All of us have a slightly different perception of what makes an acceptable answer. While there are general guidelines on How to Answer, tailoring the MSO table to our site may help eliminate ambiguity, eliminate confusion, and help us treat every post more equitably when determining if it should be edited, downvoted, flagged, and/or outright deleted.
As promised here, I took the MSO table on what an acceptable answer is and created a community wiki Meta PMSE post.
This is a great start to putting together some useful guidelines to help us determine exactly what is and isn't an acceptable answer and what type of action should be taken under different circumstances.
For the purposes of making this a community effort, I made the post community wiki so that anyone with just 100 reputation can edit the post; I mean really edit, not just make suggested edits.
Let's use this post to discuss the changes, while the actual reference post that we edit based on discussions is here: What is an acceptable answer on PMSE?
So... let's get started :)
Here are the results of a Data Explorer query. The query pulled the 20 shortest answers on our site. To make it easier to evaluate, I've included each question, as well as the answer:
Q: As a project manager, I think it's important to be heard. I find that many times, even when just meeting people, I am getting interrupted mid sentence. Can anyone out there provide tips on how to grow past this? I'm not sure if it's a natural reaction to a personality trait or fixable. Love to hear any tips to cure this problem.
A: Try to write instead of talking.
Q: From doing Agile and Scrum are there any lessons you can pass on from your experiences?
Are there any approaches that work better than others? Which of the many parts of the theories have you found the most important in real-world situations?
Are there any good books, tutorials, videos, guides, etc. available on common Scrum/Agile mistakes, lessons learned and best practices?
A: The common mistakes are people ^^
Q: I have a list of tasks, each measured in days. The hours-per-day setting on the project is incorrect. When I update it, the tasks change accordingly.
My problem is that it's only the hours-per-day that is wrong; the length of each task is correct in terms of days, so I do not want it to change.
8 hours per day:
Example task - 2 days Change to 7 hours per day:
Example task - 2.29 days //undesired There's many tasks so updating them individually is obviously impractical.
A: Change your task to fix duration.
Q: I had a hard time trying to get the client to focus. X likes to talk a lot. Sometimes give too much information.
Sometimes X talks x-self into circles and i forget what the question is.
I try my best to formulate succinct direct questions and i don't want to interrupt him too much; as i feel it may be impolite.
What is the best way to politely direct him to pick a conclusive answer?
To put this in context, I was trying to elicit important information about his interests in pursuing a feature and X wanted to talk about x's business and how they're growing.
A: Politely ask him to write, not talk
Q: I know feasibility studies are recommended by a number of project management methodologies i.e. The Waterfall Model, but would a feasibility study be method for project management?
A: No, it is a decision making tool.
Q: Obviously, calling sprints "sprints" would be one option, but even though that is well known and might convey an image of working really hard and getting a lot done, it also might imply "moving as fast as you can without regard to fatigue". And even though people directly involved in the sprints can be expected to understand this, managers not directly involved in the sprints might think that sprints involve, well, sprinting.
I believe that when the original term was coined it was in the context of performing consulting for clients at an hourly rate, which might be part of the motivation for naming it a sprint. Sort of an "at $200/hour you had better be sprinting" kind of thing. But in this case, clients buy the software, not the time, so they don't really care if we are sprinting or not.
So what's a good name for a sprint that won't tempt people to think it means working as hard as we can without pause until we drop?
And, before anyone points it out in an answer, there are lots of great ways to educate people on a good agile process, but this question isn't about that. This is about naming sprints in a way that helps as much as possible to educate people about a good agile process by means of the name alone.
A: How about "Time-boxed work packages"?
Q: I just took a new job at a company with 4 offices and many cross-office teams. The company is very email-heavy and I am a huge advocate of using web based project management/collaboration tools.
I really like the projects I'm on and the people I'm working with, but I find myself spending a good deal of time copying discussions up onto the collaboration tool.
Any suggestions for getting your team to get into more of a habit of putting the discussions online? (note: this tool has email integration, so conversations can continue without leaving the email inbox)
A: Just make them...if they work for you.
Q: As some of you know now, I'm trying to introduce Scrum in our company. Our CEO asked me if famous projects and/or big companies used the method. I found some companies, that's easy (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, Adobe, Nokia, Siemens, BBC, CNN, General Electric, Bank of America, Novell, Unisys...). Google maintains a list of companies using Scrum here. But which famous projects use Scrum? That's not so easy. Do you know some?
A: The AdWords project at Google uses Scrum
Q: What risk identification methods you recommend to use? If a project manager needs to build a raw list of risks containing, say, 100 items, how would he/she do it? As I understand, brain storming is not the best mechanism here.
A: Asking the team would be my first action.
Q: In one of projects I work we have some people working only partially. They come to work only when there is a need for their work in project and sometimes they work at home.
The problem is with commitment - when they are not part of the team they aren't motivated. When they work at home it's hard to get output from them.
What you recommend? How to make them participate more in the project?
How to deal with remote workers not doing their work on time?
A: Find new people who are hungry for the work.
Q: I have been considering taking the Professional Scrum Master I (Fundamental) Assessment? I am considering paying the $100 and taking the assessment without attending a course. scrum.org Suggests that: "This course is recommended but not required for those who feel they are prepared to take the Assessment."
I live in Cape Town, South Africa and Africa does not even have its tab on the list showing the course schedule :-). There are one or two companies here that offer training, but they are also quite expensive.
I guess what I am really asking is: How realistic is the self-study option? And how will I know if I am ready to write the exam as each registration only allows for 1 attempt?
