Our final post on the Nebraska Code Conference highlights project management. We believe everyone, no matter their title, can gain some insight from the project management point of view. Prioritizing, organizing and resolving conflicts are actions project managers deal with on a daily basis, so we all benefit from learning a few of their secrets. Omnitech’s Project Manager Denise spotlights the most significant take-aways from the Project Management track at Nebraska Code.
Day 1 of the Project Management track at Nebraska Code consisted of two workshops: a hands on demonstration of WIP (work in progress or work in process) limits and a simulated walk through building user stories. The first session demonstrated how using WIP limits work in kanban environments. Kanban is a technique used for managing day to day project tasks and is similar to scrum in that they both use a board to manage work. One difference between scrum and kanban is that kanban is continual and does not end. Work flows in and out, and you set limits to the amount of work that can be done at any particular time. Objects are continually moved around and through the work flow by team members to demonstrate priority of items against the amount of work a team member can take.
In the second session we built user stories for a product. User stories are essentially requirements in an agile project. First, the whole room developed a mission statement that defined the product and our goal. Then, our room was split into 3 teams and each team wrote multiple user stories based on our desired functionality for the product. We had to work together to determine the priority of those stories and estimate what we could realistically achieve in the time frame. Both sessions were focused around working as a team to get work prioritized and completed while using agile principles.
Days 2 and 3 focused on many different topics: agile, waterfall, kanban, scrum, task management and people management. These sessions discussed agile software development at length but focused on the team and relational aspects. One course used the theme of a zombie apocalypse and how to prepare your organization for it. It explained how inverting your organizational chart to create a team focused environment provides the team with a feel of empowerment, and adds cross functionality and value. It reinforced ideas like lunch and learns, gamification and ship-it days. Another course focused on conflict resolution and identifying five different methods to manage it. The premise of the course was that not all conflict is bad, in fact, you need it sometimes in order to achieve a desired outcome. As a project manager, conflict resolution is a key skill to ensure a project is completed successfully, but it is a tool that can be used by everyone.
Book and Link Suggestions from speakers throughout the conference
Nebraska Code() 2016 was full of diverse and informative sessions. The Innovation Campus at the University was a great venue, and it was exciting to see it bursting at the seams already. The amount and quality of the presenters was impressive and we look forward to sending more of our team in the future. Lastly, we’d like to say thank you to all the sponsors and organizers who made the conference possible. As we attempt to spread life-time learning throughout our environment, it’s comforting to see others supporting the same cause.