Adaptive Project Framework is not your Father’s Project Management

We all agree that projects are unique. They will never happen again under the same set of circumstances or conditions. Given that, wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect the management of those projects to also be unique?

The world doesn’t stand still just because you are managing a project. That is one reason why requirements cannot possibly be completely documented at the initiation phase of a project. Whatever management approach you choose to use for your project must be adaptable to changing conditions. Traditional project management models are poorly equipped to accommodate change.

[wcm_restrict]Adaptive Project Framework (APF) is an agile approach to any complex and uncertain project whose solution is not known at the beginning of the project but can only be discovered as part of doing the project. APF is built on a set of six core values:

  • Client-focused – Decisions are made based on what delivers maximum business value to the client at that point in time.
  • Client-driven – The client makes decisions on how to proceed based on feasible alternatives presented by the project manager.
  • Incremental results early and often – Each completed iteration delivers a better solution than all previous iterations.
  • Continuous questioning and introspection – An open and honest collaboration assures success and vested ownership by the client and the project team.
  • Change is progress to a better solution – Change is essential in order to converge on a solution that delivers expected business value.
  • Don’t speculate on the future – When in doubt – leave it out. If it’s important, it will be discovered during a later iteration.

In closing, APF has been particularly effective for project managers who take the position that their approach to managing a project will be proactive, not reactive, and they are willing to stand by their management decisions. If you are this type of project mgr, APF may be exactly what you are looking for.

This article is abstracted from the book: Adaptive Project Framework: Managing Complexity in the Face of Uncertainty by Robert K. Wysocki, Ph.D. (Addison-Wesley Professional, 2010, ISBN 978-0-321-52561-1, Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc.).[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember]

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About the Author

Robert K. Wysocki, Ph.D., has more than forty years of experience as a project management consultant and trainer, information systems manager, systems and management consutant, author, and training developer and provider. His sixteen books on project and IT management include the PMI-recommended Effective Project Management, Fifth Edition (Wiley, 2009). In 1990, Robert founded Enterprise Information Insights, Inc. (EII), a consulting and training practice that specializes in helping large organizations run projects more effectively. His clients range from AT&T and Aetna to the U.S. Army Signal Corps, Wal-Mart, and Wells Fargo.