A couple of good articles have caught my eye recently, both extolling the virtues of Critical Chain Project Management (or aspects thereof), namely:
- Getting Reschooled in Project Management – How to Plan a Project with no Multi-Tasking – Bruce Watson at @atomicobject
- Kanban Improved via Theory of Constraints – Steve Tendon (@tendon)
Also announced in the last few days: Troy Magennis’s (@t_magennis) new book Lean Forecasting (“Rapid Forecasting Likely Staff, Cost and Delivery Dates of Agile Software Projects”). Meanwhile there’s always the classic Waltzing with Bears by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister.
Here on positiveincline.com I’ve made some small contributions of my own on the subject of planning, for example:
But there’s a problem with these technical approaches…
Is the when will this project be ready question always a good one to ask? And even when it is a reasonable question, are we guilty of rushing to answer it when more interesting questions need to be asked first? Questions like:
- Why do you ask?
- What will we need to prove?
- What parts should we deliver first?
- What else needs to happen for this to be successful?
Moreover, we risk a lot of needless pain and waste if we don’t take the trouble find out what kind of date we’re talking about. Is it a “bad things will happen if we’re a day late” kind of date, or “I need some cost information so that I can make a priority call” kind of date?
I don’t expect the need for forecasting and schedule risk management to to go away completely, but let me leave you with another:
- What needs to change in our organisation for the when will this project be ready question to be asked only rarely?
Answer that one, and you’re probably on a good path to a kind of processes that deliver predictability in ways more valuable than just date compliance. Worth exploring, surely?