Project Management Budgeting: Phase in, Phase out – it’s the Agile Way!
In my last blog, The Elephant…I mean Project Budget Question…in the Room, I spoke about the importance of having documented requirements in order to move forward with your software implementation. I also wrote about the importance of knowing your budget, how the Project Management Office (PMO) can craft a solution that can fit any budget and, if we need to, how we can create a plan to span across multiple budget periods or phases. Lastly, I told you how with the agile methodology we use at ArcherPoint, phasing your project happens naturally. This is what we are going to review today.
After the project requirements have been converted into what we call user stories, and those stories have been given a point value to help us manage timeframes and costs, you have a list of manageable pieces of scope that can be completed in a 3-week “sprint” cycle – that is your product backlog. This is your entire project implementation in, basically, a list view. Together, with the customer-assigned product owner, we will walk through the user stories and prioritize them in the order of preferred delivery. This is what I love about agile. With this methodology you are able to deliver business value as you move through the project life cycle.
For example, at the start of the project, we will need to do certain things first. Obviously, we need to have things in place (like an environment!) and there are various standard setups that have to occur as well, but, once the foundation is in place, the choice is yours. Do you want to work on inventory first? Is accounts payable a bigger pain point? That’s okay. The point is, you can work on any functional area in whatever order you chose – and use it immediately. The foundation is there, the environments are ready for you to deploy, and when we say the scope is complete, that means it’s useable, you’ve been trained, and we are “done-done.” That means we have nothing else to do – the scope is delivered, and we can move on to the next area of choice.
Did we run out of funds before we were able to complete those last two pieces of the scope? Well, since we worked the project scope in the order of priority, those last two pieces were probably the least important. Those items were naturally phased out of the project plan or phased into the next budget period.
Agile is a fantastic approach to software implementations. It allows you to take control of your project one piece of scope at a time. Surprises are negligible since you know what’s “done-done,” and you know what your actual costs are at any given time. To me, agile means peace of mind, and that’s tough to find when we are being pulled in a million different directions. When things are crazy with your daily responsibilities at work, you can at least find peace in knowing the true status of your project; you can find comfort in knowing that ArcherPoint is successfully managing your project using this approach.