Meaningful versus mundane

 We all deal with project management. Leads and program managers (PMs) deal with it constantly. There are meetings, status reports, charts, and dashboards. Project management beats project chaos, but how much of it really matters? What’s meaningful versus mundane?

You can tell the new or incompetent leads and PMs from the capable ones by the things they care about most. The naïve and nitwits care most about estimates, time at work, and status reports—things that are useful, but not meaningful. The savvy and successful care most about priorities, completed work, and quality measures.

Effective teams provide estimates as needed, spend time at work together for easier collaboration, and send out status reports as desired. But no one confuses these things with what really matters: having the right priorities, getting work done, and maintaining quality at all times (low technical debt). Disagree? You’re deluded. Need convincing? Read on.

Judge a man by his questions

Why do inept leads and PMs ask for weekly status reports, track every hour you’re working, and not urinate without an estimate? Because they’ve confused correlation with causation—such an old mistake that there’s Latin for it: cum hoc ergo propter hoc (“with this, therefore because of this”).

It’s true that estimates are correlated with how long things take to get done, working is correlated with completing work, and reporting status is correlated with driving work completion and quality. However, you can have estimates, work long hours, and provide plenty of status updates without completing a thing of value.

Instead, competent leads and PMs focus directly on completed work. Since the work isn’t actually complete until it meets the quality bar, competent leads and PMs watch quality like hawks watch prey. Since value can’t be delivered to customers until the essential features are complete, regardless of how long it takes, competent leads and PMs pay far more attention to priority order than they do to estimates.

I like the mundane

The nitwits will say, “Yeah, but how can you ensure on-time delivery without estimates?” I’d say, “How can you ensure on-time delivery with estimates?” Truth be told, you can’t.

However, as I mentioned earlier, estimates are useful. They can help you lay out a plan of work and commit to certain deliverables with some level of confidence (see I would estimate). Likewise, being at work and collaborating in person with your co-workers and partners makes a big difference (see Collaboration cache—colocation). Status reports build trust across your organization and partners, provide a handy project history, and help keep everyone aligned on a big project (see Coordinated agility).

But don’t get confused—being useful doesn’t make something essential. You can run a successful project with no estimates, no regular work hours, and no status reports. You can’t run a successful project without priorities, completed work, and acceptable quality.

Minding your matters

The naïve will say, “But managing a successful project without estimates, regular work hours, and status reports is impossible!” Actually, it’s easy; just follow these five simple steps:

  1. Make a list of all the work you need to do for the project. You can add to the list dynamically as needed. Many folks call this list the backlog.

  2. Put all the absolutely essential work items first; followed by the items that seem essential at first glance, but really aren’t; followed by all the other stuff you’d like to get done. (Read You can’t have it all for further details.)

  3. Track completed work, with the caveat that the work isn’t really complete unless it meets the quality bar. Ideally, you are constantly sharing completed user scenarios and stories with customers, getting their feedback, and ensuring end-to-end quality.

  4. Calculate when the project will be “ready” by multiplying the number of absolutely essential work items by the rate at which you complete work items. The “ready” date for every project I’ve ever worked on in 20 years at Microsoft has always been well before the committed delivery date. Projects slip due to poor quality or deferring essential work, not because there’s insufficient time.

  5. Stop adding new work once you’re past the ready date and close to the desired delivery date. Then do some final validation and deliver your results.

Note that these five steps assume you are regularly completing work with acceptable quality. If, instead, you build up incomplete work and wait until the end of the project to finish it and meet the quality bar, then the horror that is your life is well-deserved. Read The evils of inventoryto become enlightened.

And yes, I understand that if everyone flew to Hawaii and didn’t do any work, the project wouldn’t get completed on time. It’s also true that an asteroid could destroy mankind tomorrow. Neither event is likely. Remember, you’re tracking completed work and driving end-to-end quality—everyone is accountable.

Eric Aside

Admittedly, I’ve provided a highly simplified set of steps. I fail to discuss dependencies (see You can depend on me) and a host of other nuances. However, the high-level five steps are basically the same for every project.

Also, experienced project managers might point out that the large variance in work item size makes my “ready” date computation suspect. With a large collection of work items, that variance evens out. If you’re desperate for higher confidence, read I would estimate. If you also want to account for the rate that new work items are being added, read my chapter on “Hitting deadlines” in Agile Project Management with Kanban.

What’s the harm?

Okay, so estimates, regular work hours, and status reports aren’t essential. What’s the harm in demanding them anyway? There isn’t any harm as long as you keep some perspective and stay flexible about these nonessential activities.

However, when leaders care as much or more about nonessential work as they do about essential work, they send three bad messages to their teams:

  • The leaders are inept. Leaders are inept when they demonstrate a lack of understanding about what’s important.

  • The leaders don’t trust the team members. Leaders that micromanage details that aren’t essential, rather than sticking to the high-level deliverables that are, show that they don’t trust their people to work properly.

  • The leaders are uncaring and inflexible. People are busy enough without unnecessary tasks, and they should be allowed to work flexible hours. Leaders that ignore these facts are stiff and uncaring.

In other words, ask for estimates, work hours, and status reports if you must, but don’t get carried away, and don’t push for work that isn’t really useful.

