in my next two Posts I will skip writing about how MS PROJECT 2010, and MS PROJECT SERVER 2010 work, their features etc. I will write about PROJECT MANAGEMENT methodologies, frameworks, nutshells or however you name them, and MS PROJECT as a tool!
Why? Because I am studying Agile Project Management, and I find, well I will be polite, some things with I can not agree, or can not 100% agree!
Before I come up with these things, I have to clear some things up!
- Is the Agile Approach good? Yes it is excellent.
- Are Scrum, Kanban, Extreme Programming (XP) good? Yes they are excellent.
- Is the “traditional” or waterfall model old, bad, and totally inappropriate for software development? NO!
- Which methodology or framework or approach to take in software development? Whichever is BEST FOR YOU AND YOUR PROJECT! There is no silver bullet! Silver bullet does not exist!
- Which tool to use? MS PROJECT? EXCEL? Pen and Paper? Post-it? Whichever is BEST FOR YOU AND YOUR PROJECT!
I am not going to argue which approach is the best, or the best for software development! Why? Because there is not the BEST WAY! According to PMI, Project is: “Temporary endeavor undertaken to create a UNIQUE product, service, or result”. UNIQUE means that every Project is different from any other in the world! So, if every Project is unique, you should consider which approach to take every time you get a new Project!
Now, to the Point.
One of the world most known Scrum author (I will NOT give you his/her name) in his/her book describe “What’s Wrong With Traditional Software Development?”, e.g. waterfall model! I will write what that author states (in my words) with italic letters, and my opinions will be in bold letters
• “Creativity is inhibited! In waterfall great idea in the middle of the project is not a gift, it is a threat!”I will comment this very shortly: IT IS NOT THE TRUE! I have managed hundreds ERP Projects, and I find great idea (or any good idea) as a gift. I always foster open communication and “idea sharing model”! Why? Because any good, or great idea has benefit for the team, stakeholders, and customers!
• “Written documentation is primary method of communication, no one will read project plan, or requirements document, and if someone will read it is cause of misunderstandings.” That is true only if your documentation is bad, if you do not comment that documentation with each stakeholder, and clear any misunderstanding up! And, PROJECT PLAN can and it does CHANGE during the Project! It is NOT FIXED! EVER! I will like, I will love, I will adore if I can skip plans, but think of this: THE CONTRACT! If you do not have a plan, then what is the scope (at least preliminary scope) of your work? What will you put in the contract? Something like: “Because waterfall model is bad, we will not use it! Since we will not use it we do not need any plan, so the scope of our work is: DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, OR WHAT THE CUSTOMER WILL TELL YOU TO DO! ”. And it is not true that critical information has to be communicated with documents only!
• “Bad timing. You will deliver your project at the and, and there is no place for improvement in that particular Project!” If you deliver and show your product to the client when it is completely finished, than this is true! But in waterfall model you can and should deliver Parts of your product to get feedback from your client (customer, stakeholder), and to improve your work! Read PMBOK!
• “Humans are not able to predict the future. You can not plan what will you do six weeks from now! Problems can arise, and you will have to change your planned work. It has been the downfall of many a carefully constructed Gantt chart.” Who says that you have to predict everything? You can not, of course! And, as far as I know in MS PROJECT you can change Tasks, Duration, Resources, Estimations, Baselines etc. in it! If you can not, maybe you are in the read only mode
• “Too much work and no fun. In waterfall model there is no fun, people are under the stress, and it is a cause of great misery for the team. And because of that, people will not expressing they skills, passions, creativity, bla, bla, bla! The waterfall approach ask the team to act like a robots!” WHAT? WHAT? GREAT MISSERY? NOT MUCH FUN? Come on! I must be an Idiot! I was working in many Projects with waterfall approach, ERP Project, and my team and myself (with stakeholders) have a great time, and we became friends! And if team members are working like a robots, than that is something wrong with Project Manager, or Manager (you know the DO WHAT I TELL YOU TO DO, DON’T THINK approach), and not with model! Again, read the PMBOK. There is one important thing there: Open foster communication
• “A rigid, change-resistant process produces mediocre products. Customers will get what they wanted at the beginning, and that will be what they didn’t really want!” There is something know as change management, and change process in Project Management! And it works fine! I will not add any further comment!
• “Many teams find: the harder we try, the worse we get!” YEAH RIGHT!
Some final points from me:
- I don’t want to conclude that waterfall model is better than any other, or the Best!
- I do not agree, that waterfall model is bad for software development
- It is all about the people! You can not blame methodology if you do not have skills for Project Management, if you are the bad Manager, and you do not know how to communicate with your team, stakeholders, sponsor, customer, wife, dog, moon etc.
- Do not forget something: COSTS, TIME, CONTRACTS. If you do not have a scope predefined, how can you estimate costs? Time? Deadline? What will you put in the contracts
- Use whatever approach you want as long as you are satisfied with the results! If you will not get those good results, blame yourself! Why? Because you have choose that methodology!
In my next post I will write about how “inappropriate ” (YEAH, RIGHT) is MS PROJECT for agile approach!
And, I Will not get involved in any further discussion! Why? Because this and next Post is my point of view. I will write next post, and I will get back to work with MS PROJECT!