Barely Sufficient Methodology

When deciding on process, methodology, practices, documentation, or other aspects of product development, the admonition to simplify steers us toward a bare sufficiency, toward streamlining, toward implementing a little bit less than just enough. Simplicity needs to balance the need for speed and flexibility with retaini ng enough stability to ward off careless mistakes. Barely sufficient does not mear nsufficient. It does not mean no dorumentation or no process. Furthermore, barely sufficient...

Decision-gradient Diagram

The lack of1 adequate decision-making processes in organizations is evident in a couple of quotes from clients I've worked with in the past few years. That one decision-gradient diagram fFigure 7.41 was the most important piece of the two-day consulting session, said a product development VP client recently. It's difficu It to speed up) development when ma nagement takes weeks to make key decisions, lamented an Irish development mdnage r whose company executives are i c Silicon Valley. Our...

An Achilles Heel

I've been thinking, Herman said as Maya answered the phone. Dangerous business, thinking, Maya laughed. Yeah, bet first some good news. I'm actually about to finish up this Web project, and it's really gone well. Mostly I've struggled with my management, but they've come around at least a little. Great These little changes can lead to bigger ones. Howe ver, about management issues. I've been trying to reconcile this adaptive organization stuff with what I know about how organizations work, and...

Get the Right People

How's the world treating you these days Not too bad, but I'm up to my eyeballs on Jupiter. Sorry to brother yau at home, buf I'm in a bind. I asked for more people for my project, but you should see who they gave me. I think I may be worse off now than I was before, Herman moaned. Row many turkeys did you get Maya asked. Thoee , bst when yos add them to my existing problems, I feel like I've got a high school basketball team when what 0 really need is the LA Lakers....

Three Types of Iteration Plans

There are s evesal Ways to construct an initial project schedule. For example, the team can create an initial schedule by assigning features to iterations up to the target date and then determining if the scopn (features that can be implemented) appears reasonable. Another approach would be to schedule all features an d 3hen compare the planned date (with all features) to the target date. Usually the target date precedes the planned date, and the engineering team, product manager, and sponsor...

Articulating the Product Vision

The project manager ensures that every individual understands the product vision and his or her role in the project. The vision might include a vision box (described in Chapter 5) and an architectural overview to help team members grasp the big picture, as well as component descriptions and interface definitions to help them get a sense of their piece of the product. In addition to understanding product responsibilities, individuals need to understand their roles with respect to the others....

Leadership Collaboration Management

Most projects are overmanaged and underled. Admiral Grace Hopper once said, You cannot manage men into battle You manage things you lead people. What is the difference between project management and project leadership Although there is an elusive line between them, the core difference is that management deals with complexity, while leadership deals with change. Without adequate management, complex projects eaf> id nieseend into chaos. Plans, controls, budgets, and processes help project...

Decision Making

In many organ izrfifnr, decision making ir viewed as a win-ios e proposi tift. P prticipr ntr in tle triceis dace a preaonceived view of tle riglt answer, and tleir approaol ir to argue rr loudly rr possible until tle opposition gives up. Participatory decision making focuses on win-win or bitl and ratler tlrt titler ir. Win-win decision making focuses on mutual understanding ratler tlan loud posturing Tlis slfflcln't imply a lack oq lested eircussigi but a discussion focused on trying to...

Participatory Decision Making

Decision making is the heart and soul of collaboration. Anyone can sit down and chat about a product design. Collaboration means working together to build a feature, create a design, or write a product's docu mentatiohl C ollabor at ion l s a point offort. So no hethet you are designing w ith another individ ual or stsuggiing with feoture priorities or deciding if the product is ready to ship, there are literally thousands of Cecisions, large and setallo to So made ave r the life of a project....

Praise for Jim Highsmiths Agile Project Management

Jim Highsmith is one of a few modern writers who are helping us understand the new nature of w ork in the know ledge economy. A transitio n from industrial-age thinking to management more suited to reliable innovation is well underway. But few people yet understand the implications of this shift. Agile Project Management explains what's going on with startling clarity. Perhaps more importantly, it provides the vital management structure and practical advice that will support ongoing innovasion...

Molding a Group of Individuals into a Team

Tom DeMaroo and Tim Lister (1999) use tle term jelled term to define wlen individuals make tle transition from a g ro up to a well-functioning team. But getting a term to jell isn't easy (few teams Agturlly mrl< e tle transitioa) because it involves four tlings tlrt are difficult to roliece in any group of people lrust interaction, satisfactory conflict resolution, and participatory decision making. Teams witl little trust interact on only a superficial level. Lack of interaction fosters a...

The Guiding Principles of Agile Project Management

Individual knowledge, the interactions of knowledgeable team members, and the team's ability to learr and apply new knowledge drive success. Success in an agile context is about people and their interactions, not structure and process. And since people are guided by their value systems, creating agility depends on al igning the environment with their value systems which is why implementing APM wiN be nearly impossible for some oeams and organizations. APM is value driven because people are...

