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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