This is part 1 of a 10-part series I am writing on Agile Project Management, by Jim Highsmith.
The first question to ask is, “Why should I consider using Agile Project Management?”
Time-to-market has shrunk. A lot of it had to do with “Internet-time”, but even after the bubble burst our schedules did not expand again. I have found unrealistic schedules to be the norm, with the occasional fantasy schedule thrown in for variety.
Customers rule. Customers are pickier than ever, and if you don’t have what they want, someone else will. There are too many competitors willing to fill a market need, so we can never become complacent in our offerings.
These factors combine to force the hand of anticipatory project management, the kind that “plans the work and works the plan.” But if the market is changing rapidly, then the plans set in stone 6 months ago really are outdated.
One response is to develop products incrementally, focusing on adding the most value first. This practice, known as iterative development, leads to software that evolves into a killer application instead of trying to design and implement one on first pass.
Agile Project Management (APM) recognizes that opportunity and risk lie in the software, not in the project management approach. So APM attempts to mitigate risk and maximize opportunity in order to meet the business objective of Reliable Innovation, which consists of five parts: continuous innovation, software adaptability, reduced delivery schedules, people and process adaptability, and reliable results. It attempts to deliver reliable innovation through its principles and framework (in tomorrow’s post!).