Every time I write a new post in my tutorial, I think it will be the last. And then I realize that there is something I’ve missed. And of course, I’ve missed the grouping and filtering functionality.
The most basic grouping functionality has already been covered: the usage of heading tasks:
All tasks have an ID but they also have a WBS code. WBS stands for work breakdown structure and if you right click a column and select Insert column, you can select to insert the WBS field.
The column to the left is the ID field while the WBS field is the field to the right.
You can actually customize the WBS codes. This is very useful if you have inserted projects, when both the ID column and WBS column will have duplicates.
So, to customize the WBS code, you select Project—>WBS—>Define Code.
This dialog box is empty if you view it on a new project, which means numeric values are used and the different levels are divided by dots(.).
On the first row, you can see a preview of your defined code. On the second row, you can specify a Project Code Prefix, and this is as I mentioned; a very good thing if you have inserted project files.
In the grid, each row specifies a level in the WBS code and if a level isn’t defined, the rule with numbers and dots is used. On each level you specify what kind of symbols divides the different values and here you most commonly choose between numbers and letters. You can also see that you can choose between uppercase and lowercase. In the column length, you can specify how many signs can be used in that position, so if you select 1 there can only be 1,2,3,4,5,6.7.8 and 9 in that position. In the separator position you specify which separator is used.
As you can see in the bottom of the dialog box, you can also select to not making the WBS code automatic. The reason for this is that if you refer to this number in other documentation and the insertion of new tasks are done, the WBS codes of other tasks can be changed.
Confirm with OK and have fun with your WBS codes!
I’m currently using a lot of Microsoft Project to keep my distributed stakeholders updated since the scrum dashboard just works for the current sprint and the 2008 web access isn’t very… accessible. The stakeholders can’t get the overview they need. So, I spend time on separate Microsoft Project files with the long term plans (as described in a previous post) and I keep the product backlog in TFS.
So, I was just thrilled by the images on BHarry’s blog, describing the new features for us non programmers. Finally, I can really invite my stakeholders to keep themselves updated on the level they need.
The dashboard looks awesome! Here are two examples:
For me as a product owner, I of course long for the hierarchical work items:
If I still want to show Gantt charts, I can (if all goes well) use the upgraded Project Integration, since it conserves the hierarchy. This is the main reason I don’t use the integration today.
I’m also very curious about the Sprint planning functions
So, what more can I say: JUST BRING IT ON!
Today, I was invited to a WBS exercise given by a colleague. One of the absolutely best things about TUI Nordic’s project management department is that we all are eager to learn from each other. We are very different as project managers, persons and our experiences are very different. So, we keep a close culture of listening, learning and sharing. J is an excellent project manager, and I would feel really confident in him succeeding in big, complex projects. I feel I really have so much to learn from this guy. And today, I was again given the opportunity. J is project manager for a project. I’m not really involved but was invited to an WBS exercise. For him, it was a chance to get some new input since he’s new to agile software development, for me it was an opportunity to see how this really can work.
For you who’ve never done this type of exercise, you try to identify the different goals which need to be met to reach an objective. And then you divide the goals into smaller tasks and go on doing this until you have a picture of which tasks are needed. For agile people, this sounds like a story writing seminar, and this is exactly what it was. The goals are like epics and the different tasks are the user stories. We didn’t use the format of a user story but that are details. Instead of using story cards, J used post its and put these on the wall to show the structure. And since the post its weren’t big, there were not room for too much details. So, in other words, you get the shortness of a story. I loved the session, J is a skilled leader and used his two hours well. After this session I think we have a good idea of what needs to be done.
One interesting note was that in the middle of the session, I said we needed a Deployment objective. And then we needed a Maintainance objective. And suddenly the number of tasks exploded. Deploying a big e-com solution is something you need to plan for. You perhaps does not need an actual plan (in Project) but you need to plan for deployment. Make sure that the acceptance environment is available, that we have testers, that operations are ready, user and help desk informed. Etcetera. Etcetera.
Building the stuff is the easy part.