Adam Edgerton's Blog

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Beware the Matrix Model?

And now for the fifth post in the series following my Drupalcon Austin session, entitled "Oh look, we're growing!" This post follows closely on the heels of the fourth post in the series which focused on small, cross-functional teams. One of the questions that post raises is in regards to management structure: who determines the outcomes of the teams and who manages individual team members? Read More…

Family-Sized Business Units & The Agency Holding Company Model

Here is part four in the series following my Drupalcon Austin session, entitled "Oh look, we're growing!" This post takes a look at the goal of maintaining small, highly autonomous teams that are for the most part self-organizing as an organization grows. It'll also touch on why small teams are important to project success, and some approaches to supporting the goal of small teams. Read More…

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Unit Change During Project & Organizational Growth

This post is part three of a series following the session I presented at Drupalcon Austin, entitled "Oh look, we're growing!" In this post, I'm going to explore a topic that got cut from the Drupalcon presentation but warrants exploration in a blog post: units of measurement for projects and the organization and how they change over time with growth. Read More…

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A Formula for Healthy Project Size Compared to Organization Size

This post is the first in a series following the session I presented at Drupalcon Austin recently, entitled "Oh look, we're growing!" The session as a whole focuses on my experience from a project management and operations perspective as Metal Toad grew from a small web shop into a medium-sized technology consultancy, and why I think project management needs to play an integral role in steering an organization's growth. Given the vastness of the subject matter, the presentation included a number of topics where I dedicated a single slide to what could have been an entire hour-long presentation on its own. Read More…

Metal Toad Templates Part 4: Our Project Timeline Template

Up today is a brief post to share our project timeline template. This one gets used primarily in waterfall-ish projects as a Gannt chart type of visual calendar when something as simple as a list of dates doesn't properly communicate project duration and important milestones. First up, pull up the project timeline template in your browser so you can follow along with what exactly I'm talking about. Read More…

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…

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