How to improve teams, execution and project management.

Scenario and Feature Matrix

One of the most effective approaches I've found for chunking up a project for incremental value is using a Scenario and Feature Matrix. Scenarios are Your Rows, Features are Your Columns A Scenario and Feature Matrix organizes scenarios and features into a simple view. The scenarios are your rows. The features are your columns. You list your scenarios in order of "MUST", "SHOULD", and "COULD" (or Pri 1, 2, and 3) .. through vNext. You list your features by cross-cutting and vertical. By cross-cutting, I mean that feature applies to multiple scenarios. By vertical, I mean that feature applies to just one scenario. It helps to think of scenarios in this case as goals customers achieve.


How do you gradually shift responsibility for a system to the customer?  How do you reduce the risk of a customer inheriting a system...

Framing the Landscape

At Microsoft, we use the term "frame" or "framing a problem" in the context of project management. You might hear somebody ask, "what's the frame?" or "how have you framed the problem?" A Frame is simply a way to partition a problem. The heart of a frame is coming up with a context to understand the dimensions that matter and figure out how to prioritize and scope. One way teams often frame a space is by building a catalog of user stories and then organizing them into themes.

Customer, Problem, Competition, and Success

This is a simple frame for testing your vision, your pitch for a project, or your proposed solution. One of my mentors uses it all the time to test the thinking and to make sure the team stays on track. I've adopted because it's a great way to stay focused on the basics. Don't let the basics get in the way of great results.

Fixed Price in XP Development

How can you leverage XP practices in a fixed-price contract?   One approach is to fix the price and the schedule, but somewhat vary the...