Every project domain is looking for a simple answer to complex problems. There isn't a simple answer to complex problems. There are answers, but they require hard work, understanding, skill, experience, and tenacity to address the hard problems of showing up on time, on or near the planned cost, and have some acceptable probability that the products or services produced by the project will work, and will actually provide the needed capabilities to fulfill the business case or mission of the project.
So It Comes Down To This
- If we don't know what done looks like in some unit of measure meaningful to the decision makers, we'll never recognize it before we run out of time and money.
- If we don't know what it will cost to reach done, we're over budget before we start.
- If we don't have some probabilistic notion of when the project will be complete, we're late before you start.
- If we don't measure progress to plan in some units of physical percent complete we have no idea if we are actually making progress. These measures include two classes:
- Effectiveness - is the thing we're building actually effective at solving the problem.
- Performance - is the solution performing in a way that allows it to be effective.
- If we don't know what impediments we'll encounter along the way to done, those impediments will encounter us. They don't go away just because we don't know about them.
- If we don't have any idea about what resources we'll be needing on the project, we will soon enough when we start to fall behind schedule or our products or services suffer from lack of skills, experience, or capacity for work.
Doing project work is about many things. But it's not just about writing code or bending metal. It's about the synergistic collaboration between all the participants. The notion that we don't need project management is one of those nonsense notions that is stated in the absence of a domain and context. The Product Owner in agile is the glue to pulls the development team together. But someone somewhere needs to fund that development, assure the logistics of deploying the resulting capabilities is in place, users trained, help desk manned and training, regulations complied wtih. The Program Manager on a mega-project in construction or defense does many of the same things.
Core information is need as well. Cost, planned deliverables, risk management. resource management and other house keeping functions are needed.
Delivering on or near the planned time, at or near the planned budget, and more or less with the needd capabilities is hard work.