Saturday, February 13, 2010

eXtreme Project Management

Author: Doug DeCarlo
Published: 2004
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Hardcover: 560 pages
The author presents approaches for succeeding with eXtreme projects.
He defines an eXtreme project as a project that has two or more of the following dynamics in play:
- High stakes: failure is not an option.
- Deadlines are short.
- Innovation is paramount
- Success is to be measured in bottom-line results.
- Bureaucracy can't be tolerated.
- Quality of life is important.
He proposes a  holistic framework which uses leadership qualities, principles and tools that deliver value to all stakeholders in an environment which is highly volatile.
It is people centered, reality based, and business focused. 

It comprises of following components:
  • The 4 Accelerators (principles for unleashing motivation and innovation)
    1.  Make change your friend.
    2. Build on people's desire to make a difference.
    3. Create ownership for results.
    4. Keep it simple.
  • The 10 Shared Values ( establishing the trust and confidence to succeed)
    1. Client Collaboration
    2. People First
    3. Clarity of Purpose
    4. Results Orientation
    5. Honest Communication
    6. Fast Failures
    7. Early Value
    8. Visibility
    9. Quality of Life
    10. Courage
  • The 4 Business Questions ( ensuring the customer receives value each step of the way)
    1. Who needs what and why?
    2. What will it take to do it?
    3. Can we get what it takes?
    4. Is it worth it?
  • The 5 Critical Success Factors ( taking action: the tools, skills and environment to succeed)
    1. Self-Mastery
    2. Leadership by Commitment
    3. Flexible Project Model
    4. Real-Time Communication
    5. Agile Organization
This book has four parts.
In Part One , DeCarlo describes the project realities and urges us to adopt a Quantum mindset and accept the chaos and unpredictability in the project as a norm.
In  Part Two he  focuses on  the leadership skills (including self-leadership skills) that are critical success factors on eXtreme projects.
Part Three proposes a flexible project model for eXtreme projects. This model provides just enough discipline to allow people the freedom to innovate and to get the work done. The model is iterative and consists of four cycles: Visionate, Speculate, Innovate, Revaluate, and one final element, Disseminate. (seems to be similar to Six Sigma methodology !).
Part Four provides practical guidance on managing the project environment.
The eXtreme Tools and Techniques section at the end of the book is a collection of tools and techniques for use with eXtreme projects.

This is a very well written book, with lots of real life examples drawn from author's experiences. It also has a fictious but humorous case study to illustrate the eXtreme Project management technique. It is based on the biblical story of Noah's ark. 

A MUST READ for every Project Manager especially those in charge of software projects !
Also browse through the eXtreme Project Management section maintained by the author in to keep yourself updated on the recent posts and articles on eXtreme Project Management.

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