Evolution of the Hybrid Project Management Manifesto

So far, project management had two distinct streams, the Adaptive (Agile) and the Predictive (traditional). The purists believed in any one of the streams. Over years of practice, the non aligned practitioners like me, started to see benefits in tailoring the project’s processes from the agile and traditional repository of best practices. One reason for this is because each had it’s strengths and weaknesses. This led to the third stream of project management known as ‘Hybrid’ project management.

The Hybrid Manifesto are my thoughts about the right attitude for successful adoption and excellence of Hybrid project management, which is here to stay and grow. I hope, this will help project management practitioners in increase project success rate by healthy adoption of Hybrid project management.

The Hybrid manifesto is evolving.

Click here for the Hybrid Manifesto

Mastering the Art of ‘Peer to Peer’ and sometimes ‘Boss’ mentoring

There is a notion that mentoring is always top down. Fortunately, it is not so. Those opportunities to mentor bottom up or peer to peer are great opportunities to learn and grow professionally. Very often it brings in great benefits to the organization as well. Bottom up mentoring and peer to peer mentoring without offending the mentee is an art, which must be perfected through practice. This is key to success especially in the middle and senior management positions. The good news is, it is easy and enjoyable.

What do we generally discuss with our bosses and peers during our one to one meetings?. Ideas?, Events? or People?. Here is the famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt; “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”. Though this quote is very inspiring and true, it is very difficult to develop and validate relevant ideas for business consistently.

The single source for these new yet time tested ideas is our own quest for knowledge and self improvement. One major source for these are best selling books. Unless they have something useful in them, they would not have crossed the 1 million copies sold mark. It is not just reading them, but internalizing and sharing those ideas with others. I always do a cost benefit analysis before buying books, as I do for everything I buy. These concepts, learned from the books or blogs, if shared with others at the appropriate time can do wonders.

A new senior manager was recruited to a product development company, which had a highly participatory / collaborative work culture. The new recruit was coming from an organization which had a command and control culture. After joining the new team it was slipping into a loose-loose situation, before one of his peers recommended the ‘First break all the rules’ by Markus Buckingham. That transformed him within a very short span of time and he went on to bag the best manager’s award.

Recently, in a casual one to discussion with the CEO of a successful medium sized product company, I asked this question ‘Have you read the book ‘Crossing the Chasm’ which talks about successfully marketing products. And I left it there. I took this liberty because he used to recommend books to me. Some of them, especially ‘The power of the subconscious mind‘, ‘Hooked‘ and ‘Deep Work’ had positive impact on me. I am grateful for that.

After a couple of weeks of our discussion about ‘Crossing the Chasm’ , one day when I met him in his cabin, he was was very enthusiastic in explaining the concepts of ‘Crossing Chasm’ and the relevance of the concepts to his business at the current juncture. He modified his marketing strategy to incorporate some of the concepts and the business is doing well even during the pandemic time. In fact, it is growing during this period.

To summarize;

  • Be enthusiastic about reading both professional and personnel improvement books which are best sellers
  • Pick those relevant stuff, which are applicable to you
  • Experience the benefits conducting personal experiments. Even the learning from failures is an asset.
  • Share your experiences with others. Listen to others.
  • Do not assume that just because you have read a book, others might have already read it. There are still many in this world who have not read the ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’.
  • Be choosy about the books and articles you read. The cost of the book is negligible when compared to the time you spend to read it. Ensure there is potential for Return on Investment.
  • Reduce discussions about people and problems. Instead, focus on solutions.
  • Many senior professionals do not get sufficient time to update their knowledge. You are helping them by doing the learning and sharing the concepts with them.
  • Do not over do it. Create applicable knowledge inventories and use them when the right opportunities arrive.

Unboxing PMBOK7 and PM2.0 – Project Leader Role

From project manager to project leader, may sound crazy for at least some of my fellow professionals from the I.T industry where a Project manager role is considered as hierarchically above the project leader role. One first become a project leader, before becoming a project manager. The paradox is that Leaders are always considered at a higher level than managers in management literature and till now there is no project leader role in any other domain except I.T. Even though I got confused about this conflict between I.T management and the mainstream management, I kept quiet because I thought the Industry must be right over an individual.

