SCRUM basic concepts

Agile Project management allows a team to adapt to change in real-time.

Agile Manifesto

Scrum – Scrummage in Rugby

Scrum allows  team to deliver milestones as small pieces

A stand-up meeting is non-negotiable in Scrum & is an opportunity to ask for help. This meeting is set up by Scrum master, the processes owner.

In order for Scrum to work, it relies on:

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Cadence

Stand-up meeting format

  • Entire team joins (co-located team & virtual team)
  • Same time
  • Everyday
  • 15 minutes


? What did you do yesterday

? What are you going to do today

? Is anything blocking your progress


Active Listening

“The soft stuff is the hard stuff and the hard stuff is the easy stuff”

Active listening is hearing what someone is really trying to convey, rather than just the meaning of the words they are speaking – Do what I mean, not what I say

There are 3 levels of active listening:

Level 1: Internal listening

We hear the words being spoken, and although we may be very attentive, we interpret them through our own lens. When listening, we are thinking “How is this going to affect me” and miss the speaker’s real message.

Level 2: Focused listening

When listening we let go of our own thoughts and put ourselves in the mind of the speaker. We empathize with their thoughts, experience and emotions as they tell us about the situation.

Level 3: Global listening

We build on the approach in level 2, adding a higher level of awareness, like the antennae function, to pick up on the subtle physical & environmental indicators. These indicators can include the speaker’s movements or posture, their energy level, and the atmosphere or vibe in the room. We notice factors like whether the speaker is voicing the information openly in front of others or privately, the mannerism of others who are within earshot and many other clues to help us understand a fuller context of the information being shared.



PPM in the Telecom Industry

Major changes are happening:

  1. LTE or 4G adoption
  2. Improved & extended data service packages – higher quality & cheaper rates
  3. All you can app (AYCA) – unlimited usage of a package of apps for a fixed fees
  4. Significant growth in developing countries
  5. Mobile number portability legislation – allowing subscribers to switch freely among operators while keeping their numbers.

For telecom companies, aspects to focus in ever-changing mobile business:

  1. Migrating from 3G to 4G & improve the quality of the connection
  2. Creating new & innovative products/services
  3. Implementing aggressive marketing of the new products/services
  4. Develop competitive pricing & improve customer services

Sample scoring models:

  • ROI
  • Competitive advantage
  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Innovative-ness
  • Strategic fit
  • Technical feasibility
  • Market attractiveness
  • Resources
  • Leverage of core competencies
  • Complexity
  • Economic impact (expected annual revenue)

Managing Projects with No Direct Authority

In the absence of direct authority, what challenges does a project manager face when trying to influence the behavior of team members?

  • Developing active commitment and accountability among team members without coercive obedience or compliance
  • Building trust and persuasion in a project team to gain power
  • Using personal authority and networking to negotiate resources

How can a project manager gain the authority required to achieve these goals?

  • Use the power of superior knowledge and information about the project
  • Understand the power and authority structure in the organization and use it to the team’s advantage
  • Build positive relationships and networks with stakeholders
  • Build cooperation and align team effort through mutual trust and credibility
  • Create self-managed teams for less managing and more accountability

Project Management Concepts

  1. White elephant projects – high risk but provide low ROI. It originated from the Kings of Thailand: whenever they want to punish someone, they would give them an White Elephant. The animal required so many resources in terms of food and care that the receiver of such a gift almost inevitably went bankrupt after fairly short period of time.  Needless to say, killing an animal or even letting it escape into the wild was not a viable option because that would have been considered an insult to the king.
  2. Joker project – the project with very low scores to be placed at the top of the project portfolio. However, the executive management team feel that the project would generate millions for the company.

Project Portfolio Management (PPM)


“PPM is the management of the organization’s projects so as to maximize the contributions of projects to the overall welfare & success of the enterprise subject to internal & external constraints by maximizing the project value, balancing the portfolio and aligning it with overall company strategy.” (PPM in theory & practice)

PPM shouldn’t be confused with:

  • Management of multiple projects – Program management
  • Enterprise project management – 360 view of the organizations’s efforts
  • Automation – software is not going to choose the right projects regardless of how good it is.

3 Pillars of PPM

  1. selected projects must maximize the VALUE for the company
    • Financial models
    • Scoring models (more comprehensive)
  2. selected projects must constitute a balanced portfolio
    • by product type
    • risk versus reward
  3. the final projects portfolio must be strategically aligned with the company’s overall business strategy
    • Top-down approach
    • Bottom-up approach
    • Combined top-down & bottom-up