Project management

Brian Lockwood

Eating the frog: How to create a daily-deliverable sprint burn down graph in Excel

July 12, 2018 by

In the first article I wrote on how to create a SCRUM-based, sprint burn down in Excel, How to create an advanced sprint burn down chart in Excel, I showed how to easily set up a conventional burn-down with effort points as a percent, to create a pretty nice looking burn down chart, just by entering the IDs of each completed PBI on the date that it was finished.

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Brian Lockwood

How to create an advanced sprint burn down chart in Excel

July 10, 2018 by

SCRUM is a great way to manage all sorts of tasks including sprints, but you don’t have to purchase expensive software packages to burn one. Excel is a great tool for rolling your own sprint burn down graph or you can just take mine. In this article, I’ll walk you through a burn down spreadsheet I created, show you how to modify it and at the end you can download it for yourself and kick the tires.

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Brian Lockwood

Sharpen your ax

July 4, 2018 by

This is a popular story which illustrates the advantages of not just plowing away at your work, but improving your knowledge, planning, skills and preparation first to achieve a better outcome in the end

Once upon a time there were two men who lived in the same forest and decided to have a contest chopping wood.  The first man was in good physical shape and very muscular.  The second man was in good shape but smaller in statute and wiry.  They would chop wood all day and at the end of the day compare to see who had chopped the most wood.  The first man laughed to himself that there was no way this wiry little man would beat him and so they began the contest.  Every 45 minutes the second smaller man would take a break and seems to just wonder off somewhere.  The first man laughed again to himself and said “Yep there’s no way this wiry little man is going to beat me.”  This happens several times during the day.  At the end of the day the two men compare their piles of chopped wood and unbelievably enough the wiry little man has chopped twice as much wood as the more physically fit man.  He says “I don’t understand.  First I’m twice your size and twice your strength!  On top of that every 45 minutes you rolled off and took a break or a nap or something.  You must have cheated!”  The smaller man says “I didn’t cheat.  It was easy to beat you because every 45 minutes when you thought I was taking a break, I was out back sharpening my ax.” 1

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Brian Lockwood

Comprehensive Performance review template

July 3, 2018 by

I looked around for a good performance review template for a long time but I finally just sat down and wrote my own. It is a 5 pt system with various categories that cover

  • hard skills – your skill at your core competency i.e testing
  • soft skills (quality, follower ship, communication, proactivity, intangibles)
  • Performance – how you are doing, productivity
  • Quality
  • Trend – getting better, worse or the same
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Brian Lockwood

Retention successes and failures – combatting the Peter Principle for managers

June 29, 2018 by

No matter what your position, unless perhaps you work for the post office, typically you are required to do more to earn a promotion, not just do your job long longer. The trouble is that not everyone can or will do more. Some lack the motivation, some the potential and others endurance to continually progress. For whatever reason, even if there are growth slots available, not everyone will move up and instead some will ultimately hit their career ceiling aka plateau. This concept is often described at the Peter Principle

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Brian Lockwood

Rubber Balls vs Glass balls – a metaphor for task prioritization

June 28, 2018 by

When I was in the Army we all got a 2 page hard copy with a visual called “Rubber balls vs glass balls” as an analogy for balancing the many day to day priorities of being an Officer. It was a compelling article that I’ve referred back to many times in life. I’ve spent the last couple years looking for it on the web, but with no luck here is my attempt to recreate it from scratch, by memory.

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