Fortunately, while performing research to understand the global trends in EPC project management to design a course for Wrench Academy, it became clearer of the emergence of the role ‘Project Leader’. If my speculation is right, ‘Project Leader’ role will be included in the new version PMBOK7, which is scheduled to be released during December 2020.

Top 7 emerging global project management trends

  1. The project’s success criteria will be determined by ROI, ROCE than the traditional triple constraints of Time, Cost and scope.
  2. Projects will be executed through distributed teams, collaborating with each other over cloud based platforms performing concurrent development.
  3. Project planning will be decentralized and will rely on tailoring best practices from all streams of project management (traditional, agile) for the benefit of the project, than relying on any one method.
  4. Project requirements will be evolving and flexible
  5. Work breakdown structures will evolve bottom up
  6. Assumptions and constraints will be re-validated and revised throughout the project
  7. Activity workflows will become parallel

Out of these, the biggest paradigm shift is the shift in project’s success criteria from delivering on time to the return on investment (ROI) or the return on capital deployed (ROCE).

This change in project management canvas, called as Project Management 2.0 , and now followed by renowned industry bodies like Construction Industry Institute (CII) and Project Management Institute calls for enhancement of project manager’s skill set from tactical to strategic or it justifies the emergence of the ‘Project Leader’ role across all significant projects, whose primary role will be enhancing value to the owner by focusing on benefits management.

When the teams are no more collocated, motivational aspects of the team which drives them to accomplish the project goals are very important. While managing ROI, principle centered decision making is important to create an open and trustworthy environment to facilitate open communication and collaboration across all stakeholders. That is the reason why so much emphasis is given to principle driven project management over process driven project management. Without trust, there is no collaboration across distributed teams.

Carrying stones Vs Building the Cathedral

One day in 1671, Christopher Wren observed three bricklayers on a scaffold, one crouched, one half-standing and one standing tall, working very hard and fast. To the first bricklayer, Christopher Wren asked the question, “What are you doing?” to which the bricklayer replied, “I’m a bricklayer. I’m working hard laying bricks to feed my family.” The second bricklayer, responded, “I’m a builder. I’m building a wall.” But the third brick layer, the most productive of the three and the future leader of the group, when asked the question, “What are you doing?” replied with a gleam in his eye, “I’m a cathedral builder. I’m building a great cathedral to The Almighty.”

Delivering value by continuously portraying the larger picture of the project and it’s benefits to every stakeholder in a trustworthy manner consistently is the new emerging role of true Project Leaders. In other words, project Leaders are the new CEO of the projects.

Abrachan Pudussery

Product & Project Management Analyst

Project Integration Management

Many project management meetings looks like manager’s meetings. Almost every one you see in these  meetings are managers like Engineering managers, Quality managers, Project Owner’s managers, Contractor’s manager, Sub-contractor’s managers, H.R Managers, Project Controllers, Finance managers, Change managers……. that is a long list. Each of them are busy handling their fragment of the project. Who manages the project as a whole?. Who is the CEO of the project?. What does she do ensure that all fragments integrates well on time to deliver value to the Owner of the project or program?

 Project Integration management is the key responsibility of true project / program  managers.  

Let us drill down further to understand Project Integration Management which is the backbone of Integrated Project Delivery;

