Project Adjustment is Not Just for Agile

By Jon M Quigley

Project Failure

Sometimes, the reason for the project failure has to do with selecting the wrong approach or methodology.  For example, there are times when we should choose an agile approach rather than a conventional project management approach.  Those of you, who have talked to the staff at Value Transformation, know we believe the project management strategy or approach is situational dependent. There is no silver bullet, there is the application of learning, learn some more, and apply what is newly learned.  That is a valid approach, whether employing a stage gate approach or an agile approach. 

Prioritization of Objectives

The agile approach requires a prioritization of the product backlog, this focuses the team on the immediate objectives and equally important if not more so, ensures the money and resources of the organization are directed at a sale able product at some future date. Prioritization of the scope of the project is NOT just an agile thing, though based upon experience; I suspect many of those reading this believe it to be uniquely agile. The reality is, conventional project management also advises a prioritized scope, though that seldom occurs. 

Project management triangle example

Demonstration of cost, time and scope in the project.


If we think back to the triangle, ScopeCostTime; are the triple constraints upon the project in conventional project doctrine.  The theory is these vertices of the triangle are the points for adaptation or articulation to adjust the project to the circumstances as they arise or are discovered.  The discussion of scope, is the specifically the range of expected deliveries from the project to meet the objective of the organization.  A prioritized project scope is identified; specifically the most important objectives are clearly defined against a graduation of lesser objectives.  Thus we are aware of the range of acceptable scope fulfillment that we can adapt to the available time and cost.  It seems conventional practice consists of holding the time, the cost and the scope constant giving the project team no wiggle room to adapt to circumstances.

Example of adjustments made in the project due to circumstances

Example of adjustments in scope, cost, and time are made in the project due to circumstances.

Poor execution is as bad as poor approach or strategy.  The results will likely produce failure and any success will likely be attributed to luck.

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