The Agile + Critical Chain Project Management Method
Stakeholders are becoming more impatient and less focused. You will lose their support fast if you do not start showing value fast from your project. “What’s a project manager to do?” as one of my project managers used to put it.
Well, you are in luck: Having lived in these circumstances for twenty five years of consulting on fast paced critical projects, here is a methodology that has worked for me every time. I call it the Masterpiece Project Method. Because it is like agile but with double potency, due to the use of some critical chain concepts in it. Without further ado, this is how I manage projects when I need to show value fast:
- Identify the business value the client or project owner is seeking.
- Identify clearly what the final outcome sought is. This must be clearly defined using a user experience tool like InVision, a UX designer, and a business expert (i.e. consultant).
- Breakdown the value delivery to monthly clear deliverables for the client.
- Breakdown the monthly deliverable into weekly deliveries for the team, leaving the last week as backup. The first delivery from the team has to be done in one week. The idea here is this: if they had a gun to their head and had to deliver or die in one week. what would they do? So they have to give you the bare minimum of a product in one week.
- Week two they refine and tweak it to show their abilities and expertise in making it a good product.
- Week three they make it “Wow.” which means when the client sees it, they will say “Wow” as simple as that. Remember the “wow” has to be thought out before the start of the month, so we account for it in the earlier two weeks and we know it will be coming.
- Last week is your buffer, so you will either end up using it as risks arise, or you will have a few extra days to spare at the end to finesse your work even further. The result is: A masterpiece. You can now celebrate success with your team even BEFORE the customer sees the final product.
Crazy? It has actually worked for me. Try it and let me know your feedback.