Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New and Shiny

So today I was anxiously waiting for IOS5 to be available so I could download it and play with the latest software for my iPad. I was also one of the folks that downloaded Lion the day it was released, accepting the minor compatibility problems that came with it as a cost of being an early adopter. Is there an advantage to being an early adopter, or is it just the thrill of playing with something new and shiny?

In project management, there is emphasis in some circles on having a repeatable process. We have our PMO and our methodology and all our templates. But is this always the best approach? If each project by definition is unique, should we use the same old process for each project?

I've used Kanban on a number of projects lately and been successful with it. I think Kanban still falls into the new and shiny category, but I've been figuring out how to use it. In once case, I took a project that was following Scrum...But and when I moved to Kanban saw improved delivery, better visibility, and a happier customer.

I recall about 3 years ago when I was trying to introduce agile into the organization I was working at. At the time, agile was still shiny and new, at least in some circles. There was some resistance to this approach, even though the more traditional approaches weren't always successful (that's not to say there aren't failed projects that use agile).

Some people need a lot of proof before they change their ways, others (like me) like trying things out early to see how they work. Of course, even I won't risk a new approach on a big project; I like to test things out on smaller projects first, where the cost of failure is lower. Even if you're not an early adopter or fast follower, keep aware of the trends. What's new and shiny today will be standard before you know it.

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