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Is Agile Project Management Right for My Nonprofit?

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May's 501TechNYC Presentation

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Is Agile Project Management Right for My Nonprofit?

  1. 1. Is Agile Project Management Right for My Nonprofit? 501 Tech NYC May 27, 2015 1
  2. 2. 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. 2
  3. 3. 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 based software. I also blog at Nonprofitbridge.com on Technology, Communications and Fundraising and help seniors to live more fulfilling lives. 3
  4. 4. ■ What is Project Management (and some of the challenges)? ■ What is Agile Project Management? ■ How Can You Use Agile for Your Nonprofit Projects? The Questions 4
  5. 5. What is Project Management? 1 5 You probably do it, even if it is not in your job title
  6. 6. Quick definitions A project: ■ 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 6
  7. 7. What project managers manage ■ Requirements ■ Budget ■ Timeline ■ Quality ■ Stakeholders ■ End Users ■ Team 7
  8. 8. To state the obvious: Projects don’t always go according to plan. 8
  9. 9. And nonprofit projects have their own special challenges. 9
  10. 10. What are some of the challenges of all projects? What are some of the challenges of projects in a non profit? 10
  11. 11. What is “Agile” Project Management? Define the terms, get beyond the hype 2 11
  12. 12. “ Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan (Original “Agile Manifesto”) 12
  13. 13. “Agile is a mindset not a process. 13
  14. 14. 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!) 14
  15. 15. Iterative vs. Incremental What does it mean to “iterate” on something? Create distinct and discrete parts one after the other. Revise versions of a complete whole, improving it over time. 15
  16. 16. 16
  17. 17. Some Agile vocabulary words Sprint/Iteration Repeating timebox in which work goes through the entire cycle of planning, execution, testing/review, clean up, and implement/publish. Standup Meeting Quick, periodic check in meetings, at least one time per sprint/iteration, to identify blocks and coordinate efforts. Product Owner Person who takes ownership of product on behalf of other stakeholders and prioritizes needs along the way. Scrum Master Person who refines process based on feedback from team, unblocks blocks and facilitates communication. User Stories Requirements or needs written as a brief narrative describing end result, e.g., “User can search by keyword” Backlog List of user stories still to be done, continuously added to, ordered and re-ordered by priority. Story Points A high level way to mark the effort it will likely take to complete a story so that the PO can make decisions. Release Also called “deploy” or “implement”, this is the point at which you publish reviewed work for use and feedback. 17
  18. 18. How could an Agile mindset address common project challenges? 18
  19. 19. 19 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
  20. 20. 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- project ■ Business processes weren’t well thought out by internal team ■ End users didn’t stay involved 20
  21. 21. YES, DEFINITELY ■ 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? 21
  22. 22. So what types of projects work best with Agile? MAYBE NOT ■ 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 22
  23. 23. How Can You Use Agile for Your Nonprofit Project? 3 Adopting the mindset, evolving a process 23
  24. 24. A simple Agile process Define all needs as outcomes. Define length and number of work periods, and “just enough” product. Team selects outcomes for first work period. Work. Assess. Remove blocks. Adjust process. Add new needs. Reprioritize everything. Team selects outcomes for second work period. Check at the end of the work period. Work. 24
  25. 25. Needs Scheduled In Progress Finished Accepted 25 Using Trello to manage the process
  26. 26. A more complex Agile process write new requirements (if any) plan + estimate (high level) prioritize + scope remaining requirements select next group of requirements plan + estimate (refined) build test + fix client review not built as planned? built as planned? release/deploy start 26
  27. 27. Done Current Backlog 27 Using Pivotal Tracker to manage the process
  28. 28. 28 Detail view of “current” column
  29. 29. 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. 29
  30. 30. Resources ■ 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 AIM Consulting ■ The Agile Nonprofit - CivicActions ■ ConsultancyScrum.org Using Agile for a client/vendor technology project. ■ TheHumanSideofAgile.com - Gil Broza ■ AgileManifesto.org 30
  31. 31. Questions? Suggestions? 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? 31
  32. 32. Thanks!Any questions? Find us! Monica-Lisa Mills @monalisa_ny | monica@monica-lisa.com Norman H. Reiss @nonprofitbridge | nreiss@nonprofitbridge.com 32

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