2019-05-29 14:19

Tired of Scrum? A Simple Project Management Methodology for Small Teams

People often ask me about my favorite project management methodology. My answer is always "it depends" because many factors are at play like the type of service you're delivering, the product you are building, the geographical distribution of your team, and the maturity of the organization to name some factors.

I've applied Scrum, Agile, XP, and Kanban. I have defined KPIs and OKRs for teams. But I like nothing better than a small team who thrives by using a dead simple methodology with just four rules:

  1. Priority 1, 2, or 3 is assigned to every issue in the company, ranging from development to sales. With (a development) issue I mean a feature request, bug, or enhancement. Sales, marketing, and management i.e. founders have differently named issue types.
  2. Every month all outstanding issues are reviewed. P2s are promoted to P1 or demoted to P3. Items which have been a P3 for a long time are deleted.
  3. Everyone works exclusively on P1s unless the remaining time on a working day only leaves room for a small P2 or P3.
  4. Every Friday finished P1s are demonstrated to the whole team by the (main) author of every P1.

By reviewing priorities every month, with input from the whole team, you ensure that only the most critical items are bumped to P1.

Priorities should be based primarily on input from sales, support, and development.

Obviously the backlog consists of a manageable amount of work: not too few items but also not too many.

Once you've done four or five monthly priority meetings you'll get a sense of what your team is able to push out of the door every month.

I am not claiming this methodology is better than anything else that's out there. But it has worked for me, teams genuinely like it, and get a lot of work done. That's good enough for me.

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