Project management is at a major crossroads. How we choose to go forward will either endear us to our clients or give them more reasons to dismiss project management as irrelevant to their needs. Changes that have taken place in the past few years in the way businesses operate have given us good reason to pause and reflect on whether or not our traditional approach to project management still satisfies the needs of organizations. We are of the belief that we are not meeting the needs of contemporary organizations and that we must do something to correct that deficiency. These thoughts have dominated our thinking for several years now. We've had this feeling that the business world is passing us by, and that what we are offering them isn't up to expectations. It's time for some out of the box thinking.
Part II of this book rose out of that belief and the need to act. We call this new approach Adaptive Project Framework (APF). It reflects our thinking on an approach to projects that do not fit the traditional project profile. Much of APF is the direct result of working with project managers who are frustrated with their foiled attempts to adapt TPM to projects for which it was not designed. We warn you now that what you are going to read about in Part II is different. We ask you to be open-minded as you read these chapters. What we have done is take parts from the traditional approach and parts from the extreme approach and integrate them in a way that meets the needs of a type of project that is not served by either the traditional or the extreme approaches. There is a new taxonomy of projects. It ranges from the traditional approach to APF and then to extreme project management. As we discussed in the Introduction, projects also follow a taxonomy that maps directly to these approaches.
If you would like to reduce the cost of projects to your organization, read this part of the book. We believe it is required reading for Project Office directors and managers, program managers, project managers, project leaders, team members, and those who use the services of any of these professionals. Executives will want to read Chapter 13 and learn that there is something that can be done to significantly reduce the high percentage of failed projects without spending any more money. That's right—without spending any more money. APF does not require any special tools or software or consultant expertise to be implemented. For the traditionalist, APF should be intuitive. Everything you need is in this book. In fact, we hypothesize that the APF approach that is introduced here is actually less costly than the traditional processes now in place in every organization.
We first introduce Adaptive Project Framework at a 60,000-foot level. The first chapter of this part describes the five-phase APF approach and briefly explains each phase. This chapter is an excellent introduction to APF for senior-level executives, directors, and managers. They will come away with a good grasp and understanding of why APF is so critically important to our organizations at this time. The following five chapters discuss each of the five phases in detail sufficient for a project team to follow the approach. The final chapter discusses a few variations of APF and focuses mostly on extreme project management (xPM). xPM is a variation of APF in that the goal is not clearly specified in xPM, whereas it is in APF. That slight difference leads to a number of variations in the approach. These are discussed in some detail for the practitioner.
Part II is a work in process. We continue to learn and discover the real power behind APF as we discuss it with our colleagues and implement it with our clients. How interesting it is to realize that our project to develop a fully functional version of APF is an APF project.
Many strict traditionalist project managers will probably find APF controversial. At least we hope to get their attention and open their minds to other possibilities. There is an entire class of projects that we believe is not being served by the traditionalist approach. Recent developments in extreme project management address some of those projects. APF addresses projects that fall in the growing gap between the traditional and agile approaches. In our experience, the majority of projects fall into this middle ground.
We claim full responsibility for the contents and any reactions that follow. If nothing else, we hope to get a number of traditionalists excited enough to take a look at what we are presenting. Perhaps they will help us smooth the edges to APF and make it a viable tool in their project management arsenal. If you care to comment, contact Bob Wysocki at [email protected] or Rudd McGary at [email protected]. We promise you a personal and thoughtful response.
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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.