Project Management

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Topics: Agile, Scheduling, Scope Management
Join me in searching for a unified project / Agile product delivery model.
This is a cutting-edge opportunity for those with an interest in theory which can drive better practice.

How can we extend/adapt project management theory to make room for Scrum product delivery / Agile approaches?

The Work Breakdown Structure and Schedule Network are foundational models for guiding the project's temporary organisation along with time-tested algorithms such as the Critical Path Method.

Product Delivery / Agile approaches such as Scrum assume an open-ended future scope and time boxed deliveries towards the product vision.

It is not immediately obvious how to reconcile these two worlds at the level of the project model. For example, how does one accommodate indefinite future scope and timeboxes while respecting the 100% rule of the WBS?

Is there a model based on the time-tested WBS and Schedule Network that also seamlessly accommodates Scrum product vision-driven time-boxed work?

If you share my curiosity and would like to explore the theory underlying our project management methods/ software tools - please reach out.

About you:

* You will have hands on experience in applying WBS, Schedule Network, and Scrum/ time-boxes to deliver work.
* You will have an interest in (or an interest to learn about) the graph theoretic world of trees, directed acyclic graphs, anti-chains, partial orders, etc that underly today's Project Management theory.
* You will be wanting your software tools to operate at a higher level and guarantee project/ product model soundness.

Goal
My goal is to create a model for integrating project (WBS/ Schedule network) and product (Scrum/ vision/ timeboxes) delivery and build a working prototype that demonstrates the viability of the model.

Interested? Let me know.

David
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Hi David, You didn't mention Scaled Agile Framework or the Disciplined Agile approaches. Is there a particular industry / domain you are concerned with? SAFe and DA are intended for software development so perhaps you are interested in non-software projects.

Specifically in software development it's true that schedule networks and critical path analysis tend to be very unhelpful and are usually avoided for good reasons. The reasons have little to do with management methods and more to do with the nature of knowledge work and software evolution.
...
1 reply by David Pratten
Nov 10, 2020 4:02 PM
David Pratten
...
Hi David,

Yes, the nature of knowledge work and software evolution lends itself to a product (vision and incremental delivery) model rather than a project (temporary endeavour) model.

The aim is to create a model and reference implementation that is equally adept at supporting project and product approaches and hybrids of the two.

The model should seamlessly include WBS and Schedule Network, critical path, product vision, releases, stories, sprints and cadence all as first-class entities.

Additional concepts required to model SAFe and DA, and other approaches from the Agile Forest (https://hennyportman.wordpress.com/2020/10...-agile-forest/) are in view at present just to the level of ensuring that decisions now don't preclude their inclusion in the future.

All the best,

David
There is nothing in the traditional tools of project management which precludes their use (if it makes sense) on projects following an adaptive life cycle. After all, rolling wave planning & progressive elaboration have been around for decades. The difference is the duration of the "waves" and the value which a traditional approach (WBS) would provide over a lighter weight one (story mapping).

Kiron
...
1 reply by David Pratten
Nov 10, 2020 4:24 PM
David Pratten
...
Hi Kiron,

Yes, the time-tested techniques of rolling wave planning and progressive elaboration are applicable to adaptive life cycles. However, with our current software tooling, we do seem to need to choose which approach to use “WBS” or “User Stories”.

I'm excited about a world where we don't need to choose. Imagine if our software tools where based on a model that is equally aware of both approaches. A strong model would enable our Dev teams to use light weight story mapping while our shared software tool is building the WBS automatically in the background for use by the PM.

All the best,

David
I do agree with Kiron.
...
1 reply by David Pratten
Nov 11, 2020 2:51 AM
David Pratten
...
Hi Abolfazl,

Let me know if you have any additional feedback after reading my reply to Kiron.

All the best,

David
Nov 10, 2020 2:20 AM
Replying to David Portas
...
Hi David, You didn't mention Scaled Agile Framework or the Disciplined Agile approaches. Is there a particular industry / domain you are concerned with? SAFe and DA are intended for software development so perhaps you are interested in non-software projects.

Specifically in software development it's true that schedule networks and critical path analysis tend to be very unhelpful and are usually avoided for good reasons. The reasons have little to do with management methods and more to do with the nature of knowledge work and software evolution.
Hi David,

Yes, the nature of knowledge work and software evolution lends itself to a product (vision and incremental delivery) model rather than a project (temporary endeavour) model.

The aim is to create a model and reference implementation that is equally adept at supporting project and product approaches and hybrids of the two.

The model should seamlessly include WBS and Schedule Network, critical path, product vision, releases, stories, sprints and cadence all as first-class entities.

Additional concepts required to model SAFe and DA, and other approaches from the Agile Forest (https://hennyportman.wordpress.com/2020/10...-agile-forest/) are in view at present just to the level of ensuring that decisions now don't preclude their inclusion in the future.

All the best,

David
Nov 10, 2020 8:05 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
There is nothing in the traditional tools of project management which precludes their use (if it makes sense) on projects following an adaptive life cycle. After all, rolling wave planning & progressive elaboration have been around for decades. The difference is the duration of the "waves" and the value which a traditional approach (WBS) would provide over a lighter weight one (story mapping).

Kiron
Hi Kiron,

Yes, the time-tested techniques of rolling wave planning and progressive elaboration are applicable to adaptive life cycles. However, with our current software tooling, we do seem to need to choose which approach to use “WBS” or “User Stories”.

I'm excited about a world where we don't need to choose. Imagine if our software tools where based on a model that is equally aware of both approaches. A strong model would enable our Dev teams to use light weight story mapping while our shared software tool is building the WBS automatically in the background for use by the PM.

All the best,

David
Nov 10, 2020 8:42 AM
Replying to Abolfazl Yousefi Darestani
...
I do agree with Kiron.
Hi Abolfazl,

Let me know if you have any additional feedback after reading my reply to Kiron.

All the best,

David
I have been chatting with David about this since July. I am impressed with what he has achieved, translating between backlogs, network diagrams and WBS structures. It is fascinating and will likely be baked into the next generation of project management tools.
...
1 reply by David Pratten
Nov 15, 2020 8:38 PM
David Pratten
...
Thanks Mike.
Nov 15, 2020 8:01 PM
Replying to Mike Griffiths
...
I have been chatting with David about this since July. I am impressed with what he has achieved, translating between backlogs, network diagrams and WBS structures. It is fascinating and will likely be baked into the next generation of project management tools.
Thanks Mike.

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