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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

More on PM Methodologies: Be Selective!

Raven Young brings us 5 easy tips to for adopting PM methodology. One of those nailed it:

Be Selective: Never adopt a Standard in its entirety, unless you believe it’s a 100% fit. Instead, you’re best to select those parts which you believe can be integrated into your company culture, with the least disruption to your project activities.

Actually I believe that should be printed and wallpapered in entire office at the very beginning of every implementation of new project management methodology (and any other too).

I don’t believe you have to use every single practice written in the standard to be successful. I don’t believe there are techniques which are 100% mandatory and you’ll fail when not exercising them. That’s bullshit.

As far as you have any other method to deal with source of the problem, let it be quality of the code or anything else, and it’s aligned with other techniques you use/plan to use things should be fine.

I wouldn’t advise you to stop using your most powerful practice only for not being a part of the standard you’re trying to implement. Whichever methodology you’re going to implement – be selective.

in: project management

6 comments… add one

  • Glen B. Alleman February 27, 2009, 9:03 pm

    What we’ve started doing is to focus on the “principles” of managing projects before moving the the “practices.”
    This provides an anchor for assessing the approporiateness of the practice.
    A problem is there are only a few descriptions of the principles and many – possibly too many – practices.

  • Pawel Brodzinski February 28, 2009, 2:04 am

    Glen, you’re right. We so often hear to follow this method or another but we seldom think why a specific technique should be used. Which principle is covered and if that’s the best way to do the job.

    That’s what I have on my mind every time when I’m talking about choosing wisely which techniques you should use when implementing new methodology. I’ve seen a couple of times situation when practices doing good job with covering key principles of project management were thrown away just because they didn’t align with new cool methodology. No one thought why they have been in the place, which principle stands behind them and whether new methods will do the same or better job.

  • Raven Young February 28, 2009, 9:09 am

    Pawel – Thanks for sharing my post and I totally agree this is the best tip in the bunch! Being selective with what (or how) to implement from a given process, standard or methodology is key to making it work in your specific org, group and team.

  • Pawel Brodzinski February 28, 2009, 9:27 am


    For me methodologies used in project management or software development were always more like a toolbox rather than a manual to follow up. When you have a toolbox you use tools which suit you fine in a specific situation. There’s no need to use a hammer every single time.

    What more you can achieve the same results different ways – sometimes it takes more effort sometimes less. Sometimes you have other tools that these from your toolbox which helps you to do the job. I see no point in throwing them away only because it wasn’t a part of a brand new toolbox you bought the other day.

  • Glen B. Alleman March 1, 2009, 7:38 pm

    I’d say that the difference between a toolbox item and manual to follow are domain dependent.
    The monthly statusing of Control Accounts on a NASA program are “step-by-step” processes performed exaclty the same way every month.
    The creation of the baseline for the next rolling wave on the same program is “step-by-step” for the framework, but the content is highly situationally dependent on the engieering processes.
    With those step-by-step processes the ad hoc processes have no framework in which to be developed.
    This is the core difference and princple and practice.

  • Pawel Brodzinski March 2, 2009, 12:00 am

    I know your background so I have no other choice but to agree. Personally I haven’t worked in environment where such alignment was required although I can think of a few examples. Anyway I think that vast majority of projects which are done don’t fall into “follow the manual” approach in any place.

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