Saturday, January 21, 2023

Management Yogi's Hybrid-Agile (CHAMP) Certification: Seven Principles of Hybrid-Agile Management (Part – 1)

Principles are important in life and learning, because principles don’t change; rather, the underlying practices change. Principles, by its very nature, are like natural laws, e.g., gravity, daily sunrise. Natural laws don’t change. Rather, practices underlying the principles change, e.g., waking up before sunrise or after sunrise.  

As the well-known saying goes: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; but teach a man how to fish, and feed him for a life time.

Effectively, principle does that – teach a person to fish. The surroundings can change, the weather can change, the water torrent can change, but still the person can fish if the person knows the principles of fishing.

With these basics, let’s understand briefly the principles of Hybrid-Agile Management. These principles are taken from the Certified Hybrid-Agile Master Professional (CHAMP) course. I believe you will be seeing these principles for the first time. Hence, take your time to go through and understand. As I've seen many projects use Hybrid-Agile approaches and in such cases, you can apply these principles.

Note: When you subcribe to the CHAMP certification course (or PMP, RMP, ACP, CAPM or any other video course), you can join my regular Management Review Sessions, whenever applicable. It'll be completely free of cost to you.

In the first part of this series, I’ve outlined the first four principles of Hybrid-Agile Management. These are brief explanations. In-depth explanations with videos are available in the CHAMP course.

[This series: Part – 2]

So, let's go through the principles one-by-one.


Principle – 1: Customize the approach according to the need.

There is no point in debating unnecessarily on waterfall and avoiding it completely. A lot of time is wasted thinking what aspects of waterfall should or should not be taken in. Teams debate and discuss it for long. However, a phase-based sequential (waterfall) model does work when you have clarity in design and requirements. There is no point reinventing the wheel.

On the other hand, Agile works when you have high churn in requirements and technology. This is where an iterative and incremental model fits in.

Hence, it’s wise to combine and customize your approach according to the needs of your customer.  

As shown above, when you customize, you can take a set of approaches together such as Waterfall/sequential, Scrum, Kanban, XP (engineering practices) etc.

Principle – 2: Keep your team close, keep your customer closer.

Team delivers the work; customer uses that work. Team success is important. Customer success is more important. Without customers, there is no product, team or project. 

Customers’ perspectives will be different than yours (and team). Understand what the customer wants and needs. This also reflects the first principle, which says “Customize the approach…”.

But why is it a principle? Because in Hybrid-Agile the team structure will be different compared to traditional waterfall or plain Agile. If you have work in such a project, you’ll understand both the importance of such a structure, team and more importantly, the involvement of customers.

Principle – 3: Adapt your mindset to the approach being used.

Customizing the approach is needed, but it's not enough. You also need to couple and complement it with a mindset change. Without mindset change, you can’t produce the deliverables properly. You and your team will struggle. 

Waterfall/traditional approach usually follows a detailed, up-front and plan-driven mindset. And you deliver at the end of the project or at phase gates for a multi-phase project. However, do note that even in waterfall, changes are taken not only via change control, but totally new requirements are also accepted in other ways such as progressive elaboration and rolling wave planning. Many won't tell you that! Rolling wave planning is briefly explained in the next principle (Principle - 4). 

Agile, on the other hand, follows a change-driven mindset and you deliver incrementally as well as sometimes iteratively as in Scrum (or no iteration as in Kanban, but it’s incremental). 

Principle – 4: Welcome and embrace change in requirements.

The idea is not to accept change, or just adapt to changes. But welcome change. Embrace change.

Change can happen for both waterfall and Agile. Change is accepted in both approaches, though the way differs.

A number of management practitioners think that change in waterfall is always tightly controlled. It’s not always the case. Change in waterfall/sequential can also happen with rolling wave planning, which is a form of iterative planning technique. Iterative planning is one of the cornerstones of Agile.

Agile, as I’ve informed in many articles and specifically in this article of Why and When to Go for Agile Lifecycle, is both iterative and incremental. As it’s iterative the focus remains on requirement fine-tuning or correctness of solution. It’s also incremental, which increases the speed of delivery.

[This series: Part – 2] 


As you go through the course and sit in the CHAMP certification exam, you need to be aware of these principles. Throughout the course, these principles are applied – be it Hybrid-Scrum, Hybrid-Kanban or Hybrid-ScrumBan management. In the next part, we will see the final set of principles.
If you have any feedback, comments or suggestions on these principles, please put them below in the comment section. I'll respond and I'll learn from you.

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Friday, January 13, 2023

Management Yogi's Hybrid-Agile (CHAMP) Certification: 5 More Tips on Agile and Hybrid-Agile Management


Hybrid-Agile management, monitoring, tracking and reporting are complex, even for a seasoned management practitioner. With some key and important tips, you can manage such project quickly and easily. In this post, you will learn five more tips on Agile and Hybrid-Agile Management. This is in continuation of the post I’ve had earlier:

CHAMP Certification: 5 Tips for Agile and Hybrid-Agile Management

I’d suggest that you go through those tips before proceeding with the below new tips. All these tips are taken from the below certification course: 

Certified Hybrid-Agile Master Professional (CHAMP)

As noted earlier, many of these tips, specifically for Agile Management, are also mentioned in the Mastering MS Project Agile course.

