Technology Project Management Sewing Circle

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Facilitated by Tim Bishop, Project Management Consultant

Tim has project managed software and website development for vendors selling to non-profits, and has project managed vendors on behalf of organizations, so he had seen both sides of the fence. He will share his thinking and learnings on effective project management, and we will discuss how to get your project done on time, on budget, and meeting the requirements of your stakeholders (or at least two out of three). Other participants will be invited to share both their own project management techniques as well as to raise questions on any matter relating to the subject.

Session Notes

introductions - why are we here?

  • john - how can we deliver faster/better?
  • skip - any insights into pmp
  • ben - how to frame and structure a project to advance an orgs mission
  • david - how to get past failed projects, talk about civicrm
  • colin - hates pm but wants to get better at it
  • mark - switch from fly by seat of pants to structured pm
  • mary-ann - safe comfortable place
  • misha - also a safe comfortable place
  • justin - new to pm, just not able to get on-time, looking for strategies
  • jason - how to introduce agile to the client
  • oz - what methodologies work best?
  • sarmeesha - how not to bleed internally, how to expose client to open source problems (bug fixes, etc.)

(david) case study - mozilla and civicrm, reasons for failure

  • in the dark about who to go to for a donor database
  • took a long time to go through the vetting process
  • two failed installations of civicrm, not sure where the failures in the process occurred
  • forced deadline
  • vendor selection and requirements gathering: two biggest problem areas
  • how to break big problems into smaller problems
  • collaboration: internal breakdown (timing didn't work, schedules were off)
  • project management is managing trade-offs
  • trying to brute-force the last 20% is not possible

explanation of agile, stories, sprints

  • prototyping a first sprint is a good way to gain the trust of the client
  • introducing the agile process to a client is hard
  • how do you guide them through the project
  • building trust is the key
  • should show billed/unbilled hours to give exposure to the project
  • explain on your web site that you will work through the weekend to tackle bugs, but show as unbilled hours


  • scoping, scoping, scoping
  • be up front about risks and rewards
  • articulate development philosophy
  • identify the type of people you want to work