A: Just made 84/85 :( Its harder than it looks.
Q: One of the most important project-management assets you build up during your project is documentation of all kinds of things -- how you broke down estimates, how much work you completed each work-period, what kind of risks actualized, etc. etc. and this is all useful because it will help you in future projects that are similar, whether greatly or slightly similar.
As mentioned in previous questions, I work primarily on one-man software projects using agile methodologies. I don't have the benefit of a PMIS, a "Project Management Information System" that consolidates, archives, and indexes my documentation so I can search through past documents quickly; nor do I have the cash reserves to purchase or implement one.
How, then, do I usefully archive all past project documents that may be valuable? I'm trying to keep all my documentation online as Google Docs, breaking down projects by folder, and having an "archive" folder of completed projects.
Best document manager ever.
Q: There are many great tools helping you to manage your projects or just to track team tasks. But I am looking for a tool to track recurrent tasks of my team. For example, there are lot's of tasks like do weekly code reviews, write a blog post 2 times a week, and so on.
What tools are you using for that?
Q: Purpose : Need to make a few business decisions. There are 2 ways to go about it. Each of these have multiple ways to go about. So, it is a randomly nested decision flow path.
Need a system with following features
Create a workflow with all the paths. Assign the probability of success at each event. (Min., Best guess, and Max) The software tells me the best possible path. Is something like that possible, and what are the advantages and disadvantages.
A: Brain? Not really software, but soft matter. :)
Q: The obvious answer is 'missing key milestones', but that depends on a structured project plan with clear milestones (e.g. waterfall model).
What are some of the not-so-obvious or subtle signs that the project is going awry? What's the best-case or worst-case impact on the project?
Please give one item in your answer so we can gather them together here and people can vote accordingly. You can post more than one answer if you have several to share. Real-world examples would be helpful.
A: Scope Creep with no-one stopping it.
Q: I have a single task (of type Fixed Work) with a total Work estimated to 160 hours. When I assign two full-time resources (let's call them Alice and Bob) to it, Duration of the task is 80 hours, as expected. Neither Alice nor Bob have any other tasks assigned. However, when I change Units of Alice to 25%, Duration of the task changes to 320 hours.
This totally baffled me at first, but then I realized the reasoning (correct, I hope) behind it. Apparently, MS Project wants for each resource to spend exactly 80 hours on the task. Since Alice can only spend 2 hours (25%) each day on the task, it takes her 40 days to ramp up 80 hours and that is the reason Duration of the task is 320 hours (= 40 days).
Is there a way for Bob to be able to spend more than 80 hours on the task, so that he can compensate for Alice? In other words, I would like the resulting Duration to be 144 hours (= 16 days, during which Bob works for 8 hours each day and Alice 2 hours).
A: Try setting the units before allocating to the task.
Q: We will soon start a research project (longitudinal study for 2-3 years) with a team of 7 (+ interns). I think these are pretty prototypical conditions for psychological research.
requirements clash with business-oriented project management tools
flat hierarchy, so tasks aren't usually assigned by a superior unusual working hours – most workers are student helps that work part time and a lot of our assessments (the main time-eating work) will take place after the usual 9to5 so we would try to find someone who is free that afternoon to conduct an assessment session quite often – this entails keeping people in the loop without email ie. text messages we would like to track hours we'll share a lot of scientific literature and might collaborate in tagging, excerpting etc. some custom stuff is needed
We're almost sure that we'll need to program our custom solution for organizing the assessments. We need all participants to choose possible dates and as soon as 4 participants choose the same date and someone is available to lead the assessment session, the date should be blocked, they should be notified and also reminded by text messages. It's kind of like doodle.com+tetris - probably to specific?
my main question
Do you know of a project-management tool that makes sense for such an environment? Are we better off mixing different purpose-built web apps (we now use Gmail, GoogleGroups, > Dropbox, Zotero, Google Calendar, Google Docs + would need some sort of time tracker), risk redundancy (Dropbox ∩ Docs ∩ Zotero ∩ Gmail) and lose integration (it would be great to have something that is both calendar and time tracker, but maybe we should at least stay with the Google products that are somewhat integrated) ? Is there a third way? I found Charm and cloudHQ which promise to integrate Dropbox and project management. Charm doesn't add much value and cloudHQ is still in alpha. But I generally like the idea to assemble my much-used tools into something less redundant and better integrated.
A: I would use Redmine. And work using Scrum methodology.
Q: What are the most effective/interesting places to volunteer, in the industry of project management?
A: Local PMI chapter or PMI special interest group online.
Q: I'm looking for a magazine for IT PMs. I wonder if you subscribe to any of such magazine? If so, what are your recommendations?
I'd prefer a paper version rather that a digital version.
The idea behind this question is: where do you learn from? There are books, experience, trainings / meetings with other PMs. I wonder if you learn from magazines, and if so, what magazines.
A: I would recommend Inc.com (it has a paper version too).
Q: What is the maximum number of project management tools a department could use? If more than one is used for the same purpose or several are used for linked purposes double data entry occurs or synchronisation between them is needed.
Tools I consider in this category
- time tracking tools
- project / task planning tools
- bug / issue trackers
Is this a trick question?
Out of all of these answers, which ones are great? Which ones should be highlighted or would make excellent examples to share in order to generate interest in our site?
Could any of them be improved through editing?
Are there any that don't reflect the quality of the site or that you would be embarrassed for others to see, should you promote this site to colleagues?