"Hi, Maya," said Herman. "How's the world treating you these days?"
"Not too bad, but I'm up to my eyeballs on Jupiter."
"Sorry to bother you at home, but I'm in a bind. I asked for more people for my project, but you should see who they gave me. I think I may be worse off now than I was before," Herman moaned.
"How many turkeys did you get?" Maya asked.
"Three, but when you add them to my existing problems, I feel like I've got a high school basketball team when what I really need is the LA Lakers. Management does a terrible job judging their capability. I think it's a case of bravado winning out over humility ."
"I hear you," Maya said in agreement. "With the wrong team you're either going to fail or underdeliver. That's what I like about APM. It helps expose staffing problems early. Of course that's why so many companies stick with their old project management methodsthey don't really want to face reality. It's management by wishful thinking."
"So, what do I do? Hey, Maya, what's that noise? You have a motor running?"
"Oh, that's our project cat Hermione. And the answer to your first question is to set performance standards. Even Hermione, our project cat, has goals and objectives she has to meet."
"You're kidding, right?"
"Only a little. Hermione, my cat, comes to work with me about half the time, and she really is there to relieve stress. Petting a cat can be very soothing. But seriously, while I don't always get the people with the skill levels I need, I only have to keep people whose attitude lets them contribute to the project."
"So I take it if you can get a cat onto the project, you must always get the people you want, huh?"
"Of course not. I don't always get the people with the skill levels I need, but in this company I always get people with the right attitude."
"So you have the right to fire even if you can't hire?" asked Herman.
"It sounds draconian when you say it like that. But we do have a strong culture, and the team makes it clear to new folks that they either pull their own weight or they get out. I've mostly got self-starters who aren't waiting around for someone to manage themthey manage themselves ."
"And how did you accomplish that, Oh Mighty All-Knowing One?" Herman asked.
"By making sure everyone shares the same visionof the product, the project, and how we get work done."
"My management always talks about repeatable processes. They think that processes, procedures, sign-offs, and status reports will deliver results every time."
"And when they don't?"
"Well, they just figure we didn't adhere closely enough to the process."
"Like, it didn't work the first time, so we'll just do more of it," Maya teased. "People aren't machines, and product development isn't a cookie cutter process. The problem with product development, as opposed to product manufacturing, is that we can't control the inputsevery project is different. Our process is reliable, not repeatable."
"Hmm. Reliable rather than repeatable. I'll have to mull that one over for a while. Next time," said Herman.
The Agile Revolution
Guiding Principles: Customers and Products
Guiding Principles: Leadership-Collaboration Management
An Agile Project Management Model
The Envision Phase
The Speculate Phase
The Explore Phase
The Adapt and Close Phases
Building Large Adaptive Teams