"I don't see much sense in that," said the Rabbit. "No," said Pooh humbly, "there isn't." "But there was going to be when I began it. It's just that something happened along the way." - A.A. Milne
In the management of projects, we must be adaptive to emerging situations. Incremental and iterative everything is a critical success factor. Having a Plan means we have a strategy. This strategy needs to be constantly tested to determine it is still a valid strategy. If not, the Plan needs to change. If it is, then continue to the next assessment point.
This has been described in many ways, in many contexts, by many people, but still not well understood and even less well applied.
When we using Incremental and Iterative, we cannot forget to start with "end in mind," but without the steps along the way to the"end," the project will fail. There is a Big Design Up Front issue, but there are also Big Vision Up Front issues as well.
Here's a simple example:
- We're doing an Earned Value Management Self-Assessment for DCMA. The Guideline Evaluation (GLE) forms for each of the 32 Guidelines in ANSI-748-B have several "boxes" on them that all have to be filled out before submission of the Self-Assessment package
- The first step is to do the data traces of the data needed for each of the 32 GLEs. Without the data traces, the processes for the Guideline are of little value.
- One approach is to fill out the form in its entirety. This is good if you've got all the time you need. You NEVER have all the time you need.
- So what is a Pooh to do? Start with the show stopper parts of the GL Evaluation (GLE). Go find all the data used by that guideline, confirm it is compliant, capture that knowledge, move the captured data to a safe location, and document that no data is missing.
- Repeate for all 32 Guidelines.
- Only then fill out the remaining fields in the form. Because without this data trace, the other boxes on the form are meaningless.
Incremental and Iterative.