You are NOT a PM who has kept up with the times if
- You are not facilitating a working group (WG) with adequate technology, business and QA presence
- The WG is basically a status update call
- Even worse, you don’t have a WG setup!
Some things you can do to setup and facilitate an effective working group are are
Get the "purpose" right
- To provide people the forum to raise obstacles in their path
- Resolve issues needing collaboration with different teams (or take actions to solve offline)
- Share planning information - set expectations on plan
- Make recommendations to the steering committee
Get the right "participation"
- Get Representation from Technology, Business Analysts, Business (Line) and Quality assurance.
- DO NOT let participants forward your invite unless done for delegation.
- Follow-up for lack of participation
Get the "agenda" right
- Move the agenda with project evolution i.e. At the start of the project, use it as a planning forum - use it to get assign actions on defining governance, project communication, project objectives, defining scope, close resourcing etc
- Close on the high level approach to deliver the system (take this to steering for approval)
- When you start to get an handle on the project releases, discuss the high level plan and get buy-in from people
- Move to a SDLC based agenda once the release plan is being tracked. Get in agenda Items to track Requirements, Design, Build, Testing deliverables.
- Have a slot for people to bring-upp issues regarding to the project
- Dedicate atleast 30% of the time to track on actions from previous projects (best done at the start of the meeting)
- During important milestones, use the WG as a checkpoint. Use it to disseminate the information to the stakeholders.
- Before each meeting, ask yourself - What is the biggest issue plaguing the project - Table it for discussion and resolution as a separate agenda item.
- AOB (Any other business)
Get your "position" right
- Ask the right questions, Let people talk
- Representatives should provide an update on behalf of their teams and highlight dependencies on other teams. Your question should be - Is there a dependency you have on getting this done by 16-Jan? or do you think there is a chance we might miss this deadline for the 12th-April-2011, why do you think so?
- Cthe right action and confirm with the action owner during the course of the meeting.
- Be the scrum master, not the task helper.
- Stop the fighting between different teams and present the issue in a progressive sense example – When BA’s and IT disagree, narrow down to the point of disagreement so a resolution can be found. Discourage team positioning against each other
- Get the quiet ones to talk. Example “Hey Bart, we haven’t heard from you on this one…are you happy with it?”
Hope this helps!