AgilePM 02: Adaptive Approach
Our normal thinking of how a project works is that we start by listening to the customer to understand their expectations then document this. Next step is to create a plan and then start the project. This approach is called the predictive approach as we can predict all the requirements upfront.
In certain projects (eg: creative projects) this is not so easy as we cannot understand all the requirements up front. However, we have to be able to support these type of projects, so how do we do this?
Once way will be try to improve the way we do predictive projects by spending a bit more time at the start of the projects and using such techniques as:
- Facilitation workshops
- Prototyping (e.g. A 3D model of a house)
- Taking time to examine similar products
This will help a little, but it will not support these projects where requirements are difficult to gather in the future. So another idea is to take another path to development.
We can start by considering the different approaches we can take to take deliver a product and then start by describing a smaller first deliverable that we can do in a few weeks. We can then show this to the customer and get their feedback. This feedback makes it much easier for the customer and development team to communicate and for the customer to have gain a better understanding of their requirements.
After this feedback, we can then agree on the next deliverable (next version) with the customer and start work on this. We then show this to the customer again when ready and receive more feedback. We can continue to do this until the end of the project involving the customer when we deliver each deliverable and we reach all the customers’ expectations.
This approach is known as the adaptive approach as we don’t try to predict all the requirements from the start of the project but we use the feedback from each deliverable so the requirements evolve during the project. This adaptive approach is also known as Agile, so now you have a good definition for Agile.
Remember the main goal of any project is to deliver a product that the customer will find easy to use and will allow them to be more productive.