Tuesday, October 30, 2007

If Lao Tzu were a project manager - part 2

"Everything must have its roots, and the tendrils work quietly underground." - Tao Te Ching, Chapter 16.

Plants can't survive without roots. Likewise, a project can't survive without a plan. There may be varying levels of planning, but without a plan the project will wither up and die.

So what is the right level of planning? It is really based on the project. If you are working in a stable environment and have a good idea of what your requirements are, you can put together a pretty detailed plan. If you have a lot of uncertainty, you are better off starting with a high level plan and working out the details through an iterative approach.

Regardless of the approach, you should still plan out how long the project is going to take. Timeboxing works well in uncertain conditions. You determine when you're going to finish and you get as much done in that amount of time. If you prioritize the work, you know you'll get the important stuff done.

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