How can Adaptive Project Management contribute to your Strategy in execution?
The idea behind Adaptive Project Management (APM) is to help teams facing the unexpected circumstances that may arise while working on a project, through a flexible mindset of continually “learning by doing”. In this way, organizations are more equipped to respond to uncertainty and anticipate it, thanks to a process of re-evaluation of results and decisions during the entire project’s life. Because let’s face it, have you ever seen a project with no change? Specifically today, projects need to start quicker and therefore long periods of analysis and preparation are abandonded, instead following a type of or any type of iterative approach.
Indeed, traditional and linear project management techniques can’t keep up with today fast-paced business environment, where project goals and requirements change frequently due to a mix of factors such as shifts in customer needs and tastes, changes in market trends and accelerated technological change. Most teams cannot afford the inflexibility of the past and they need to find the right project management methodology to be responsive to change, rather than reactive to it. In particular, adaptive project framework is characterized by some peculiarities:
- Client-focused, since it maintains the attention to the demands of the clients.
- Client-driven, involving them during the entire project as a way to keep a high engagement rate.
- Continuous questioning and introspection, thanks to the open and honest relationship team-client.
- View of the change as an opportunity and as a way to reach better results and progress.
So, does this mean i need to abandon my current methodologies?
No, absolutely not. Remember how we said that APM is also about change? The choice of methodology is a part of handling change as well. Let me give you a few examples.
Recently when I did an Uppwise implementation project in a South America region, we started the project ambitiously, ramping up to use Agile and involve the client in the Agile team. Client agreed. After the 1st cycle plan it became evident that due to many solid reasons, Agile was not the way to do things? Do we then need to keep enforcing it? No! We simply adapted our way of working for the next cycles to use a more traditional approach within each iteration. And as we embraced change, together with the client, and had a clear understanding of the goals through the Project Overview Statement, we delivered the project on time and with success.
Another example could be, suppose you are running a large scale implementation, involving not just the ICT department, but also say Legal. Your project is split-up in a number of large deliverables. You see that one part of the project, the one with the ICT department, works well using Scrum, whereas when dealing with Legal, you would like to use KanBan as a methodology.
But how to add value to the organization using Uppwise APM?
Thanks to its flexible approach, APM enables you to gradually enhance your choices and methods by taking into account the results of the choices you made earlier on in the project and changing them in the process. By “thinking as a chef rather than a cook”, you will not only follow the project plan (recipe), but you will adapt to the circumstances. Following the metaphore of cooking, regardless how APM is implemented per project (different recipes), by using the same ingredients across, you can ensure yourself that reporting of execution status in a common language is still perfectly feasible. This makes, from one side, your strategy more flexible and dynamic, while work will speed up thanks to the use of new technologies and teams which can collaborate more intensively.
Even if each organization has to determine its own ideal path to follow in order to promote agility and reach strategic goals in the fastest way possible, some tips must be kept in mind. First of all, it is fundamental not only to understand your current situation and prioritize tasks, but also to promote regular communication among all the stakeholders. Here we have summurized a roadmap you can follow to maximize your APM strategy:
- Start by establishing a common language and vocabulary for everyone, also involving the client in the definition and the planning of the project scope. In this phase, you will gather with the client to figure out what needs to be done and why, also establishing the requirements. Here the project’s conditions of satisfaction (COS) is developed, and the Project Overview Statement (POS).
- Then plan the tasks in the cycle plan phase. Differently from traditional PM, here the process is characterized by continuous planning, in order to increase flexibility and quickly adapt as circumstances change. The PM’s coordination is fundamental, but at the same time, agile teams must be capable of determining their own workflow plan and prioritize their work, relieving the PM from the burden of everyday tasks.
- Put in action your plan in the cycle build phase, where activities such as monitoring, adjusting and tracking problemas are needed. The major difference with traditional PM is the timetable establishhment. Indeed, in APM if a deadline passes the task is set aside and given a new priority for the following cycle. Be ready to stay flexible.
- Now it’s time to work with the client to review what has been scheduled earlier and to decide the adjustments needed. At this“client checkpoint” phase the process repeats itself, by passing again and again throughout the build and checkpoint phase, until the project is complete.
- To conclude, implement a final review, in order to evaluate the successes and identify what needs to be changed for the future.
Thanks to its creative problem-solving and outside-the-box way of thinking, adaptive project management is fundamental for today’s companies, where projects’ goals are vague and uncertainty is in everyday tasks. If having the right strategy can make the difference, also having the right tools such as project management software or templates has a big importance.
Each project is different and it requires tailored solutions capable of adapting to specific requirements and conditions. Uppwise APM ‘s flexible and adaptive platform can be the best ally of every PM in the planning and the execution of the strategy during the entire project and work management life cycle. By combining Uppwise APM with Uppwise Strategy & Portoflio Management (SPM), you are assured also of the ability to assign projects to strategic goals and objectives, but also to trace execution of these projects within your strategy. This allows you to flag potential issues early, and adjust and embrace change at strategy level as well, ensuring you will be able to reach your strategic goals and objectives.
Here at Uppwise we are not only aware of how APM is fundamental for the well-functioning of your organization, but also the number of challenges you might face implementing these adaptive project management tools. And here at Uppwise we can even guide your organization also to implement Strategy & Portfolio Management and connect it with your project management execution.
For this reason we are happy to support you through the choice of better and more tailored APM-based solutions among our product list. We will be able to meet your needs and find the perfect technology for your business.
If you wish more information, please reach out at any time!
Founder of Uppwise, Gioacchino has solid hands-on, experience and vision in the PPM Market, gained as a startupper and founder of a number of software & cloud-services companies. During the last two years he has lead the company transformation, shifting from the offering of a traditional PPM product to a new suite of SPM, APM and CWM products.