23 Mar 2015

Atlassian – Project Team ‘Health Monitor’

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a great event hosted by the PMI Melbourne Chapter ‘The Health Monitor – A way of Scaling the excellence and value of project management’ by Dom Price Head of Program Management at Atlassian.

Dom was absolutely fantastic and I sat there in the event feeling like we were been given a hugely valuable glimpse of what the future will look like!

In my view what Dom is trying to do at Atlassian is leading edge thinking, and if we all want to stay current & relevant we should be sitting up taking lots of notice!

Leonardo Di Vinci once said “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”! It’s all too easy to make things more complicated the real genius is in finding ways to simplify things.  And, for me there is no better example of this than Dom’s new project team ‘Health Monitor’.

In the talk Dom makes a statement (which he admits he cannot prove scientifically) but my guess is, none of us would disagree!

‘HEALTHY PROJECTS’ implies ‘HEALTHY TEAMS’

Are projects not just about teams of people working together to achieve outcomes? So, if we have healthy teams then by default should we not have healthy projects (or at the very least it’s a very big component impacting success)!

So the Atlassian approach has been to develop the ‘Project Health Monitor’ which says that, for Atlassian teams to be ‘Healthy’ there needs to be alignment  on each of the following 8 factors:

Full Time Owner

Do we have one lead who

is accountable?

At least 80% of their time must

be allocated to the team. A

team champion!

Balanced Team

Do we have the right blend

of skills, competencies and

attributes in the team?

 

Shared Understanding

Is there a common

understanding of WHY

we exist? All aligned (not all

necessarily agree)?

Value & Metrics

Are we clear what success looks

like from a business & user

perspective? Success must be

defined with a clear goal and how

it will be measured.

End to End Story

Have we all got a consistent

picture of what the end goal

might look like? Are we all

operating between the same

rail tracks?

 

Readme

Are we all clear and agreed as

to how the customer will

consume the product? The key

assumption is that we will not

be there to explain it!

 

Dependencies

Do we have a common

understanding of the complexities/

risks/resources and effort involved?

Do we have a clear picture of who

we are dependent on and who is

dependant on us?

 

Velocity

Are we making incremental

progress toward our goal? Are we

learning continuously, gaining in

confidence resulting in greater

success?

 

 

The approach their taking is not to mandate this which I believe is very clever. Every team wants to be successful and if it’s good enough (& works) teams will want to use it!

This approach is a bit similar to the Atlassian ‘sales model’.  No hard selling done, companies trial products for free and it they like what they see, they buy. How smart is this! This ensures the focus never strays from providing value and meeting the needs of the customer. Basically the products need to be good enough to be able to sell them selves, and with currently over 30 million users who use their products, more than 35,000 large and small organizations – including Citigroup, eBay, Coca-Cola, Netflix, Australia Post, Suncorp and United Airlines,  I think the approach is working!!!

Personally I think the ‘Health Monitor’ is an absolutely fantastic simple & practical tool. A huge thanks to Dom and Atlassian for their generosity in sharing and I for one will be using and recommending this with my clients.

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