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Changing the Code of Agile Promotion

FEATURED PAPER

How promotion of an ‘agile’ product redefines the meaning of project management planning

By Muhamed Abdomerovic, D. Eng., Civil

Kentucky, USA

 


Abstract

For a long time now, the understandings of project management planning concept has been enthusiastically embraced in big engineering and construction companies. However, the concept has been criticized by many in information technology and other new fast growing industries. While it is true that the concept has not been always properly presented and applied, the derivatives of the concept cannot be used for effective development and implementation of project management plan. Well, the confusion and polarized standings are significant; the successful applications of current project management planning, including applications in information technology, as well as the calls for ‘paradigm shift’ and replacement of the concept still exist.

But problem is that the promotion of a planning concept routinely contrasts the current project management planning by changing the meaning of its components.

Introduction

A short, but serious disagreement in the development and implementation of project management plan comes after steady requests for something ‘simple’ and ‘flexible’ to cope with ‘uncertainty’ in project management planning. It was a promise delivered by the ‘Critical Chain’, the book that divided the project management community and dominated project management scene for two or three years. But promise failed and the state of confusion has been replaced by current development and professionalization of project management planning and resistance to planning incompetence.

Narrative alternatives to interpretation of current project management planning will most likely stay for a while. Today’s promoters of ‘agile’ approach that redefines the meaning of basic components of current project management planning are the most recent example.

Let’s start with the introduction of ‘agile’ movement, by considering some thoughts from its ‘manifesto’, which summarizes the main attributes of ‘agile’ approach, (http://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html, Retrieved 6/30/2013).

The manifest emphasis the ‘early and continuous delivery’ of software solution to customer; ‘frequently’, within ‘a couple of weeks to a couple of months’, where delivered software represents in the same time ‘the primary measure of progress’. However, if agile does not look far enough in advance then measure of progress is relative; actually it relates to increments of a solution that may be soon changed, or abolished. During its course of action the approach ‘welcomes changing requirements’, which may be the price for lack of visions or project planning as a whole. The manifest also highlights importance of continuous involvement of customer in incremental development of software, where ‘business people and developers must work together daily through the project’, in open-ended sessions. Such an approach shifts most of responsibility for a solution to customer, who must think what he/she really wants and whether she/he is he willing to trade continuous involvement for incremental and uncertain results. Probably the following statement of the manifest best summarizes its open-ended approach: ‘Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential’.

Nicholson describes software development methodologies that ‘have been traced back to 1957 at IBM’s Service Bureau Corporation’. But after decades of application, the traditional project management planning is tagged today as ‘Waterfall’ or ‘predictive’ method and declared by some as inadequate for management of software development. As key reason for inadequacy, a ‘strict, rigid stepping from one stage to another in the process’ of software development is cited. Although the correctness of this view has never been proven, it resonated within the software development community and new concept with high-grade terms such as ‘Agile’ or ‘adaptive’ became popular.

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About the Author


Muhamed Abdomerovic

Kentucky, USA

 


Muhamed Abdomerovic
, D.Eng., Civil, specializing in project management. He has more than forty years of experience in the application of scientific principles to project management planning. He mastered project management through many capital projects with a total budget of 12.5 billion. In working on variety of projects in the information technology, construction, the process industry and the energy sectors, he has gained broad insight into the project management theory and practice.

Mr. Abdomerovic is currently an independent consultant. He was previously project planner with Vanderlande Industries, master scheduler with FKI Logistex’s and program manager with Luckett & Farley. Prior to these positions he worked with Energoinvest and was responsible for the design and implementation of systems for management of large-scale development projects. He began his project management career in Vranica as a construction manager.

Mr. Abdomerovic has been an active participant in the development of the project management profession and has published many professional journal articles on project scope, time, cost and information management. He has also published articles in six proceedings of Project Management World Congresses and has published four books. His current research activities cover several aspects of project management including process relationships, project management system logic and system approach to project management planning.

Mr. Abdomerovic joined The International Project Management Association in 1972. He graduated from the University of Sarajevo with the Diploma of Civil Engineer. He was consecutively recertified as a PMI Project Management Professional (PMP) from 1998 to 2010.

To view other works by this author, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/muhamed-abdomerovic/