Copyright to Peter McBride, © 2011.
This interview by Max Wideman followed a presentation on Agile Project Management Basics to the Canadian West Coast Chapter, Vancouver, BC, on August 16, 2011
Illustrations reprinted with permission.
Published December 2011

Editor's Note | Roles and Responsibilities 
Conventional versus Agile Approaches | Agile Principles

Agile Principles

6. MW: In your slide #7 (see Figure 3) you listed "NEVER compromise quality" and then talked about "setting the level of quality" and "good enough".

Figure 3: Agile's PM Principles
Figure 3: Agile's PM Principles

Level of quality in PMI lingo is called quality "GRADE", but what is your definition of "good enough"?

PMcB: Grade and Quality are only loosely related, in my opinion, not joined at the hip. Low grade can be perfectly good quality. Good enough means whatever the team decides it means, and this is the sort of "shifting sands" thing that trips up many of my clients. They think quality always means "TOP quality", and that is just not so. When I buy a $10 toaster, it is low grade, but perfectly good quality for what I want.

7. MW: This slide also mentions "incrementally" and "iteratively". I wonder how many in your audience understand the meaning and differences between the definitions of "increment"[1] and "iteration"?[2]

PMcB: My bet? Only 50% of PM's really get the difference between incremental (adding things in steps) and iterative (repeating a cycle). We are not a particularly sophisticated lot are we? (LOL).

8. MW: On your slide #10 - Time boxing (see Figure 4), what would you say would be typical durations for each step and in total (presumably for a single iteration)?

Figure #4: Time Boxing Process
Figure #4: Time Boxing Process

PMcB: Time boxing sets its own timing, so there is no typical, although a given project may maintain a "typical" or target duration for the Time box. From what I gather, time boxing should be totally tactical, setting the shortest possible timeframe to achieve the goals set for that particular time box. These goals are set (and time boxes planned) on the fly, based on feedback from the last release cycle.

MW: I think that's more than enough for now! Thank you for your contribution.


PMcB: Thank you for your thoughtful email Max. I am flattered to be in a professional discussion with a person of your stature, and appreciate your friendly open style and approach.

Peter McBride, PMP
McBride Consulting Group Inc.
Cheetah Learning Authorized Provider
North America: +1 866 681 4513
Europe: +372 5771 2186

Conventional versus Agile Approaches  Conventional versus Agile Approaches

1. Increment: The difference (delta) between two releases at the end of subsequent iterations. [RUP, PMGlossary: D04733]
2. Iteration: A distinct sequence of activities with a base-lined plan and valuation criteria resulting in a release (internal or external). [RUP, PMGlossary: D04684]
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