Time boxing IT Projects - Part 2

Posted by Kevin Brady on Mon 28th August 2006 at 09:00 AM, Filed in Project Management

STAGE 2 – Developing a stakeholder project team.

Firstly, you need to change your company’s HR salary review and career development policies in order to make everyone on the project team a stakeholder and not just a salaried employee.


I have, more times than I can remember, convened departmental meetings with all staff present and told them that the game has changed :-

  • All salary reviews and bonuses will be pinned directly to peoples personal delivery achievements at product level i.e a group of tasks put together and actioned to deliver a specific document or system component, and measured via iterative updates to project plans. When slippages do occur on timboxed delivery dates the issues and assumptions associated with these slippages are taken into account during salary reviews so as to be totally far to all concerned. In the past this has been hard to achieve but this has proved to be a worthy goal on a number of occasions.
  • Promotions /training needs to be offered to consistent high achievers who regularly achieve target delivery dates, quality standards and show resilience and determination in trying to overcome difficult issues and unrealistic assumptions (set at the start of the project).

I always try to impress on IT staff during such an important period of change the following key concept –

“If you are good at what you do then you have everything to gain. If you are not good at what you do then you will need to buck your ideas up, or learn to improve your skills /productivity. We want everyone to be best of breed and mentoring /help will always be on offer”

I find these changes usually make those who have been coasting either buck up their ideas or leave.

Where I have not been able to change HR practices, I have disintermediated the established HR systems /methods by giving high achieving staff unofficial time off at personal risk to myself.

That is how much I believe in this stuff!

When people are given clear targets with appropriate rewards increased productivity can be achieved and MAGIC can occur.Trust Me!

However, watch out - This can sometimes be achieved through poor quality and working against the team (remember the human trait – “self-interest over the group mentioned earlier”) which needs to be controlled and monitored if the desired delivery outcome is to be achieved.

STAGE 3 – Ready yourself and your team for the Timebox Challenge.

(1) Prerequisites

These are the dictated constraints, which the project team has to work within. They are often company wide standards, which cannot be varied e.g.

  • No weekend working
  • No additional resource is obtainable
  • Budget limit
  • Development methods and constructs (i.e SSADM /DSDM and JAVA J2EE Vs .NET C#)
  • Testing tools and approach (V method)
  • Quality standards

These are just a few.

(2) Set your meeting objectives

Distribute this list of objectives as part of a meeting invite to the project team.
The list should read something like the following :-

- Project Team must estimate the following with you acting as a facilitator:-

  • Task breakdown
  • Task durations /effort
  • Dependencies.

- The team must identify and agree as part of the estimation process:-

  • Risks & Issues
  • Assumptions

- The team must assign risk /issue resolution owners and assign owners to the process of bottoming out assumptions. The selection should be based on domain experience and ability.

- Define and agree the roles and responsibilities of the team involved in developing each product.

- Make sure every team member is 100% utilised and they take named ownership of tasks required to build each product.

- Agree, unless predefined, the product owner responsible for the delivery of each product.

- Make sure everyone agrees at the end of the meeting that every product /stage plan, resource plan and associated risk /issue and assumption list is OK and that target delivery dates can be set.

Click Part 1 or Part 3 to see other posts in this series.


This entry has been viewed 2691 times.


A 40hr workday is a bit excessive…

Posted by Les Walker  on Mon 11th September 2006 at 07:13 PM | #

I never said in these posts a 40 hr day unless your being sarcastic. Please explain

Posted by Kevin_Brady  on Tue 12th September 2006 at 12:32 PM | #


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