In her series HackingIAP for MIT, Abby Fitchner “Microsoft’s startup evangelist and all-around rockstar” offers video training on the Agile software development methodology, and the SCRUM framework. As Abby notes, Agile software development leverages several features of lean manufacturing, most notably “eliminating anything at all that is wasteful.” The SCRUM framework is a lightweight team setting characterized, as Abby puts it, by “touchpoints and feedback loops” which have been included to ensure that team efforts keep on track.
Eric Eaton’s set of video tutorials on managing projects with SharePoint Server 2010 for SharePoint-Videos includes two videos on the topic of using SharePoint to manage projects with Agile’s SCRUM Framework. As Eric notes, Agile is presently en vogue. As we see it, the present popularity of Agile project management likely stems from today’s constrained fiscal realities for enterprise project development. These “lean” realities call for an approach to project management that is dedicated to eliminating waste, while sharply focused attention is kept on successfully delivering a sequence of objectives in the most efficient manner possible, meaning one at a time, rather than through a multitasking approach. Coincidentally, these two objectives are native to the Agile project management method.
Eric specifically demonstrates how to manage projects by name and schedule with SharePoint. With historical data relative to the actual duration of SCRUM projects vs planned, we can extrapolate a useful metric for project portfolio management purposes. Similarly, the ability to track total task hours provides another useful metric for the same purpose. Finally, Eric shows us how to utlize SharePoint Designer to produce a button (and accompanying workflow) to start the clock running on a new SCRUM sprint.
We think that utilizing SharePoint to collect metrics on the history of SCRUM sprints makes sense. The fact that we do not require Microsoft Project to collect this information adds substantial value to a SharePoint implementation. SCRUM sprints of all types can be managed via the same method that Eric Eaton demonstrates within this set of videos, including SCRUM sprints for revenue-generating work for external customers, thereby adding additional value. Of course, pulling all of these metrics into a project portfolio management system ensures that all project data, as gathered across an enterprise, is accounted for by the system, which lends validity to any conclusions that may be drawn from the data.
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