Maya, a little tired from her late-night arrival, ducked into the room just as the speaker was getting started. Sliding into a chair beside a slightly dorky-looking guyin a suit and tie no lessshe reflected briefly on why she was attending the conference.
A month ago, her boss, Alan, had stopped by. "Maya, your last project went so well, I'd like you to manage Jupiter. It's big, complex, and thorny. Just the kind of project you want, right?" Alan grinned.
"Right." Maya smiled back. Herding a bunch of sharp, opinionated geophysicists, chemical engineers , and software developers would keep her busy, but she loved the challenge. Also, the Jupiter project was producing a new line of test equipment for the oil and gas industry that would be pushing the state of the art.
"Anyway, just so I don't get accused of setting you up for failure, I brought you something," Alan said as he tossed a brochure for the Project Universe conference on her desk. "You can get away from our hot Austin weather for a few days. The sessions on complex projects and agile development especially caught my eye. Interested?"
"Sure, sounds like fun," said Maya.
Maya's reverie was broken when the speaker called for a short break, and the man sitting next to her slammed his notebook closed.
"What?" Maya responded, looking over in his direction.
"Oh, sorry," he responded sheepishly. "Do you think any of this agile stuff really works?"
Maya looked at his name tag. "Yes, Herman, it works. We use a similar approach at Geo-Tech. I'm here trying to figure out how to scale it to a larger project."
"I guess I'm a little lost. The presentation rambled a bit," said Herman.
"Well, maybe I can help. From my experience, let's see ," Maya flipped through the presentation until she found the slide. "Remember this slide? There's a product vision created with the customer. It's a quick start method that gets the project underway in days or weeks, and it's iterative. It focuses on individual capability and knowledge. It uses feature-based delivery with frequent feedback. And lots of collaboration and self-discipline within the team."
"Sorry, Maya, it's just fancy words. In the real world, my projects are late, ugly, and generally on the verge of heading south every minute You know the world where Murphy is in charge?"
"Sounds like you've had some tough projects. But this approach works, for us at least. Don't get me wrongyou have to get some things right, but if you do, the rest just sort of falls into place."
"I guess we need to get out of here," said Herman. "The next session is starting. Could we grab a cup of coffee? I've just been asked to head up a new Web development project, and my development team keeps telling me to lighten up and have more confidence in them. I don't see how I can. They're mostly kids right out of college, but I've got to get this project done on time. I'm skeptical, but I'm willing to listen."
"Sure," said Maya. She realized that talking to Herman would make her articulate her own ideas more clearly. Also, with a larger project looming, she didn't want to pass up an opportunity to learn something that might help.
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