Published here May, 2006.

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked - Part 1 | What We Liked - Part 2
Downside - Part 1 | Downside - Part 2 | Summary

Downside - Part 2

In his standardized graphic, Gary illustrates upper management's role as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Upper management's role in the agile versus classic project
Figure 2: Upper management's role in the agile versus classic project[24]

In our view, the responsibilities of upper management involve a healthy dose of both the classic and agile roles described in the boxes above - and in equal quantities!

In a similar diagram, Gary opines that under Agile, organizational adaptability is critical for an organization to be able to reinvent itself around the project.[25] (Emphasis added) Project? Which project? Most organizations in a technology-driven environment have many projects in a portfolio, so does that mean that the organization is busy reinventing itself around multiple projects? Gary goes even further, for he says:

"An annual review of the portfolio is no longer adequate. You must be prepared to reprioritize projects, as needed, whenever events cause selection criteria to change value, or criteria weighting to change, or new criteria to be introduced."[26]

And he concludes that:

"Agility is all about making the right decisions during project execution (as well as planning); agile PM is about creating the environment and tools to support those decisions."[27]

Our inference here is that the real requirements will be determined by a series of "right decisions during project execution", and that therefore an earlier determination, along with a corresponding planning effort, is secondary. We conjured up a perhaps exaggerated image of an organization with projects in the execution phase bouncing all over the place and no clear idea of where any were going. That's a real scary situation and thoroughly demoralizing for dedicated project team members. If all of that should be true, then it is no wonder that there are so many project failures!

Albeit a "Classic" project management view, it is our contention that there are such things as project planning of scope and cost for which the project manager is responsible. And, just as important, both of these need controlling during execution. We didn't see these discussed anywhere in the book whereas in contrast, the whole of Chapter 7 is dedicated to time control under the heading "Planning for Agility".[28]

Downside - Part 1  Downside - Part 1

24. Ibid, p143
25. Ibid, p149
26. Ibid, pp172-173
27. Ibid, p203
28. Ibid, pp98-110
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