A new hope

There’s no need for you to be naïve or a nitwit. Focus on what matters. Relentlessly prioritize work. Trust work that is completed and meets the quality bar, not a status report that says the work is “almost finished.” Base your decisions and direction on real data from real progress, not on hope and estimates (unless that’s really all you have).

When you focus on what matters, you deliver with confidence and gain the respect and trust of your partners and co-workers. You can afford to be flexible about everything else, which makes you admired and appreciated. I know it sounds simple. That’s because the best things in life are.


Source: NAV

Blinking Lights are useful

A while ago, computers had blinking lights on a front panel. I recognized various patterns of blinking lights as indicating various operating modes: idle, waiting for teletype input, typing on the teletype machine, reading a paper tape, busy with high CPU usage. This is similar to the technology of the computer that‘s still running on Voyager 1 launched 38 years ago in 1977. It keeps the antenna pointed toward Earth and controls the cameras. There aren’t many electronic things that old that are still…(read more)
Source: NAV

Extend your Dynamics NAV Manufacturing

Now there are better ways for you to improve and harmonize your manufacturing operations in the areas of CAD – Production engineering, Production planning & Execution (MES) and Item Availability Planning.

  • Fully Dynamics NAV integrated solutions.
  • Just a few hours to install and customize the way you want to use it. Then use it..
  • Absolutely no code changes to your current Dynamics NAV.
  • Just a day or two to learn and run for all employees.
  • Microsoft certified solutions.

Preprepare yourself for a new enhanced production management experience.

by NAVEKSA


Source: NAV

Windows 10 and MSCRM – What You Should Know

Today is the day! Windows 10 is finally here, and people everywhere are eagerly downloading their free upgrades as we speak. But if you're a Microsoft Dynamics CRM User, there are a few things you should know before you upgrade your operating system. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Product Team has confirmed that updates will be coming to support the use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Windows 10 and the new Microsoft Edge browser. When Office 2016 RTM is released, support will be available for the following versions of MSCRM:

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 will be supported with the release of Update Rollup 4 for Service Pack 1 (6.1.4)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Updates and Hotfixes

Microsoft Dynamics 2015 will be supported with the release of Update 0.2 (7.0.2) and Update 1.1 (7.1.1)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Updates and Hotfixes

Microsoft has not yet confirmed the availability dates of the above releases. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you happen to be using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (or earlier versions) and you are interested in moving up to Windows 10, now is the time to start thinking about an upgrade.

Beringer Associates a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and CRM for Distribution. We also provide expert managed IT services, cloud based computing and unified communication systems.

By Beringer Associates

Windows 10 and MSCRM – What You Should Know is a post from: CRM Software Blog

The post Windows 10 and MSCRM – What You Should Know appeared first on CRM Software Blog.


Source: CRM

Windows 10 and MSCRM – What You Should Know

Today is the day! Windows 10 is finally here, and people everywhere are eagerly downloading their free upgrades as we speak. But if you're a Microsoft Dynamics CRM User, there are a few things you should know before you upgrade your operating system. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Product Team has confirmed that updates will be coming to support the use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Windows 10 and the new Microsoft Edge browser. When Office 2016 RTM is released, support will be available for the following versions of MSCRM:

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 will be supported with the release of Update Rollup 4 for Service Pack 1 (6.1.4)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Updates and Hotfixes

Microsoft Dynamics 2015 will be supported with the release of Update 0.2 (7.0.2) and Update 1.1 (7.1.1)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Updates and Hotfixes

Microsoft has not yet confirmed the availability dates of the above releases. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you happen to be using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (or earlier versions) and you are interested in moving up to Windows 10, now is the time to start thinking about an upgrade.

Beringer Associates a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and CRM for Distribution. We also provide expert managed IT services, cloud based computing and unified communication systems.

By Beringer Associates

Windows 10 and MSCRM – What You Should Know is a post from: CRM Software Blog

The post Windows 10 and MSCRM – What You Should Know appeared first on CRM Software Blog.


Source: CRM

July 2015 release notes

The Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services team is happy to announce the immediate availability of the July release of Lifecycle Services.

 NEW FEATURES

General

  • You can now submit an ERP translation support request for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Details on how you can use this feature can be found here. (This is a Preview Feature.)
  • You can now deploy Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 CU9 evaluation version from Azure marketplace

Business process modeler

At a parent level, you can now combine all child flow charts to make a consolidated view of all child process lines by clicking Compose child lines.

  

You can revert  this change by clicking Clear composed line.


  Cloud-hosted environments

  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 topologies now default to deploying Dynamics AX 2012 CU9. To deploy prior versions of Dynamics AX, click Advanced Settings > Supported Versions.
  • Dynamics AX 2012 R3 topologies, excluding Demo, now support SQL Server Disk customizations where #disks and disk sizes can be customized in Advanced Settings.

Update Experience

The new update experience which was made available during the May update for Dynamics AX 2012 R3 is now available for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2. In order to use this experience, you must have System diagnostics enabled for your AX 2012 R2 environment and this experience is best designed for customers who are on R2 CU7 or R2 CU8.

Private Preview Features – Known issues:

In the Microsoft Dynamics ‘AX 7′ Technical Preview, you will experience issues when trying to save a task recording output to LCS. At this time, there is no workaround for the issue.


Source: NAV

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