The discussion around PMBOK and Agile Software Development management methods has a higher context.
The Five Irreducible Principles of Project Management
Any project management process or method, and any software development process or method that participates in the project management activities must provide outcomes to address these 5 irreducible principles before it can be considered credible.1. Where are we going?
The answer to this question is to have a Plan. The Plan is the strategy for the successful completion of the project. The Plan describes where we are going, the various paths we can take to reach our destination, and the assessment points along the way to assure we are on the right path. These assessment points measures the “maturity” of the product or service against the planned maturity. This is the measure of progress – not the passage of time or consumption of money.2. How do we get there?
3. Do we have enough time, resources, and money to get there?
The Plan states what work activities are needed to move toward to goal of the project. A good Plan tells us: what DONE looks like, what are the ACCOMPLISHMENTS? What are the CRITERIA for these ACCOMPLISHMENTS to be called "complete?"
What are the individual, dependent and , sequential steps needed to deliver the needed capabilities of the project to the customer? What are the durations, dependencies, timing, resources, and other items related to the Plan?
The idea these steps emerge is fanciful in many situations
4. What impediments will we encounter along the way?
The Plan must state the needed resources, funding, and time bounds for the success of the project. A common problem is optimism for these items. Documented procedures - no matter the document form - for estimating and planning these items is mandatory.
Understanding and managing risk for each critical component empowers management and staff to be accountable for the impacts of risks. Simple statistical models have been shown to be more correct than human judgment, so basing decisions on these models is critical to the success of the project.
5. How do we know we're making progress?
Risk Management is How Adults Manage Projects - Tim Lister is the starting point. There are five fundamental principles of risk management
- Hope is not a strategy
- no single point estimate of cost or schedule can be correct without knowing the variance
- Cost, Schedule, and Technical Performance are inseparable
- Risk Management requires adherence to a well define process
- Communication of Risk is the Number One success factor of Risk Management
What does DONE looks like for the customer, in units of measure meaningful to the customer? How would we recognize DONE when is arrives? How can we be sure we can get from here to DONE with the planned cost at the planned time?
We can only be assured we're making measurable progress if:
- We use Physical Percent Complete as our ONLY measure of progress. Tangible evidence that progress is being measured is mandatory.
- The passage of time and consumption of money are not measures of progress.
- Asking someone how much progress has been made is not a measure of progress.
In The End There Are Some Concepts To Remember
- The quality of a software system is governed by the quality of the process used to develop it.— Watts Humphrey
- If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing. — W. Edwards Deming
- When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science.— Lord Kelvin
- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is. — Yogi Berra