03 Aug

Risk vs Issue

Risk vs Issue is something that confuses us more than anything else in Project Management. I have myself always been confused about the difference between Risk and Issue. I always understood it as Issue is an event and Risk is the Consequence. I believe that most of us in the profession also think the same way. So I am not wrong…until I read the definition in PMBOK.



16 Sep

Creating Project Plan in MS Project

Every time I create a new MPP, I ask this question to myself “How and where to start?”. I very well remember the first time I created a Microsoft project plan and I was struggling on strategy to put a plan in place. There was nobody to mentor me. It is very essential that we start right. Here is what I found very useful for me:

  1. Identify tasks and Create task list
  2. Create a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
  3. Group the tasks based on functional or criteria in WBS
  4. Estimate every task in the WBS
  5. Then move all this information to Microsoft Project Plan or any other project management tool or you can even do step 1-4 inside the tool. I personally love to do with paper and pencil and then move it to software.

There is a very good tutorial on creating Microsoft Project Plan with the similar approach at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/project-help/create-a-project-plan-in-5-easy-steps-HA001136153.aspx


Rohit Prabhakar, PMP

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05 Aug

Journey to be a PMP was 10 days long!

I have been reading various forums for a long time and finally decided to get PMP done few weeks ago. Here is my schedule of action with exact dates on my journey for the project management certification:

August 19 2010:::: Enrolled for the PMStudy class for PMP in Milwaukee, WI, USA

August 20 2010:::: Not yet started the online study material for PMP

August 21 2010:::: Started with the online study material for PMP exam. The only thing I did that day was to memorize the process chart and the formulas provided by PMStudy. (Excellent chart from PMStudy)

August 22, 2010:::: Practiced the process chart only once

August 23, 2010: PMStudy class 8 AM to 6 PM (I had an excellent coach, Mr.Mike Tomaszewski , PMP. Learning was fun!), followed by 3 hrs of study at home (same as taught in class and few practice tests provided in the course)

August 24, 2010:::: PMStudy class 8 AM to 6 PM, followed by 3 hrs of study at home (same as taught in class and few practice tests provided in the course). I am excited to become PMP certified.

August 25, 2010:::: PMStudy class 8 AM to 6 PM

August 26, 2010:::: PMStudy class 8 AM to 3 PM, followed by 5 hrs of study at home (all processes and few practice tests provided in the course)

August 27, 2010:::: Reread all the important as marked as instructed by Mike in the PMStudy book. Took 2 practice test ( 200 question, provided by PMStudy). Practiced the Process Chart and formulas 2 times. Checked ITTOs for Risk, Procurement and Quality. Watched a movie.

August 28, 2010:::: Took 1 practice test ( 200 question, provided by PMStudy). Practiced the Process Chart and formulas 1 time. Checked ITTOs for Risk, Procurement and Quality once again. Watched a 2 movies (1 in noon and 1 evening!@home). Got to bed at 10 (As advised by Mike and PMStudy, 12 hrs rest and no study before the exam)

August 29, 2010: Reached the Prometric testing center @ 8:45 AM. Test started at 9:30, completed 1st round with 75 marked for review in 2:15. Then took 1:15 to review all 75 and finally the rest of the time to re-review the marked ones that I was super confused about. System had to force time out for me :o) and then the blank screen came

20 May


Scrum has been successfully used for projects with 500+ team members lots of time. As SCRUM can only last for 15 minutes and some other similar rules hence in order to scale the SCRUM for bigger team we can use SCRUM OF SCRUMS. Based on the type of work the scrum team is constituted for every 7 to 10 team members having a Scrum master and the Product Owner. After the first lever team SCRUMS we have SCRUM of SCRUMS and there could also be more level of SCRUM OF SCRUMS.

17 May

SCRUM:Some facts and resources

Other facts about Scrum

  • The scrum methodology originated in 1993 at Easel Corp by Jeff Sutherland
  • Ken Schwaber presented Scrum at OOPSLA 96 with Sutherland
  • Ken Schwaber and Mike Cohn Co-founded Scrum Alliance in 2002
  • Used by all major companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, IBM, Siemens, John Deere, Time Warner, Turner Broadcasting, BBC and many more..
  • Used for software projects, life critical system, mobile phones, websites, Satellite controlled soft wares, support projects
14 May

SCRUM: Artifacts

Product Backlog

The product backlog is a document that contains the list of all desired work on the project. All these entries have an overall description, priority based on business value and rough estimates specified. This document is owned by the Product Owner and he/she sets the business value for each item. While the team is responsible for updating the development estimates in the document. This document is re-prioritized at the start of each and every sprint.

Sprint Backlog

Sprint Backlog is a team document that is used to plan how the features will be implemented. In this document the team breaks the features into tasks. Normally these tasks are four to sixteen hours of work. If the task has an associated effort of more than 16 hrs it is broken down into a small task. The tasks are never assigned, the team member voluntarily choose the tasks as per the priority and their skills. The Sprint Backlog is owned by the team. The overall outcome of this document can be visualized as a TO DO arranged according to the business value.

Sample Sprint Backlog

Burn down

The Burn Down chart is used to display the pending work in the sprint backlog. The burn down chart provides the visual representation of the overall progress of the Sprint. This is updated daily and is visible to the world.

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13 May

SCRUM: All the different Meetings

Saturday Scrum Sprint 03
Image by alandd via Flickr

Sprint Planning Meeting

  • Planning must be done at the beginning of every sprint cycle.
  • Team selects items from the product backlog they can commit to completing
  • Sprint backlog is created by the entire team.
  • Tasks are identified and each is estimated (1-16 hours)
  • Collaboratively, not done alone by the ScrumMaster
  • An Eight hour limit applies to this meeting. During the 1st 4 hrs The Product owner and team prioritizes the product backlog and later only team plans the sprint and creates the Sprint Backlog.
  • Time limit: 8 hrs

Daily Scrum (Daily Standup) Meeting

Daily Scrum is more like a daily project status meeting which is very short and nothing other than the status can be discussed. The following are the key characteristics of Scrum.

  • Daily and starts precisely on time.
  • Daily Scrum must happen at same location and every working day at same time
  • Only Scrum Master and Team members can speak (anyone can join)
  • Not for problem solving (no discussions on reasons/approach etc.)
  • Everyone answers 3 questions and the Scrum Master documents this:
    • What have you done since yesterday?
    • What are you planning to do today?
    • Anything in the way (issues/concerns). The resolution cannot be discussed in the Scrum. It should be discussed after.
  • Time limit: 15-minutes

The Sprint Review Meeting

  • Outcome of the sprint is reviewed. What is completed and what is left.
  • A demo is provided of the completed work only.
  • Team and anyone from outside can participate (Open House)
  • Time limit: 4 hours.

Sprint Retrospective Meeting

  • This meeting is for identifying and implementing continuous process improvements
  • Two questions are asked:
    • What went well in the Sprint?
    • What could be improved in next Sprint?
  • The outcome is what to Start / Stop / Continue.
  • This is attended by team, ScrumMaster and Product Owner.
  • Time limit: 3 hrs
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11 May

SCRUM: What are the different Roles?

Scrum has 3 type of roles

Product Owner

A Product Owner compiles all the changes planned for the product and prioritizes the possible functionalities. - “Scrum in five minutes” by SOFTHOUSE

  • Product Owner defines the features of the product and also sets the priority
  • Product Owner decides the release date and content of the product
  • Product Owner is