  • Project Integration Management’s emphasis is on collaborative teams working together from the contracting phase till the project completion
    • Project teams comprises of teams of different disciplines and they develop their plans (subsidiary plans)  like;
      • Engineering -> Engineering plan
      • Construction -> Construction plan
      • Quality -> Quality management plan
      • Procurement -> Procurement management plan
      • Risk management -> Risk management plan
      • Resourcing – > Resource management plan
      • Communications -> Communications management plan
      • Owner / Architect / Business analysts – Requirements / Scope management plan
  • These efforts can be further distributed among Owners, Architects, Contractors, Sub-contractors and Suppliers
  • Project integration management comprises of integrating the efforts of all these different disciplines towards the accomplishment of project goals of Time, Cost, Scope, Return on Investment (ROI) , Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) throughout the project’s life cycle by performing activities like;
      •  Developing and communicating the Project’s charter to the relevant stakeholders for approval and knowledge sharing. Typically project charter contains;
          • High level description of the project 
          • Business case of the project 
          • Alternatives analysis 
          • Major milestones with dates 
          • High level risks, constraints and assumptions 
          • Project approval criteria 
          • Project exit criteria 
          • Key stakeholders, their roles and responsibilities 
          • Project manager’s name, roles and responsibilities etc 
      • Developing the Project management plan and communicating the same to the relevant stakeholders for approval and knowledge sharing. Many get confused between the project management plan and the project’s schedule. Schedule is only part of the project management plan. Project management plan contains;
          • Project’s overall strategy for execution
          • Explanation of  how the project will be executed, monitored and controlled
          • Has the consolidation of the subsidiary plans like;
            • Scope management plan
            • Requirements management plan
            • Schedule management plan
            • Cost management plan
            • Quality management plan
            • Resource management plan
            • Communications management plan
            • Risk management plan
            • Procurement management plan
            • Stakeholder engagement plan
            • Change management plan
            • Configuration management plan
          • Scope baseline
          • Schedule baseline
          • Cost baseline
          • Performance measurement baseline (time based budgets)
          • Project life cycle description
          • Development approach
      • Ensuring that project’s work is happening as per the project plan during the execution phase. 
      • Ensuring knowledge capture, dissemination and archival for future use. 
      • Monitor and control project work to ensure that the project will get over on time, within budget and meet the scope. The most common tools used for monitoring and controlling project work are;
          • Earned Value Management (EVM)
          • Earned Schedule Management (ESM)
          • Burn down charts 
          • Critical Path Analysis 
          • Project dashboards
      • Perform Integrated Change control by;
          • Ensuring establishment of Change Control Board, Change Management Process.
          • Ensuring adherence to the process 
      • Ensure formal closure of phases and project according to the defined process 


Mind map of Four choices in life that separate the doers from dreamers – Warren Buffet

Click here for the reference article

Unboxing PMBOK7 series – Structure of PMBOK7

From PMBOK version 6 onwards, PMI was trying to catch up with Agile Project Management (APM) which is the most suitable for managing certain types of projects, especially those ones where the scope is continuously evolving and the technology component is fast changing. PMBOK Version 7 can be seen as a natural progression of it. Like the 12 Agile Principles, which are the foundation of all agile frameworks, PMBOK7 also has 12 governing principles at the apex level followed by other components as shown in the diagram below.

Click on the diagram to zoom

At the apex level are the 12 governing principles. These 12 principles based on the project management professions ethics governs the actions and behaviors of project management practice regardless of whether one is following predictive or adaptive project management styles.

The second level comprises of the project performance domains

The third level comprises of the models, methods and artifacts

At the fourth level is the PMIstandards+ digital platform which will guide on the application of Models, methods and artifacts based on project type, development approach and industry sector.

Agile Manifesto & Agile Principles for software development explained

When the I.T industry adopted the processes from other industries, many thought leaders in the I.T industry felt that that was constraining the software development process rather than facilitating it. They felt the need to change, and drafted the Agile Manifesto and the 12 Agile Principles.

Agile Manifesto

We are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.

Of these, the most neglected or misinterpreted or forgotten to understand is the last sentence ‘That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more’. Because of the lack of understanding of the depth of this sentence, many think that agile frameworks are adhoc and undisciplined ways of working.

While supporting individuals and interactions agile supports value adding processes and tools.

While considering working software as the true measure of progress, agile supports value adding documentation.

While giving emphasis on customer collaboration, agile focuses on win-win agile contract types so that negotiations are always with a win-win mindset.

Responding to change over following a plan. Changes are inevitable. If valid changes are not incorporated, the product can fail. So, changes must be evaluated not just by their impact on time, cost and scope, instead it must provide higher focus on the value to the product. The contract type should support it.

Agile is against everything non-value adding and at the same time supports everything adding value irrespective of whether it is change request, process or contractual term.

This is supported by the 12 Agile Principles

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery
    of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in the development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Reference – Agile Manifesto