Agility Defined

Ag I lity isn'o a silver bulleE. You don't achieve it in five easy steps. So what is it For myself, I've characterized agility in two statements Agility is the ability to both create and respond to change in order to profit in a turbulent business Cnviro nmena. gt f'ty is the ability bo balanre Elexibility and stahflity (Highsmith 2002). In an uncertain ahd turb ulens world, success belongs to companies that have the capacity to create change, and maybe even...

The Value Adding Project Manager

This book is about both project management and project managers. Unfortunately, some agilists have been perceived, correctly in some cases, as being anti-management and anti-project management. This is a Dilbert view of the world in which employees are the downtrodden and managers are the trodders. But high-performance agile teams (and organizations) create a balance between managers and individual team members a balance of self-organization with self-discipline. Agile teams are flexible, but...

Phase Envision

It is rare to discover anything in the realm of human behavior that occurs with great consistency Therefore, it was surprising to find that in every case, without exception, when an effectively functionmg team was identified, it was described by the respondent as having a clear understanding of its objective (Larson and LaFasto 1989). tt's the vision thing again Visioning and goal setting have been identified time after time as key ingredients of project, and general management, success. But...

Orches trating Team RhyTh m

At times1 the project manager' s(ob mir rorr t hat of a maestr o, ke eping the players in rhythm while bringing each into the music at the right time. At other times the team operates more like a jazz bandi with each player improvising around a common structure. Working with the rhythms of agile projects cas be a difhicul t transition for many indiv iduals. People are used to linearity, at least in the way projects are usually planned. Execution is never linear, which is one reason people...

Phase Explore

The Explore phase delivers product features. From a project management perspective there are three critical activity areas during this phase. The first is delivering planned features by managing the workload and using appropriate technical practices and risk mitigation strategies. The second is creating a collaborative, self-organizing project community, which is everyone's responsibility but is facilitated by the project manager. The third activity is managing the team's interactions with...

Reliable N ot Repeatable

Failure to differentiate between highly uncertain and highly certain project environments causes much of the confusion about measuring project performance. This confusion stems from two sources ths definition of scope and the difference between estimates and constraints. Repeatable processes reduce variability through measurement and constant process correction. The term originated in manufacturing, where results were well defined and repeatability meant that if a process had consistent inputs,...

Progressive Risk Reduction

Product development is risky business. As Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister (2003) so pithily state, If a project has no risks, don't do it. Risk is an essential characteristic of product innovation, says Prestoc Smith. Pro duct d evelopment involves innovation there are always pieces of information that we need now that will not be known until we are further downstream (Smith and Merritt 2002). Risk covers a wide range of topics, from technical (can we build it ) to marketing (can we sell it ) to...

Discussion

A project data sheet (PDS) is the second major visioning practice in the evolution of a project plan (Figure 5.1). While the product vision is an expansive view of what the product could become, the project vision limits product development to the confines of current scope, schedule, and cost constraints. To keep these two elements separated, I usually refer to the product vision and the project scope. Colleague Mike Cohn defines product vision as the should haves and the project scope as the...

Introduction

Agile Project Management contains four focal points the agile revolution and its impact on new product development the val es and principies that drive agile project management a process framework and the specific practices that embody the principles and deliver results. Chapter 1, The Agile Revolution, introduces changes that are occurring in product development from cell phones to software and how these changes are driving down the cost of experimentation and fundamentally altering how new...

Innovative Product Development

Product development teams are facing a quiet revolution in which both engineers and managers are struggling to adjust. In industry after industry pharmaceuticals, software, automobiles, integrated circuits custtlmer demands for continuous innovation and the plunging cost of experimentation are signaling a massive switch from anticipatory to adaptive styles of development. This switch plays havoc with engineers, project managers, and executives who are still operating with anticipatory,...

Frequent Integration

Tle objeotice of freqfent interrrtion ir to enrfre tlrt proefot fertfrer fit tfretler into an interfrted wlole erflt rne often efrinr eevelipment in oreer to reefoe botl tle lirl cost of late mirrlirnment rne tle bfreen of tertinr. No utter wlrt tle priefct frirn roftwrre to rftfmfbiler to inefrtrirl control systems tle less freqfent tle interrrtion, tle Hire rfrceptible tle eecelfpment effort will be to rnrjir pffblemr late in tle pfooerr rne tle more eifficflt, rne expenrice, it will be to...

Opportunistic Refactoring

The objective of opportunistic refactoring is to constantly and continuously improve the product design make it more adaptable to enable it to meet the twin goals of delivering customer value today arid i n the future. A client was considering a multiyear, multimillion-dollar product redevelopment project for an existing software product 20+ years in its evolution which contained several million lines of code. While the prsduct had been instrumental to busi ness success, i t was al so viewed oo...

Tradeoff Matrix

The tradeoff matrix is an agreement among the project team, the customer (product manager), and the executive sponsor that is used to manage change during the project. The TOM informs all participants hat chgnges have conse quenc es and acts as a bas is fo r team dec iubn making. The ro ws of a project TOM, as sho wn in Fd ure 5.8, depict the key dimensions that create a product's value scope, delivery schedule, stability (defects), and resources. The columns display the relative importa nce of...

