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Agile Project Management: AFP

~ By Jorge Dominguez

Blue 3D abstract process

Businesses all over continue to struggle implementing the PMBOK or PRINCE2 as a whole or parts of them claiming that they are too complex, too involved and take from the time it takes to produce the project deliverables. Adaptive Project Framework (APF) comes to the rescue by adapting to the ever changing business environments.

I read and re-read "Effective Project Management: Traditional, Adaptive, Extreme" by Robert K. Wysocki every time I get a chance. It is an excellent book that I always carry with me. This book dedicates a few chapters to APF.

APF is an iterative and adaptive (and I add agile) approach designed to deliver maximum business value to clients within the limits of their time and cost constraints where the always variable scope is adjusted at each iteration. The client decides what constitutes maximum business value and, at the end of each iteration, the client has an opportunity to change the direction of the project based on what was learned from all previous iterations therefore, embracing and managing change, not avoiding it.

Just five phases define APF:

1. Version Scope

  • Develop the Conditions Of Satisfaction (COS) to define what is needed and what will be done to meet that need
  • Develop the Project Overview Statement (POS) which summarises the problem/opportunity, what will be done and how, the business value, and risks, assumptions and obstacles to success
  • Prioritise functional requirements; this list may change but currently reflects the best information available
  • Develop mid-level Work Breakdown Structure showing goal, major functions, and sub-functions
  • Prioritise scope triangle (consisting of time, cost, resources, scope, and quality, customer satisfaction was left out)

2. Cycle Plan (iterative)

  • Extract from the WBS those activities that define the functionality to be built in this cycle
  • Decompose the extracted WBS down to the task level
  • Establish the dependencies among these tasks
  • Partition the tasks into meaningful groups and assign teams to each group
  • Each team develops a micro-level schedule with resource allocations for the completion of their tasks within the established cycle timeline and budget constraints

3. Cycle Build (iterative)

  • Conduct detailed planning for producing the functionality assigned to this cycle
  • Begin cycle work
  • Monitor and adjust cycle build
  • This cycle ends when its time has expired. Any functionality not completed during this cycle is reconsidered as part of the functionality in the next cycle
  • Create a Scope Bank to record all change requests and ideas for improvements
  • Create an Issues Log to record all problems and track the status of their resolution

4. Client Checkpoint (iterative)

  • Client and project team perform a quality review of the functionality produced in the just completed cycle against the overall goal of maximum business value, and adjustments are made to the high-level plan and next cycle work if needed
  • The sequence Cycle Plan / Cycle Build / Client Checkpoint is repeated until the time and cost budgets for this version have been expended

5. Post-Version Review

  • Determine if the expected business outcome was realised
  • Determine what was learned that can be used to improve the solution
  • Determine what was learned that can be used to improve the effectiveness of APF

A very simple framework that, as the book author says, is client-focused, client-driven, shows incremental results early and often, utilises continuous questioning and introspection, implement changes better and progressively, and strips out all non-value-added work. Everything the business has been looking for!

I am willing to give APF a try. Don't you think so…? Well, I do.


Jorge Dominguez wrote the article "Agile Project Management: AFP" and recommends you visit www.Expiriance.com for more information about project management.


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