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PARADIGM OF AGILE
What does it mean when we say “Agile Project Management?”
Depends on the domain and context of your project.
Glen B. Alleman
4 5 6 7 8 9
You’re a lone wolf, you work for yourself, a friend, or an imaginary
friend. You’re spending your own money and accountable to “me”
¨ You’re doing the work on your own product.
¨ You’re the customer or you personally know the
¨ You can plan the work in any way you want.
¨ It’s your personal project, your personal work, it’s all
¨ Estimates? You don’t estimate. It’s our own money.
¨ Did I say this already … It’s all about you.
¨ It’s your money spend it as you like
You and 5 others work
in the same cube-space,
along with your
customer. Maybe self
funded, accountable to
Sweet Spot For The Self Contained Team
¨ This is where agile project management excels.
¨ Everyone involved in the project can be seen,
touched, spoken to, and engaged at a personal
¨ It’s a small group of like minded individuals sharing
the same values - that intangible definition used in
¨ You still control the direction and outcomes, but now
as a group and decide how to spend as a group.
¨ All members have equal or near equal skills,
leadership capabilities, and shared outcomes.
within the bounds
of others but
you’ve got great
tools and high
Individual Freedom Is Still Within Reach
¨ You’ve got some rules defined by the boundaries of
¨ But you can go almost anywhere you’d like within
¨ You’ve got to follow a few rules, now that you’re on
the edge of the business boundaries (flight path).
¨ You still have control of direction, intent,
experiences, and the tools of your trade.
¨ Inside those few rules, you can determine cost, and
schedule in unique and creative ways without
You manage a team that has evolved to
developing products for serious use that has to be
carefully vetted before being released.
Now We’re Starting To Get Serious
¨ The outcome of your work impacts some people.
¨ The boundaries of you freedom are defined
¨ There are rules of the road (sky) now in place.
¨ You can fly around on your own, but when you leave
and return from the airport there are others
defining what you can do and what you can’t do on
¨ It’s definitely not your money, so those paying need
to know something about how much and when.
Your team is a “special” resource for your firm, you’ve
got high powered members, an important role, and
high visibility to the mission critical aspects of our work.
I actually have hours in this aircraft in a former life
You’re On Your Own But Going Faster
¨ You’re approach to the project is much less
¨ The work moves faster, requires enhanced skills, and
is much less forgiving of your mistakes or lack of
¨ You can start to travel in the same path as the “big
boys,” because you can cruise at 187KIA, so you’d
better have done this before or it’s going to turn out
bad – no “on the job training” allowed here.
¨ No experimenting with the customer’s money here, a
10 year old A/C sells for $156,000.
Many people depend on
your work efforts, with
much at risk for the
products you produce.
This requires skill,
experience, and a sense
Now We Are Hanging With The Big Boys
¨ You’ve arrived at the point in the project
management and development world where they’re
asking if you can do the job right the first time.
¨ Tools and processes are more complex and
powerful, so you’d best be fully trained with the
right “certs” to handle the problems that are going
to appear before you during normal operations.
¨ We’re moving faster, 30K Feet ASL, 233 MPH.
¨ The cost, schedule, and deliverables are important
now, because the cost of an error is getting more
expensive., much more expensive.
You manage an environment where if
anything goes wrong, your project goes
down in flames. No margin for error here.
Even If It’s Small It’s Still A “Fast Mover”
¨ Now you’re on a twitchy, unforgiving project, that
will put you in the grave if you make one mistake.
¨ On this project, has no room for error, it’s too fast,
too touchy, too hard to handle for all but the “best
of the best.”
¨ The pay back of this high risk project is high
reward, standing on the top step of the podium.
¨ Cost is high, so care needed to cover every detail.
No skimping on cheap anything.
You’re in the middle of the daily grind to keep the system
going, nothing must prevent you from success. You have a
schedule to keep for your client, who expects on time results.
A “Real” License Is Needed Now
¨ A lot more moving parts.
¨ Serious skills needed for success.
¨ Low tolerance for error.
¨ People on board are depending on your skills and
experience to get them home safely on time.
¨ You actually have a license that says “land safely
every time, on time, with no incidents along the way”
¨ Project cost, schedule, and technical performance
expected to be “professional” grade at all times.
¨ This A/C is operated as a business, with millions on
You work on a highly visible project, with the eyes of senior
management on your every action. The firm you work for critically
depends on your project’s performance. No Guessing allowed here.
More power, heavier machine
¨ Enterprise class machine, with two pilots, and special
¨ No more driving around in the sky anywhere you want,
you’ve got to start following the rules.
¨ The “governance” processes can’t tell the difference
between you and an actual airliner, other than your call
sign – you’re not a “heavy” yet, but getting close.
¨ The project is a “most” work proposition – business
success based on the value being delivered properly.
¨ 10’s of millions at risk.
The work you do allows the business to perform on a daily
basis. There is no room for error, without a backup plan. Your
cost, schedule, and performance overseen by a sovereign.
Still not “heavy” but one step closer
¨ Your running the project for a broader purpose, one
that is beyond the individual need or importance.
¨ You’re a member of a larger group of participants,
the “crew” must work together in conjunction with the
stakeholders – passengers.
¨ The project operates within strict guidelines,
oversight – both internal and external.
¨ The whole system has to work as planned if there is
going to be any chance of success.
¨ Capital cost handled by the leasing company,
operating costs are the management focus.
Your project impacts all aspects of the corporation. Your
products are used by other business units, other businesses and
senior management has direct visibility to your efforts.
Now You’ve Arrived You’re A “Heavy”
¨ OK, now we’re on the “mega project,” one that sets
the standards for the rest of world.
¨ The “team” is highly trained, experienced, and has
worked together for years, and has the ultimate
trust in each others abilities.
¨ The stakeholders number in the many 100’s (555),
each with critical needs from your project.
¨ There are no mistakes, no missteps, no tolerance for
anything but 100% success.
¨ External governance means full control of cost,
schedule, and performance.
Much depends on the project you manage, no matter the machine your
managing – it’s mission critical – must work on time, on budget, on performance.
Lots Of Moving Parts Means Danger
¨ Back to the light weight and agile processes.
¨ Freedom to go where you want.
¨ But you’ve got a mission critical assignment, people’s
lives depend on you not making mistakes.
¨ Command and control is the starting point, you can
make decisions in the field, but you’d better have a
good reason for not following the plan.
¨ Zero tolerance of error or missing a deadline, lives
depend on it – or at least financial performance
I have a personal connection here, 101st Air Borne Division, C/159 Assault Support Helicopter Battalion, Republic of South Vietnam, 1970
The security of the nation depends
on the project you manage.
Now we’re in the Big Time
¨ 10’s of 1,000’s of moving parts, billions of dollars
¨ Unconventional behavior of the project, fly by wire,
supersonic cruise, stealth operations, 100’s of on
¨ $156M for each product.
¨ You’re entrusted with the nation’s defense or a
similar level of critical importance.
¨ You’ve got the corporate life blood in your project.
¨ The Board of Directors know your name and where
you live – your performance is know by them.