Adam Edgerton's Blog

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Metal Toad Templates Part 3: Our User Story Template

Following up on part 2 introducing our agile burndown spreadsheet template, part 3 focuses on our User Story Template, another document rooted in Agile concepts that we apply to many projects regardless of their methodology. This one was created by Tom, Matt, and Jordan as they worked through a huge number of user stories for a project a number of months back. Read More…

Metal Toad Templates Part 2: Our Agile Burndown Google Spreadsheet

Here’s the first template post in this series, following my opinion piece on when to use a PM tool versus creating your own spreadsheet. True to our nature as proponents of open source software, we also enjoy opening up our process a bit. Up today is our burndown spreadsheet built in Google Docs. It’s dead simple and does only one thing, but it does it quickly and efficiently. As we win more and more projects at a larger scale where an Agile approach makes sense, we’re communicating progress via burndown charts more regularly. Read More…

Metal Toad Templates Part 1: Spreadsheets versus PM Tools

I’m starting a new series dedicated to sharing project management templates we’ve created and frequently use at Metal Toad. We use various tools on projects (Harvest, Jira, Basecamp, Trello, Invision, etc.), but like many others we’ve talked to, we still use plenty of spreadsheets and documents to improve project tracking and documentation. Yes, there are tools that accomplish what we’re looking to do, but many don’t do it well enough, and others do it too well. Sometimes a spreadsheet is just right. Using a spreadsheet over a similar tool makes sense based upon the overall value provided by each based on the variables below: Read More…

Stage Gating to Avoid Project Failure

One of the newer processes we’ve implemented at Metal Toad is that of stage gating. I was going to title this post "Stage Gating for Project Success," but really it’s all about risk avoidance and limiting potential failure on projects by following our tried and true steps to keep projects on track. What is stage gating, you ask? Simply put, stage gates are approval checkpoints during the life cycle of a project. Depending on the level of complexity involved with a specific stage and the risk of failure of that stage is skipped or completed insufficiently, different levels of experience and seniority within the company are required to approve a stage. Read More…

Metal Toad Project Manager Profile: Adam Edgerton

As part of our project manager application process, we ask applicants to respond to a number of questions about themselves focused on their approach and philosophy when it comes to project management. The questions themselves have been repurposed several times. The concept and some of the questions were initially introduced by Matt on our team who was inspired by speaker Q&A posts on the Digital PM Summit blog. We incorporated them into our application process as the initial pre-screen questions we send qualified applicants. Beyond that, I'm also using a similar set of questions for my new PDX Digital PM meetup and community project! Read More…

Sound "Bytes" From The Digital PM Summit

The Digital PM Summit took place earlier this week in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two great days of listening to speakers and mingling with attendees later, I came away extremely pleased with the inaugural event and already look forward to next year. There were many great highlights, and not surprisingly given the project management background of Brett Harned and the summit team, things were extremely well planned and executed. Below are just a few of the highlights from conference sessions! On The Digital PM Role "I found my people!" Read More…

The Project Manager Bill of Rights

Following my last blog post on PM Retention, I worked with our team and set about about putting together a Project Manager Bill of Rights to live next to the existing Developer Bill of Rights. The outcome is a ten-item list that guides the organization with regards to the breadth of the PM role, and the rights and respect that our PMs deserve. The bill of rights reads as follows (with notes added to explain each): Project Manager Bill of Rights Metal Toad Media project managers have the right to… 1) speak for your projects and have your decision-making authority respected Read More…

The Successful Digital PM, Part 5C: Retention

The final post in my Successful Digital PM series is also both the trickiest for me to write and the one that has been the most eye opening to me as I've written it. Retention of all employees is critical to keeping an organization running like a well-oiled machine, and given the integrated role of a PM across projects, this is doubly true. Metal Toad hasn't always gotten it right, but we've learned a lot along the way. Below are some things I've learned and strategies we employ at Metal Toad to achieve success. Read More…

The Successful Digital PM, Part 5B: Professional Development

Following parts 1-4 on what makes for a great digital PM, part 5A covered finding and hiring those great project managers. Part 5B gets into some strategies that we employ for professional development to make sure our project managers are on-boarded with proper training and have the opportunity to grow professionally on a continuing basis. Read More…

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