So, these are next 5 tips with one bonus tip in the end.

Tip # 6: Add Task Board views in to your QAT. (Hybrid-Kanban, Hybrid-ScrumBan)

This tip can also be used Hybrid-Scrum projects, too.

Like Sprint Progress and Sprints, one can add various Task Board related views into the QAT. To add the commands:

  • Go to the Backstage view > Options.
  • Select Project Options > Quick Access Toolbar.
  • Choose Sprints Tools | Sprints Tab.
  • Select Task Board and Views commands.
  • Use “Add >>” to add the commands into the QAT.

After you add the commands, the commands will be shown in the QAT. 

Isn’t it much easier that way? You can quickly access the Task Board and Task Board Sheet views to know and understand the data available. 

Tip # 7: Move to the Next Sprint. (Hybrid-Scrum)

When a Sprint gets closed, many don’t know what to do with the tasks or features. Below operations are performed, incorrectly:

  • Deletion of those tasks or features.
  • Deactivation of those tasks or features.
  • Manual movement of them into future Sprints.

Most of the time, none of the above ones are needed, because a command is specifically available for you! It’s the Move to Next Sprint command. To do so:

  • Select the task (or Card) in the Current Sprint Board view.
  • Right click.
  • Use the Move to Next Sprint command.

As shown, we have selected the tasks of ‘Check points to install alarms’ and used the Move to Next Sprint command. This will automatically move the tasks into the next Sprint.

Now a tricky question for you:

What happens when the next Sprint is not planned?

Don’t see the answer before you try!

Scroll down to see the answer.

If you are saying that command will be grayed out or disabled, then you are correct!

Tip # 8: 100% Complete – then and there! (Hybrid Scrum, Kanban or ScrumBan)

In the previous tip, did you notice another command in the popped-up menu: Mark 100% Complete? I’d guess you did! What is that command used for?

That command is sometimes used when you want to complete the task then and there, i.e., on that workflow state or column. To do so:

  • Select the task (or Card) in the Task Board view.
  • Right click.
  • Use the Mark 100% Complete command.

In the above Task Board view, did you notice that the Move to Next Sprint command is disabled? Can you tell why?

Because we are using only the Kanban part of the Hybrid-ScrumBan project. 

Tip # 9: Fine-tune % Complete in the Board views. (Hybrid Scrum, Kanban or ScrumBan)

As a practice, CHAMP certified professionals know how to set the % Complete for the traditional (waterfall) and Agile part of a Hybrid project. They know all the secrets on how to manage and track such a project.

Sometimes, they also fine-tune the % Complete value of a task represented as a Card, which is different from the % Complete set for the workflow state or the column. To do so:

  • Select the task (or Card) in the Task Board view.
  • Right click.
  • Choose “Information…”, which opens-up the Task Information dialog box.
  • In the opened-up box, enter your desired % complete. 

You can also double click on the Card to get the Task Information dialog box. 

As shown above, you can change the “Percent complete:” field in the opened-up Task Information dialog box. While the “In Progress” workflow state has been set as 50%, the individual task can be set as 72%, 85% or any other percent you want.

Tip # 10: Delete a Sprint. (Hybrid-Scrum)

There is no command available to delete a Sprint! How does one delete one or many Sprints?

For this purpose:

  • Open the Manage Sprints dialog box. It can be via,
    • Project tab > Properties group > Manage Sprint command, - OR - 
    • Sprint Tools > Sprints tab > Sprints group > Manage command. 
  • Select the Sprint you want to delete.
  • Press the “Delete” key on your keyboard.
  • The Sprint will be deleted. 

As shown, we have a number of Sprints planned. Now, let’s say you want to delete Sprint 9. You just have to select the Sprint and press delete command on your keyboard. The Sprint will be deleted.

Bonus Tip # Deleting Multiple Sprints

To delete multiple Sprints, select the Sprints together and press delete command on your keyboard. All the selected Sprints will get deleted. 

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Saturday, January 07, 2023

Management Yogi's Hybrid-Agile (CHAMP) Certification: 5 Tips on Agile and Hybrid-Agile Management

Long back in 2014, I wrote 5 important tips for MS Project. It has been one of the most read articles of this site. Today, after eight years, I’ve released a new certification: Certified Hybrid-Agile Master Professional (CHAMP), which comes with a number of hands-on tips to manage Hybrid-Agile projects.

In fact, the CHAMP certification course comes a large number of downloadable tips to manage Hybrid-Agile projects. Along with the videos and downloadable tips, there are hundreds of tips throughout the course, embedded into the videos in my explanations. Many of these tips, specifically for Agile Management, are also mentioned in the Mastering MS Project Agile course.

