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Norman - Ask if anything is missing from this definition? Ask for examples of a project someone is working on right now that is technical. Ask for examples of one that is not.
Norman - overview.
Monica: Ask for a list of some of the challenges of projects in general. What types of things tend to go wrong. Ask Norman for an example (timeline stretching out, etc)
Monica: Ask for a list of some of the challenges of projects in non profits in particular to address later. What special constraints do non profits typically have. What types of things tend to go wrong in projects?
Norman (Monica will write these down for later)
Monica - Review questions raised earlier in presentation
Monica - Agile was born in a software development world, with no external clients or budgets. The underlying concepts have value if you abstract them from the lingo and the specifics. They can be adapted to non technical projects, projects with limited or fixed budgets, or projects with a separate client team and a vendor/consultant team.
Monica / Norman
Monica & Norman
Is Agile Project Management Right for My Nonprofit?
Is Agile Project Management
Right for My Nonprofit?
501 Tech NYC
May 27, 2015
Hello!I’m Monica-Lisa Mills
For many years, I helped nonprofits, civic and
mission-driven organizations manage their digital
worlds, prepare themselves for digital projects and
hire and manage vendors.
Now, I manage the development team at Advomatic,
project managing large projects, and streamlining
client service processes and tools.
Hello!I’m Norman Reiss
I am a Project Manager at the Center for Court
Innovation, working with technology and research
staff to support, enhance and train staff on court
I also blog at Nonprofitbridge.com on Technology,
Communications and Fundraising and help seniors to
live more fulfilling lives.
■ What is Project
(and some of the
■ What is Agile Project
■ How Can You Use
Agile for Your
What is Project Management?
You probably do it, even if it is not in your job title
￭ Is temporary
￭ Creates something unique
￭ Has a series of steps
￭ Is not business as usual
A“project manager” is someone who:
￭ Applies knowledge, tools, skills and
processes to help meet project requirements
What project managers manage
￭ End Users
To state the obvious:
according to plan.
their own special
What are some of the
challenges of all projects?
What are some of the challenges of
projects in a non profit?
What is “Agile” Project
Define the terms, get beyond the hype
Individuals and interactions
over processes and tools
over contract negotiation
Responding to change
over following a plan
(Original “Agile Manifesto”)
Elements of the Agile mindset
￭ Work collaboratively
￭ Plan just enough and just in time
￭ Stop and regroup at periodic intervals
￭ Get feedback many times along the way
￭ Get feedback from the actual users
￭ Things will go wrong, so fail early and often
￭ Change happens, so reprioritize often
￭ Fix problems as you go
￭ Create a “just enough” product first,
then improve it (iterate!)
Iterative vs. Incremental
What does it mean to “iterate” on something?
Create distinct and
discrete parts one after
Revise versions of a
improving it over time.
Some Agile vocabulary words
Repeating timebox in which
work goes through the entire
cycle of planning, execution,
testing/review, clean up, and
Quick, periodic check in
meetings, at least one time
per sprint/iteration, to
identify blocks and
Person who takes ownership
of product on behalf of other
stakeholders and prioritizes
needs along the way.
Person who refines process
based on feedback from
team, unblocks blocks and
Requirements or needs
written as a brief narrative
describing end result, e.g.,
“User can search by
List of user stories still to be
done, continuously added to,
ordered and re-ordered by
A high level way to mark the
effort it will likely take to
complete a story so that the
PO can make decisions.
Also called “deploy” or
“implement”, this is the point at
which you publish reviewed work
for use and feedback.
How could an Agile mindset
address common project
Some of the benefits of an Agile mindset
￭ See value earlier
￭ Reduce project risks
￭ Respond to change more effectively
￭ Test in the real world in time to adjust
￭ Work with fixed budgets or timelines
￭ Involve others in creation, train as you go
Agile is not for every project or team
Norman’s recent experience:
■ Vendor used “Agile” but didn’t explain
terminology or process
■ Each “sprint” wasn’t handled as its own mini-
■ Business processes weren’t well thought out by
■ End users didn’t stay involved
￭ Evolving needs
￭ Have buy-in from team
￭ Project owner + team value collaboration
￭ Some planning can happen along the way
￭ Quality is more important than predictability
So what types of projects work best with Agile?
So what types of projects work best with Agile?
￭ Static needs or a repeat product
￭ Team does not see the value of Agile
￭ Project owner just wants it done
￭ Team prefers to work on their own
￭ Everything must be planned in advance
￭ Predictability is more important than quality
How Can You Use Agile
for Your Nonprofit Project?
Adopting the mindset, evolving a process
A simple Agile process
and number of
and “just enough”
outcomes for first
the end of
Needs Scheduled In Progress Finished Accepted
Using Trello to manage the process
A more complex Agile process
plan + estimate
prioritize + scope
plan + estimate
test + fix
not built as
built as planned?
Done Current Backlog
Using Pivotal Tracker to manage the process
Tips + Advice
■ Focus on the concepts more than on a set process
- on the why and not the how.
■ Adhere to the process, but let it evolve.
■ Blur the lines between roles - everyone is
accountable for things moving forward.
■ Try Agile principles on a simple project internally to
see how it feels.
■ Get buy-in from your internal team first.
Bring in a vendor/consultant later, if needed.
■ Project Management for Nonprofits
Updated NTEN presentation
■ How Project Management Can Be Used At Your Nonprofit
PMI Educational Foundation
■ How Agile Methodologies Helped Transform a Nonprofit’s Entire Practice
■ The Agile Nonprofit - CivicActions
Using Agile for a client/vendor technology project.
■ TheHumanSideofAgile.com - Gil Broza
How do you know if a vendor is really Agile?
How do you sell this idea to your team/boss?
What tools do you need to use Agile?
Have you applied Agile concepts successfully?
Thanks!Any questions? Find us!
@monalisa_ny | firstname.lastname@example.org
Norman H. Reiss
@nonprofitbridge | email@example.com