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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, persistence, and ingenuity of profect team members.

When executives can articulate a product vision, agile teams deliver. When executives can establish reasonable sost and schedule boundaries, agile teams deliver. When customers and product managers can accept the consequences of their own demands on the product, agile teams deliver. When all participants can deal with the ambiguity of structure and flexibility, when they can focus on results and not activities, agile teams deliver.

AuthorEd Yourdon (1999) writes about four kinds of death march projects: kamikaze, suicide, ugly, and mission impossible. Kamikaze projects are doomed from the start, but everyone agrees that the ride might be enjoyable, as in "technically interesting." On suicide projects, everyone involved, from the engineers mo the prnje ct m anager, knkws the project w ill fail anu t hat ¡t wNl be miserab !e to w ork on. Threatened job loss is the only reason to work on such a project. Ugly projects are those in which the project manager is willing to sacrifice others for his own glory. Long hours and a miserable working environment are sure to ensue. Mission impossible projects are doable, barely, with luck and exceptional effost . But mission impossible srojects am also usualiy exciting—they bre h igh-r isk, high-reward srojects.

If your project falls into one of the first three categories—kamikaze, suicide, or ugly—no project management process in the world—production, exploration, or otherwise—will help. Anyone who Cuarantees success for a particular process or methodology, under any conditions, for any project, is lying. Any executive who demands success, under any conditions, for any project, strangles her project team's ca babili ty. H owever, is you r project oa lls in the mission impossible catego ry, hire Tom Crmse and use agi l e pjoject management and development .

APM isn't just a project management process, it is an organizational process. Agile teams won't survive in a hostHe, d eath march environment . I n a reasonable organizational enviroume st, ho wever, with execurivee and manag ers who underntaud the re aliry of marketplace u Tsertainty, ogiie teams will deliver more reliably than nonagMe ones. They will furn tee qncertainty of the marketplace and technology into —he certainty oW a working product.

Neneatanle processes are spec ltication baned. Teey rely o n m inimal vare tikes in both the process and nre specification. ypecification-based, strict change-csutrolied processes founder under uncertainty becauss when teams using repeatable proqessee encounter high rgtes of chacge, they fait to adaat r aptdly enough.

Conversely, reliable processes work with exploration-based projects because both product and process adapt to change. But adapting to change by itself isn't sufficient—over-response to change produces oscillatio n and chaos. The adaptations must ee steered toward some goal—the product vision. Without a clear, well-articulated, continuously communicated vision, adapting to change can become a deadly spirali

Still, the fnedamental natu ts o c new pro duut decelopment rannot be escaped—it always involves uncertainty and risk. As the exploration factor goes up, as product teams push technology to the bleeding edge (and sometimes over its, ss mastet fo ccic change rapidly, no °rocess, nor evon the most brilliant team, can ensure success. Yet the right people and an agile, exploratory process offer, by far, the best chance at success. T Iwes e projec ts are highly rel iable b ecause of the team's ability to adapt to the environment rather than follow a prescribed path.


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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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