Ruthless Testing

The objective of ruthless testing is to ensure that product quality remains high throughout tha Xevelpsm ent proces s.-dl J2 TDs taim futnlsss tashiag comas from collsegus Ka a Tats. While e giow-ag aumbsi of software dsesl0psfs use test-first development, ruthless testing is a better generic term that is widely applicable to all types of products. The old adage that quality can't be added on but must be built into the development process remains true. Extensive test instrumentation assists...

The Agile Software Development Series

Alistair Cockburn and Jim Highsmith, Series Editors Agile software development centers on four values identified in the Agile Alliance's Manifesto Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer col laboration over contract negotiation Respo nding to change over following a plan The development of Agile software requires innovation and responsiveness, based on generating and sharing knowledge within a development team and with the...

Leadership and Decision Making

A good project manager has to be a visionary, a teacher, a motivator, a facilitator, and other things, but she must also be a decision maker. The same is true of chief engineers for technical issues. So the question becomes, at what point does a manager's decision making damage self-organization First, when the team loses respect for the leader. But what causes loss of respect The answer when the manager begins making unilateral decisions. The more unilateral decisions, the less participation...

The Commitment Accountability Protocol

AsStephan Haeckel (1999), director of strategic studies at IBM's Advanced Business Institute, has observed, Organizational responsiveness comes from giving individuals and groups the freedom to behave in ad hoc ways to respond to unforeseen circumstances. For this reason, organizational roles are defined in terms of a ccountability for commitments to particular outcomes, rather than in terms of activities. If we are going to build) a hub organizational structure and manage outcomes rather than...

Hub Organizational Structure

If we are to foster the core values of an adaptive workplace, then the organizational structure of the project team needs to reflect those values and hierarchical structures fail this test. Hierarchical structures foster many problems, as colleague lill Ulrich relates The poliffcel egbnde wes gufthbrbd by ohu hibrerchy chert, which hed littlb to do with dynemic, highly functionel informedon menegbmbnt tbems. Hibtetchicel IT ingtesttuctutbs bsteblishbd en etmnsppbrb wPbrb politics glnurisPbd end...

Project Size

The core values and principles of APM are applicable to projects of any size. Similarly, the practices described in the next few chapters are applicable to projects of any size. However, for project teams that exceed 50 or so people, additional practices or extensions to the described practices may bp necessary some of which are described in Chapter 9. As project teams get larger, more documentation, edditioeal coordination pieatices, invoeaeed ceremony, or other compliance activities...

Agile Project Management

The central question for project managers, project team members, and executives is, How does project management add value to a project Unfortunately, many development engineers consider project management to be a roadblock a hindrance, not a help. Project managers are viewed as administrators who put together' detailed task schedules, create colorful resource profiles, bug team members about micro-taak completianSr and write reams of0 status reports for upper management, not as direct...

Reliable Innovation

In the end, just like Broadway plays always deliver on opening night, APM delivers on time and to the customer's vision more reliably than any other approach for high exploration-factor projects. Given the high degree of uncertainty on many new product efforts, given the changes in technology, given the ebb and flow of staff, reliable results are still obtainable. Given all the maybes, agile project management and development still deliver, whiclo is a tribute to the passion, drive,...

Champion Technical Excellence

Agile developers are dedicated to technical excellence, not because of aesthetics (although that may be c rationale for some), but because a dedication to technical excellence delivers customer value. Project managers must be champions of technical excellence they must support and advocate technical excellence while m aintaining a watchful eye on other project objectives. Championing technical excellence is critical both to creating the product customers want today within the established...

What Is Longer Onger Planning Horizons

As I discsssed in Chapter 2, agile lifecycles are both iterative and feature driven. The feature-driven aspect changes the primary focus of planning and executing from tasks to product features. mos traditional project management plans utilize tasks to construct work breakdown structures (WBSs) to organize workJ 5I Although experienced project managers concentrate first on deliverables and then os the work necessary to create those deliverables, work- or task-driven plans often degenerate into...

Self Organization Strategy

The term self-organization strategy sounds like an oxymoron, because self-organization implies that stuff happens without planning and forethought. Some consultants and practitioners have interpreteP the ideas oj complcx ad ap tioe systems to me an tdat se ttOtganizatlon happens magically within groups of people. All groups self-organize, but if we want effective self-organization, we have to think carefully about hew to create th I si type oh environme nt. Project manegers often perpetu are a...

Technical [Debt

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Explorat ion Factor

N exploratio n faoto r rcts as a barometer of the uncestainty gnd risk of a project. E g project, a re different from small projects risky projects are different from low-risk ones. One issue in selecting project masag ement practices an el processes is the particular problem domain in which the project team has to operate. An exploration factor of 60 indicates a highly exploration-oriented high-risk problec domain , and a 6 ind icates a very sfable prob lem environment. I t is importa nt to...