RefineM Blog

Retrospectives for Agile and Waterfall Teams

Retrospectives for Agile and Waterfall Teams
January 25, 2018

Two challenges that project teams often face are capturing and acting on knowledge during a project and continuously improving during a project. How can teams capture learning in a way that enables them to act on lessons learned before it is too late? What tools can teams use to improve now rather than later?

Learning from experience during a project can be one of the most important parts of the project for teams that struggle to continuously improve. On Agile projects, retrospectives typically take place at the end of each sprint and provide teams a means of exploring what went well and what could have gone better. Teams emerge from the retrospective energized and ready to improve on their next sprint.

Continue reading

What is a Realistic Timeline for Passing the PMP Exam? [Infographic; updates for 2018 Exam Change]

Infographic of the realistic timeline for passing the PMP Exam.
January 18, 2018

Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam Prep Timeline

One common question for project management practitioners looking to achieve their Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification is, “How much time do I need to get ready?” Many candidates do not pass on their first try because they do not allow themselves enough time to study and develop a plan, so you should set a realistic timeline and follow it closely. Having a realistic timeline will allow you to do what you need to do to prepare, including fully reading and understanding A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). Since the exam changes every few years, this timeline can also tell you whether to earn your certification with the old test or wait for the new one.

Continue reading

Progressive Elaboration Techniques for Agile and Waterfall Teams

Progressive Elaboration Pyramid
November 21, 2017

Teams in the traditional project management mode (or Waterfall) may be hampered by their structure from fully adopting Agile. Despite this constraint, they can still take advantage of many key Agile practices, just in different ways. Read on to find out how any project team can take advantage of the practice of progressive elaboration to move toward early and continuous delivery of value to the customer, satisfying one of the twelve Agile principles.

Continue reading

Eleven Tips for Passing the Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam

Photo of students studying for the PMP exam.
August 3, 2017

Earning the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification demonstrates experience in project management and the ability to add value to organizations through use of project management skills. One barrier to earning the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is the difficulty of the exam. In this updated post, we share tips and tricks for passing the PMP certification exam. If you are preparing to take the PMP exam, please note that the exam is going to change on March 26, 2018 following the release of the A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) Sixth Edition in September. If you are not ready before the end of the year, you may want to wait and study using the new Sixth Edition.

Continue reading

Agile Practices for Waterfall Teams Part 1: Maintaining a Backlog

Person writing in a notebook next to a laptop computer
March 24, 2017

On a waterfall project, the bulk of the value is delivered at the end of the project. On an agile project, value is delivered incrementally through iterative cycles with the highest-value items prioritized, increasing customer satisfaction. Backlogs serve as the mechanism for clarifying priority on projects carried out by agile teams, allowing them to put the customer’s highest priorities first. How can waterfall teams achieve a similar effect?

Continue reading

Agile Practices for Waterfall Teams

February 21, 2017

Many organizations with traditional, or waterfall, teams struggle to transform to Agile. The struggle could happen for many reasons:

Continue reading

Top 5 Books for Beginning Project Managers

Person reading a book with a cup of coffee
November 29, 2016

Project managers just starting out may wonder how they can continue to build their knowledge and skillsets. Based on our project management reading, we have identified five books to help beginning project managers, as well as those with some degree of experience, establish continuous learning and dedicate themselves to further success.

Continue reading

Understanding and Overcoming IT Project Risks [Infographic]

October 12, 2016

Many high-profile IT projects face their own risks and challenges from conception to the final stages. Perhaps the addition of technology into the mix makes these projects particularly challenging, but if project managers and teams are not careful, all of their hard work could result in a failed project and disappointment from all involved. When considering management of IT projects, two questions must be considered: How and why do IT projects fail, and what can you do to prevent this failure? In this blog post and infographic, we explore the top four types of IT project-related risk factors to look out for and provide strategies to put in place that will help your teams overcome threats to your IT projects.Continue reading

Five Ways to Foster Project Management Innovation

Team meeting to try innovative ideas
September 16, 2016

Project teams have a lot to deal with on projects. They will have to navigate multiple problems, such as risks becoming issues, costs exceeding budget, and schedules slipping, on any given project. The top notch project managers and teams are skilled and experienced at coming up with innovative solutions to these problems. How can any project manager or team acquire this skill? In this post, we describe five ways to improve creativity on project teams to foster project management innovation. These steps range from building the foundation through organizational structure and culture to trying out agile practices.

Continue reading

4 Project Management Software Tools to Consider for Your Teams

Team members at a meeting with their computers
July 18, 2016

Project management processes can be implemented with only simple tools that project managers and team members are likely to have, such as templates for Microsoft Office programs or Google Docs. For some project managers and teams who have grown out of Microsoft Office, a software tool may be useful. Many tools are available on the market for teams or companies of various sizes, and some are also cloud-based for ease of access by everyone on the team.

Continue reading

PMI, PMP, CAPM, PMI-ACP, PMI-RMP, and PMBOK are all registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.