Most Agile or Hybrid-Agile practitioners are not aware of such tips, because these commands are not visible in the tabs or views. Rather, in a way, they are hidden! But these tips are quite powerful and helpful to manage Agile and Hybrid-Agile projects.

So, without further ado, let’s see what these tips are.

Tip # 1: Manage Sprints from anywhere in the Sprint Planning Board view. (Hybrid-Scrum)

The main command to add Sprints for your project will be from the Project tab > Properties group > Manage Sprints command. But, with that and going back and forth between the tabs may sometimes look like too much work.

You can manage Sprints by clicking any column in the Sprint Planning Board. To do so:

  • Select a column in the board.
  • Right click.
  • An option comes up to launch the Manage Sprints command.

See, you didn’t have to use another tab in MS Project’s ribbon. Did you know this before? I guess not.

Tip # 2: Launch any Agile Board or Sheet view from any View. (Hybrid-Scrum, Hybrid-Kanban or Hybrid-ScrumBan)

You need to go to View tab > Task Views group, View tab > Resource Views or Task tab > View groups to launch the views. But with this tip, irrespective of the view you are in, you can launch any Agile Board or Sheet view.

To do so:

  • Go the view name area.
    (shown below in the left side of the view, i.e., Sprint Planning Sheet)
  • Right click on the area around the name.
  • All the views available will pop-up.
  • Select any view you want to switch to. 

As shown, you can go to Current Sprint Board, Current Sprint Sheet, Task Board, Task Board Sheet from the Sprint Planning Sheet view.  

Is it not quite easy that way?

Tip # 3: Getting lost in Tasks for Sprint Planning? Add two Columns: Sprint Start and Sprint Finish. (Hybrid-Scrum)

A real-world Agile or Hybrid-Agile will have at least hundreds (sometime thousands) of tasks. These tasks can be in traditional, Scrum or Kanban mode. It becomes difficult when you start looking out for the tasks and dates for Scrum mode as there are too many tasks in your view.

A CHAMP certified professional does it differently: he or she just adds two columns, Sprint Start and Sprint Finish. To do so:

  • Go to the Gantt Chart view.
  • Add two new, built-in columns: Sprint Start and Sprint Finish.
  • Look at those dates as you plan your Sprint tasks. 

Do note that while Sprint, isAgile, isKanban columns are needed, but they are not sufficient when you plan for the dates for the Sprint’s tasks. 

You need to have Sprint’s start and finish to have quick planning. With it, you won't get lost in a number of tasks and associated dates.

Tip # 4: Add Sprint Progress and Sprints to the QAT. (Hybrid-Scrum)

The quick access toolbar (QAT), as the name tells, can help you quickly access the frequently used commands instead of going through the tabs and finding the commands. 

Two of the frequently used commands for a CHAMP will be:

  • Access to the Sprints planned, and
  • Re-planning/Addition/Removal of the existing Sprints.

The first one above can be done with the Sprint Progress (Current Sprint Board) command, while the later can be done with Manage Sprints commands. Both these commands can be directly added to the QAT.

To add the commands:

  • Go to the Backstage view > Options.
  • Select Project Options > Quick Access Toolbar.
  • Choose Sprints Tools | Sprints Tab.
  • Select Sprint Progress and Sprint commands.
  • Use “Add >>” to add the commands into the QAT.

After you add the commands, the commands will be shown in the QAT.

As shown in the QAT, the first command (with a Sprint icon - click on the image to enlarge) is the Sprint Progress command, and the command next to it with Sprint-pen icon is the Sprints or Manage Sprints command.

Did you know about these commands? I think you’d be seeing it for the first time!

Tip # 5: Order the tasks in the Gantt Chart with Sprint ID. (Hybrid-Scrum)

Prioritization of items in a Product Backlog is natural in any Scrum Project. It'll be done by the Product Owner (PO). You can learn more on various prioritization techniques in the below linked article:

Prioritization Techniques in Agile for Product Managers

However, when you prioritize them in the Sprint Planning Board, the ordering of the tasks gets changed. These are also reflected in the Sprint Planning Sheet.

But the ordering is not reflected in the Gantt Chart view, which confuses many Hybrid-Agile practitioners pursuing CHAMP certification.

The reason is simple:

  • Ordering of tasks in the Gantt Chart view is via Task IDs (or simply IDs), whereas,
    Ordering of tasks in the Current Sprint Sheet (or Sprint Planning Sheet view) is with Sprint ID and Sprint Ordering ID. 

This is shown below. Many don't understand this aspect, but a CHAMP certified professional understands these intricacies.

If you want to synchronize the tasks’ ordering and IDs between Sprint related sheet views and Gantt Chart view, then use the Sprint ID and Sprint Ordering ID for sorting. 


That's it! If you can see all these functionalities in the MS Project Agile software, you have understood how to apply them in the real-world. And I hope, these five tips make management of your Hybrid-Agile project much easier and quicker.

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