Agile PM Process Grid-3.19 Wireframes


In John Stenbeck’s book “PMI-ACP and Certified Scrum Professional Exam Prep and Desk Reference”, he creates an “agile project management process grid” which describes 87 processes used in agile project management.   These processes are divided into five process groups (Initiate, Plan, Iterate, Control, and Close), which are analogous to the five process groups in traditional project management, and seven knowledge areas which can be mapped, more or less, onto the ten knowledge areas in traditional project management.

I am now covering a group of agile processes that support the “adaptive planning” knowledge area that are completed during each iteration of the project.   Process 3.15 was Burn Down Charts, Process 3.16 was Task/Kanban Boards, Process 3.17 was Test-Driven Practices, Process 3.18 was Agile Modeling, and this post is dedicated to the last of this block of processes, Process 3.19 Wireframes.

What is a wireframe in the context of an agile project?   It is a visual guide starting with a framework and layering on facets of the desired solution.   Think of a blueprint for the construction of a building.   The “wireframe” might be considered the physical structure of the building, which obviously has to be built first.    Then you might have a layer for the electrical system, the hydraulic system, the transportation system (elevators and/or stairs), etc., overlaid on top of the wireframe that contains the building’s structure.

Wireframes generally contain the following:

  • Categories of information to be communicated
  • Prioritization of functions
  • Range of functional choices to be managed
  • Guidelines on how information is shared

Let me use an example from a Certified ScrumMaster class I took a few weeks ago.    Our job as a team was to come up with a flyer or poster describing our new product.   We were not to create the product itself, but merely to visualize the product to the extent that we could create a poster with information describing the product for potential customers.

Our team chose to develop a product of designer gloves, that is, gloves that were specifically designed to each specific user by the use of a hand-scanning system that could be accessed at various selected clothing stores.

What information would be come up with in order to entice customers into trying our product?   We divided the poster “real estate” into various sections and those that had priority were on the top of the flyer.    So we put the functional features on the top with a picture of a sample product.    Celebrity endorsements and other emotional appeals were put farther down on the flyer.    We were in effect creating a wireframe of the poster.   We had the categories of information to be communicated which we put in the various spaces of the poster, “feature list”, “product photograph,” “celebrity endorsements”, “contact information,” etc.    Then when we came to producing those elements, we put them in the “wireframe” model.    Every once and a while, seeing the visual placement of the elements made us rethink the way we did the original layout.

So it gave the team the ability to get a visual “reality check” on our approach to an emergent design solution.   That is what wireframes are good at, and I found it to be effective in our “mock” project environment.   I’m sure it will be helpful when I use it on an actual agile project!

The next post starts the next set of processes, 4.7 Coaching/Mentoring, and 4.8 Conflict Resolution, that relate to the Team Performance knowledge area and are used repeatedly during the Iteration phase of an agile project.

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