the end of the
project but also an important process in each phase.

Agile Models
This lesson introduces the agile principles for software development and
implementation.

Lesson Objectives
The objectives are:

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Position agile vs. waterfall models.

Explore agile development.

Introduce Scrum.

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Module 01: Introduction to Projects


Positioning
Traditional waterfall methods aspire to define the project scope in the early stages
of the project life cycle. When the full project scope is approved, the project
continues with design, development, implementation, and deployment activities.
A typical waterfall project does not accommodate customers who frequently
change their minds about what they want and need, as all scope must be
captured, analyzed, formalized, and approved in requirements before any other
task can start.
This scope ambition seems to be difficult to realize for many custom development
projects because they have to capture all scope in detail before any programming
can start. As a result, deliveries are delayed, causing perception and expectation
risks for customer stakeholders.
Agile software development promotes and guides adaptive planning, evolutionary
development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and rapid and flexible
response to change. The full scope does not have to be documented and
approved before development can start. Agile methods break tasks into small
increments with minimal planning and do not directly involve long-term planning.

Agile Development
Agile development is a term that is derived from the Agile Manifesto, which was
written in 2001 by a group that includes the creators of Scrum, Extreme
Programming (XP), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), and Crystal;
a representative of feature-driven development; and several other thought leaders
in the software industry. The Agile Manifesto established a common set of
overarching values and principles for all the individual agile methodologies at the
time. It details the following four core values for enabling high-performing teams:
(Jeff Sutherland, Agile Principles and Values, http://msdn.microsoft.com/enus/library/dd997578(v=vs.100).aspx, accessed 9/2/2012.)

Individuals and their interactions.

Delivering working software.

Customer collaboration.

Responding to change.

Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step defines agile as a project type that refers to a
method of software development based on iterative development cycles
(iterations), where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration
between self-organizing cross-functional teams. Each agile methodology
approaches these values in a slightly different way, but all these methodologies
have specific processes and practices that foster one or more of these values.

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Agile Is an Umbrella
Agile development is not a methodology in itself. It is an umbrella term that
describes several agile methodologies. At the signing of the Agile Manifesto in
2001, these methodologies included Scrum, XP, Crystal, FDD, and DSDM. Since
then, Lean practices have also emerged as a valuable agile methodology and so
are included under the agile development umbrella. More than 80 percent of
agile implementations worldwide are Scrum or XP. (Jeff Sutherland, Agile
Principles and Values, http://msdn.microsoft.com/enus/library/dd997578(v=vs.100).aspx, accessed 9/2/2012.)

FIGURE 01.5: AGILE UMBRELLA

Scrum
Scrum is a framework for running projects that is based on agile principles and
values. It defines a set of activities that can help your team deliver more value to
your customers faster. These activities provide your customers the opportunity to
review, guide, and influence your team's work as it progresses. This approach does
not try to define everything at the start of a project. Instead, your team works in
short iterations (also known as sprints) and refines the plan as the team makes
progress. (Jeff Sutherland, Agile Principles and Values,
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd997578(v=vs.100).aspx, accessed
9/2/2012.) Scrum focuses on projects where it is difficult to plan ahead.
Mechanisms of empirical process control, in which feedback loops make up the
core management technique, are used instead of traditional command- and
control-oriented management.

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Module 01: Introductio


on to Projjects

FIGURE 01.6: SPRINT


A sprint is the basic unit of developmeent in Scrum. Sprints last b
between one w
week
and one mo
onth. They are
e restricted to
o a specific du
uration of a co
onstant length
h
(time boxed
d).

FIGURE 01.7: SCRUM PROCESS


A planning meeting, whe
ere the tasks ffor the sprint are identified
d and an estim
mated
commitmen
nt for the sprint goal is made, comes beefore each sprrint. The sprintt is
followed byy a review or retrospective
r
meeting, wheere progress is reviewed an
nd
lessons for the
t next sprin
nt are identifieed.

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During each sprint, the team creates finished parts of a product. The set of
features that go into a sprint come from the product backlog. This is a prioritized
list of requirements. Which backlog items go into the sprint (the sprint goals) is
determined during the sprint planning meeting. During this meeting, the product
owner informs the team of the items in the product backlog that he or she wants
completed (those with the highest priority). The team then determines how much
of this they can commit to completing during the next sprint and records this in
the sprint backlog.
The sprint backlog is property of the development team. That is, during a sprint,
no one can edit the sprint backlog except for the development team. The sprint
goals should not be changed during the sprint. Development is time boxed so
that the sprint must end on time. If requirements are not completed for any
reason, they are left out and returned to the product backlog. After a sprint is
completed, the team demonstrates how to use the software.
A key principle of Scrum is its recognition that during a project the customers can
change their minds about what they want and need (frequently called
requirements churn), and that unpredicted challenges cannot be easily addressed
in a traditional predictive or planned manner. As such, Scrum adopts an empirical
approachaccepting that the problem cannot be fully understood or defined,
focusing instead on maximizing the teams ability to deliver quickly and respond
to emerging requirements. In rugby football, a scrum refers to the manner of
restarting the game after a minor infraction.

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Module 01: Introduction to Projects

Lab 1.3: List Project Management Best Practices


Objectives
In this lab you summarize what you have learned in this chapter and list project
management best practices that are most important to you.

Exercise 1: List Project Management Best Practices


Exercise Scenario
Task 1: List three project management best practices that are in your opinion
very important for successful project delivery.

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Module Review
Best Practice: Projects are unique and temporary activities floating on
uncertainties. We cannot rely on traditional management techniques and
approaches optimized for routine operations instead projects must be managed by
adapted project management techniques. Both waterfall and agile methods do
provide best practices, approaches, tools and techniques optimized for driving your
projects to successes.

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