Agile project methodology , PMBOK - PMP... Why & Where?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

These days, one find’s more and more discussion and comparison in social forum between

• The water fall model with that of agile project methodology (iterative).
• Agile project certification /Scrum with that of PMP.
The another common question, one would find is about, which one of the project management methodology is better?.

To me, Project management has to cover all aspects and processes of project from project initiation to close, including all the commercials and if needed, one has to take care of legal aspect. Once, we get into the legal aspect or towards conflict resolution, the proof could be the documented agreement for any third party arbitration, PMBOK fairly covers these aspect to a greater extend.

Project execution method can vary it can a water fall model or iterative model. The approach towards iterative model of project execution is well defined in ‘Agile’ project methodology. To me, choosing a particular project execution methodology whether its water fall or iterative (Agile) depends on many factors.

Some of the critical ones being,
• Industry.
• Product.
• Size and complexity of the project.
• Customer or project Owner.

Industry: PMBOK is not industry specific and can suit all industry. Agile methodology is mostly applicable to IT industry and it could extend to some other industries as well, particularly in design of prototype. Also, sometimes, the solution or the product release to market might be time bound, which would call for quick turnaround time in development, hence ‘agile’ methodology can be opted.

Product: In my viewpoint, ‘Agile’ type of project management methodology suits IT products development. For example, software packaged solution or electronic product which uses micro controller or Embedded application. These products have shelf life. One has to keep up with competition and product release has to happen at right point of time, one cannot release a product version ahead OR late. Releasing a product ahead or late can be a potential risk in absorption of product by market and hence the success of product and thereby to the project itself. In such products life (months or even years depending on product), there need to be release of product versions from time to time and improvement or enhancement happen throughout the potential life of the product. This being the case, naturally Agile methodology would be a clear winner.

Size and Complexity of the project: If size of the project effort is small and if there is scope clarity, then a water fall model on Fixed price basis can be a better option as it would involve cost saving. In any case, even in small sized projects, improvements do happen post production. However, a complex project like ERP with greater degree of effort would require some form of iteration, not only for user to adopt and understand ERP functionality and wherever there are gap in the proposed business functionality, some form of customization OR integration requirement and hence agile type iterative approach would be useful. As a matter of fact, there are iteration in ERP implementation which are known as CRPs (common room pilot) but only difference may be that it might not precisely match Agile methodology like – product backlogs, sprint run, burn down charts etc.

Customer OR product owner: In an agile type of project, customer’s testing team should available to test the product output repeatedly and hence their effort is also critical. In a vendor – customer relationship, its normal in IT project environment, customer testing team (which likely to be business process team members) may not have time bandwidth to perform repeated testing. However within a company, if R and D team is coming out with iterative product output and with product owner controlling testing and producing teams the agile methodology will better suit. The fact is that scoping, commercials or even if any conflict happens - it can be resolved by the product owners.

Each project can be unique, bound by constraints and the challenges could be situational time to time, adopting a particular project management methodology alone might not bring success to a project. However, methodology would be effective tool towards success of project, if acknowledged, adopted and supported by key stakeholders. The above points could play a critical role in choosing a particular project methodology.

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The Phoenix Market City, Chennai

Saturday, January 26, 2013

In last 4 to 5 years, there have been quite a few malls which have come up in Chennai. The latest addition is ‘The Phoenix Market City’ Mall at Velachery. This is supposed to be one among the biggest mall is South India with a stated measurement of over 2 Million sq feet and it had surpassed Express Avenue mall, Rayapettah in size.

Being near to my apartment(approx 1 Km), once I heard that mall is opened,  visited the mall yesterday evening. Yes… it was open and understood from information desk, it’s a ‘soft’ open (I was wrong in thinking only IT / management folks use jargon)….. So what would be ‘hard’ open?..... looks like that would be the 'official' opening :-).

Since, there was no official announcement and being a week day evening not much of crowd around in the mall. Interestingly, one can find Jewelry and saree outlet (RMKV) in the mall and so is food joint ‘Nandoos’, which is yet to open. Use to have food at ‘Nandoos’ during my project stint at South Africa couple of years back. 

Looks quite huge, however not all outlets are open, many are doing their interior including the hyper market – Big bazaar. In addition to this, the complex is expected to have a hotel and residential apartments too for which construction is being carried out. 

hmmmm…..In a month time, this spot at Velachery would become a popular destination at Chennai. 

Aside to this, to a social conscious mind, just wondering with each passing year, there has been an increase deficit in electricity availability in the state, further with many more buildings coming up, just wondering as where the state would be heading towards in next few years on electricity requirement?. Another one is traffic, this could turn out to be a major bottle neck at the entrance side, once the entire complex becomes operational near check post at the Velachery main road, as already this road becomes chocked of traffic during peak hours.

Anyways, Velachery is becoming a city by itself, one may not need to step out of Velachery for their needs. From a personal perspective, once in a month visit to Express Avenue mall may not happen in the future.

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