Projects have become much more complex and much volatile in today’s time, especially the software and new technology development projects. In traditional brick and mortar engineering projects, it is possible to understand and define the requirements and prepare an upfront plan to execute the projects. Such brick and mortar traditional development projects do not undergo much change as everything about them can be well defined. And such projects can be managed with a well laid out project plan.
But the software development projects and new product development projects undergo immense changes during the course of development itself. It is not practically possible to define all the requirements upfront for such projects as these are futuristic solutions. And such products will undergo suggested changes very frequently during the course of development itself in order to keep the product really relevant when finally they are developed fully. Changes come in because of the dynamic nature of market conditions and ever changing needs of customers. Such development which is full of frequent changes creates a very uncertain and chaotic environment. Hence in such situations it will not be possible to draw up a clear upfront plan for the whole project. Such projects need to be managed in an adaptive manner.
This is where Agile Methods of developments have come into practice. Extreme Project Management is one such method of managing projects which are filled with immense uncertainty and frequent changes.
“Extreme project management is the art and science of facilitating and managing the flow of thoughts, emotions, and interactions in a way that produces valued outcomes under turbulent and complex conditions: those that feature high speed, high change, high uncertainty, and high stress.” - Doug DeCarlo, author of extreme project management.
The main focus of XPM is on managing project stakeholders and the human interactions, rather than managing stringent schedule and plan with heavy formalism.
Difference between traditional and extreme project management
|Traditional Management||Extreme Management|
|Fully plan driven||Fully adaptive with short cycles of development|
|Manages the known||Manages the unknown|
|Stable and predictable||Chaotic and ever changing|
|Achieve planned result||Self-correcting leading to right result|
|Process driven||People and result driven|
|It thrives on managing||It thrives on leading|
Given that requirements are constantly changing and technology is evolving very rapidly, extreme projects move forward very fast and allow the teams to work in shorter timelines. This in turn gives the team the ability to better understand and approve each other's ideas and work.
For extreme project management to produce rapid change, it is necessary for all team members to communicate well and develop complete understanding.
To produce project plans, XPM uses a concept similar to rapid application development (RAD) called rapid application planning (RAP). Stakeholders are invited by the project manager to the RAP session where a sequence of steps (including planning the project) is run so that the best decisions are taken.
Extreme project management contributes to success in the following three different ways:
Since extreme project management is not a plan driven approach, rather an adaptive and self-correcting method of management, it requires great discipline and greater understanding in the minds of the team members. The team members need to possess a right “mind set” and a set of “beliefs” in order to make extreme project management successful. Below are some of the beliefs which should be part everyone’s mind set:
Team members should accept the above points as normal. Extreme Project Management will be successful only with immense self-management concept. Every team member need to feel highly responsible, should be very proactive, the team should provide an open environment filled with encouragement and trust.
XPM is an iterative and incremental development and management method. This is truly the philosophy of progressive elaboration as suggested for project management. Here the development will happen in shorter cycles of 2-6 weeks. Each iteration will deliver some concrete and working feature which stakeholders can use.
As per Doug DeCarlo, the author of XPM, there are 4 phases in XPM namely INitiate, SPeculate, Incubate, and REview (INSPIRE). Each iteration of development will provide more clarity and insight for the next iterations. Take PMP exam Prep course on KnowledgeHut.
Extreme Project Management (XPM) should be used where things are highly unpredictable, unknown and will be ever changing. In such situation it will not be possible to prepare a formal plan defining the scope, time and cost constraints upfront.
XPM will require a very different philosophical mind set and behaviour by each of the team members as well as the leader of the team. XPM team will be a self-organizing team capable of doing self-correction on the go. It relates with the Extreme Programming concepts in Agile Methods.
Thank you very much for this article. It was useful to me.
hi Very helpful indeed I need assistance on PM
This post made an excellent point that one of the benefits of using an ERP system is that it helps monitor and track revenue. I do agree that as a business, this is important.
good article. Well explained!
Well explained. Thank you so much. Continue educating us.