The HOPE Method of Project Management

PMI NC Piedmont Triad Chapter, and Kim H. Pries

When you step onto an airplane, you hope it will not crash. You, as a passenger, have no control over what happens during the flight. Statistics indicate flying is relatively safe, which is due to vehicle mechanics, pilot training and competence, flight crew and tower teamwork, and substantial planning.

Purchasing a lottery ticket or a spin on a roulette wheel is all about luck and hope, with little possibility of influencing the outcome. Sure, it is possible to purchase more lottery tickets or to buy more spots on the wheel for another spin, but the outcome is only incrementally improved. Why, then, do we so often see the HOPE method used in software project management?

Scope Hope
The use of hope often starts at the beginning of the project. It is never too early to exercise the use of hope. It begins with Hurriedly Overlooked Project Extent (HOPE). The project manager will not know exactly what is to be delivered, or how to go about doing it.

The project manager will spend little time asking questions of the customer, never qualifying what is to be delivered, or what constitutes good quality for the deliverable item. At best, any discussion will be around the very highest of levels of abstraction. We hope we got the full scope. This will have an impact when we estimate the project.

After the project manager spends his modicum of time understanding the targets of …

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