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Chapter 4. Adapting over Conforming - Pg. 63

Chapter 4 Adapting over Conforming A traditional project manager focuses on following the plan with minimal changes, whereas an agile leader focuses on adapting successfully to inevitable changes. Traditional managers view the plan as the goal, whereas agile leaders view customer value as the goal. If you doubt the former, just look at the defini- tion of "success" from the Standish Group, who has published success (and failure) rates of software projects over a long period of time. Success, per the Standish Group is "the project is completed on time and on budget, with all the features and functions originally specified." 1 This is not a value-based definition but a constraint-based one. Using this definition, then, managers focus on following the plan with minimal changes. Colleague Rob Austin would classify this as a dysfunctional measurement (Austin 1996)--one that leads to the opposite behavior of what was intended. When customer value and quality are the goals, then a plan becomes a means to achieve those goals, not the goal itself. The constraints embedded in those plans are still important; they still guide the project; we still want to understand variations from the plans, but--and this is a big but--plans are not sacrosanct; they are meant to be flexible; they are meant to be guides, not straightjackets. 1 Standish Group. Chaos Reports (http://www.standishgroup.com/chaos_resources/chronicles.php). · 63 ·