Archive for category Agile

The Perfect Plan

 

Two fundamental principles which underlie project management methodologies such as PMBOK and PRINCE2 are:

Look before you leap

and

Learn from when you fell.

These principles are elaborated into complex project management ‘envelopes’ surrounding what might be thought of as the delivery activities of the project – the aim being to ensure that these activities are accomplished successfully.

On this basis, I would suggest that the following list details the ideal project management envelope, into which the considerably more detailed delivery elements of any project can be inserted.

Project Assessment

Preliminary meetings

Determine project authority and status

Confirm Project Brief

Authorise Project Initiation

Project Initiation

Initiation Kick-off

Review Project Brief, Bus. Case, Contract, SOW

Identify existing processes and standards

Review political / organisational environment

Stakeholder Interviews and Analysis

Stakeholder analysis

Stakeholder interviews

Produce stakeholder list

Identify and Coordinate Project Initiation and Planning Resource

Agree Resource Reqs for Initiation and Planning Phase

Acquire Resource

Administer Resource

Develop, Sign-off and Publish Project Charter

Develop project charter

Publish draft project charter

Project charter review

Sign-off project charter

Finalise project charter

Sign-off project charter

Project Launch

Plan project kick-off

Project kick-off meeting

Project Planning

Develop Outline Project Management Plan

Project Requirements – Detailed Definition

Develop, Sign Off and Publish Detailed Scope Document

Develop Detailed Project Scope Document

Review Detailed Project Scope

Sign Off Detailed Project Scope

Publish Detailed Project Scope

Develop Work Breakdown Structure

Develop work Breakdown Dictionary

Develop, Sign-off and Publish Detailed Project Plans

Develop Project Schedule

Define Activities

Sequence Activities

Estimate Resource

Estimate Duration

Develop Project Schedule

Estimate Costs and Confirm Budget

Develop Human Resource Plan

Develop Communications Plan

Develop Project Risk Management Plan

Identify Initial Project Risks

Assess and Prioritise Risks

Develop Risk Response Proposals

Develop Risk Management Plan

Review Project Plans

Sign Off Detailed Project Plan

Publish Detailed Project Plan

      

Execute Project Phase 1

Establish Team and Infrastructure

Acquire Full Project Team

Set Up Team Infrastructure

Develop Team

Manage Team

Phase 1 Activities and Deliverables

Perform Work Activity 1

Deliver Work Activity 1 Result

Perform Work Activity n

Deliver Work Activity n Result

Phase 1 Monitoring and Control

Monitor / Control Activities 1 – n

Verify Scope of Activities 1 – n

Control Phase 1 Quality

Control Schedule and Costs

Control Risks

Close Phase 1

Lessons Learnt Meeting

Document Lessons Learnt

Update Project Documents

Sign Off Phase 1 / Authorise Phase 2

Execute Project Phases 1 + n

  

Project Closedown

Lessons Learnt Meeting

Document Lessons Learnt

Contracts Closure

Administrative Closure

The central purpose of all of this detail is to support the key delivery activities. The supposition of project management methodologies such as PRINCE2 and PMBOK is that phases 1 through 1+n will be delivered successfully – on time, on budget and ‘to spec’ – if a framework along the lines detailed above is rigorously applied. This is something with which I largely agree. However, a further and, I believe, utterly crucial requirement for project success is this: no project will be successful without enthusiasm for change, a powerful commitment to the project objectives, and a concern for the people involved in the project and affected by it.

Luke Andreski

www.andreskisolutions.com

© Luke Andreski2012. All rights reserved.

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Agile, PRINCE2 and PMBOK

Introduction

This post briefly reviews the similarities and differences between PRINCE2, PMBOK and Agile, and suggests that best practice can be derived from elements within all three methodologies.

The Similarities

PMBOK and PRINCE/PRINCE2 are project management methodologies; Agile is a software development methodology that can be applied to some projects.

Similarities between all three methods are:

  •  They each provide a set of tools, techniques and templates for managing projects – avoiding the need for re-invention.
  • They each aim at tackling common and problematic project characteristics:

–          Accelerated change

–          New or unique deliverables

–          Limitations on resource or budget

–          Delineated timescales.

  • All three methods seek to reduce the risks inherent in undertaking projects: unsatisfactory deliverables; overspend; schedule slippage.

Key Differences

PMBOK and PRINCE2 are similar in offering a highly structured template for project administration and control. They differ in that:

  • PRINCE2 is more prescriptive in terms of project management outputs: e.g. baseline documents; configuration records and logs; reports.
  • PMBOK offers more guidance on the tools to be used: e.g. earned value analysis; three-point estimates; stakeholder matrices; information gathering techniques.
  • PRINCE2 emphasises the need to regularly review the business case for the project. PMBOK assumes that the business case is external to the project, once the project has been initiated, and that it is not in the control of the project manager.
  • PRINCE2 offers guidance for corporate as well as project management whilst PMBOK concentrates on the techniques, tasks and responsibilities of programme or project manager.

Agile offers a very different formula to both these methodologies.

PRINCE2 and PMBOK strongly emphasise the importance of planning, as per Deming’s ‘Plan, Act, Check, Do’ or Boyd’s ‘Observe, Orient, Decide, Act’. Agile, however, works on the assumption that the deliverables may be too complex or unknowable to be planned for up-front. More suitable, perhaps, to smaller projects with multiple deliverables, Agile (or Agile With Scrum) suggests a less formal project structure, with the project manager (or scrum-master) facilitating an iterative process of short development cycles or sprints. Each sprint, which must produce completed deliverables, may be as little as two weeks in length.

The key themes of Agile are: visibility; inspection; adaptation.

Agile can be characterised as encouraging self-micro-management by the individuals involved in performing the work.

Adopting Best Practice

I would suggest that PRINCE2 and PMBOK are on a par in terms of offering structured, detailed and comprehensive project management methodologies. I would favour PMBOK on the basis that it is less prescriptive and therefore more flexible, and to me, at least, PMBOK seems more intuitive: a clear and well thought-out formulation of good practice and common sense.

From both methods I would take forward:

  • Scrupulous planning
  • Rigorous project control
  • Clearly defined roles
  • An emphasis on communication
  • Clear and validated deliverables.

From Agile I would loot:

  • Quick-win deliverables where possible
  • An emphasis on team and individual initiative
  • Protocols for meetings, such as the ‘scrum meeting’ where each project team member has two minute to answer three questions:

–          What have you achieved on this project since the last scrum?

–          What are you planning to achieve by the next?

–          What if anything is preventing you from meeting your commitments to the project?

Conclusion

The PMBOK, PRINCE2 and Agile methodologies have each gained large numbers of practitioners around the world. This is because each offer compelling methods for dealing with the administration and management of projects. It therefore seems likely that best practice will eventually be defined as an adaptive hybrid of all three schools of thought.

Luke Andreski

https://andreskiprojectmanagement.wordpress.com/

www.andreskisolutions.com

Feedback on any of my posts and the issues they discuss is very welcome.

© 2013 Luke Andreski. All rights reserved.

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