Much is being written lately about the failures of conventional project management processes. It seems there is a difference thought between the skeptics about these processes (for all the right reasons) and the cynics about these processes (for many of the wrong reasons).
I came across some statements about the differences between skeptics and cynics:
- A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future - Sidney Harris
- The skeptic doesn’t trust the analysis… the cynic doesn’t trust the analyst
- No one wants to learn by mistakes, but we cannot learn enough from successes to go beyond the state of the art - Henry Petrosky
So a skeptic about the conventional notion of a water fall schedule could replace the long waiting periods between progress assessments with shorter ones and get fine grained Earned Value Management. Weekly EV, bi-monthly performance reports and the mandatory monthly Contract Performance Report. The cynic would say conventional performance measures never worked, can't work and my "magic beans" are the solution to the problem.
The skeptic would know that task durations are random variables drawn from an underlying statistical distribution and assess the critical path of a schedule accordingly. The cynic would claim PERT and CPM are wrong without replacing the need to determine - with some level of confidence the completion date and cost at completion of a project.
It's a large list. Skeptics make good project managers.