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Adaptive Project Framework: Managing Complexity in the Face of Uncertainty by [Wysocki, Robert K., Ph.D.]
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Adaptive Project Framework: Managing Complexity in the Face of Uncertainty 1st , Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product description

From the Back Cover

A Breakthrough Framework for Adaptive Project Management from Project Management Guru Robert K. Wysocki


For an increasing number of critical projects, traditional project management models simply are not appropriate. In many cases, complete requirements and objectives cannot be specified up front, and significant changes cannot be avoided. What’s needed is an entirely new framework for project management: one that combines agile methods with the profession’s most enduring best practices. In this book, Robert K. Wysocki provides that framework–the Adaptive Project Framework (APF)–and shows how to apply it in any domain.


Wysocki, one of the world’s leading project management consultants, has spent decades helping large organizations succeed with complex projects. Drawing on everything he’s learned, he explains why a fundamentally new framework is needed and introduces all five phases of that framework. He covers artifacts, processes, and deliverables, and shows how to utilize each phase most effectively in your environment. Through four detailed case studies, you’ll discover how APF can help you adapt to unexpected events, encouraging creative responses based on open partnerships between clients and project teams.


Coverage includes

  • Bringing greater flexibility and speed to any project, regardless of its goals or context
  • Moving forward successfully with projects that have vague requirements
  • Discovering what clients really want, not just what they say they want
  • Managing ongoing scope changes throughout a project
  • Customizing APF to your own environment
  • Integrating APF with existing agile software development methods
  • Using APF to overcome the obstacles to success
  • Preparing for the future of project management

This book is written for every project participant–project and program managers, software and product developers, process designers, and business analysts–who needs to deliver results in a world that won’t stand still.

About the Author

Robert K. Wysocki, Ph.D., has more than forty years of experience as a project management consultant and trainer, information systems manager, systems and management consultant, author, and training developer and provider. His sixteen books on project and IT management include the PMI-recommended Effective Project Management, Fifth Edition (Wiley, 2009). In 1990, Robert founded Enterprise Information Insights, Inc. (EII), a consulting and training practice that specializes in helping large organizations run projects more effectively. His clients range from AT&T and Aetna to the U.S. Army Signal Corps, Wal-Mart, and Wells Fargo.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2931 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (25 Jan. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036QVONM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #999,777 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback
Interesting book that covers certain aspects of project managment not many others address.
Worth a read.... and interested to see the next book by this author.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a leader in PM & Business delivery it was great to get an insight into APF - sound ideas with relevance to real life delivery. Well worth the read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to help turn good cooks into chefs 11 April 2011
By Terry Doerscher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Adaptive Project Framework (APF) is an important read from a known thought leader that will likely only gain in significance over time. Robert Wysocki's views on why more adaptive PM methods are needed and what they offer very much mirror my own views, so the concept itself certainly wasn't a hard sell.

Perhaps most important is that the techniques he describes are born out of actual practice, with relevant case histories that he references in some detail. The result is an established approach to project management and facilitation for use when either the solution or outcome is not clearly defined. (It is important to add that APF is not an IT-only or SDLC model like existing Agile variants; APF is applicable to any type of project, including those in IT.)

My only reservation to the methods described is that it reads a bit too much like a prescriptive standard, which is the very antithesis of `adaptive.' We are very early in the whole concept and there is much more work to be done to create a established body of evidence and practices. I'm not implying that there is anything wrong with the approach as described, only that we are still on the front end of the evolution of adaptive project management.

Like finding a way over the next range of mountains, APF will probably be hailed as one of the early passes discovered; only time will prove whether it is the easiest and most direct route to get to the next project management plateau. At least as important is determining whether improvements in change management and value creation are in enough abundance to warrant permanently settling the area. In other words, can adaptive project management methods be adequately demonstrated by competent project managers in real world situations to deliver consistently successful results? I think so. I think we have little choice.

In summary, APF is a good guide for project and program managers, PMOs and others who are in search of a proven alternative to traditional dogma for planning and executing projects. APF will allow you to begin your journey with confidence, behind the lead of a pathfinder; just don't be shy about cutting your own trail as opportunities present themselves. And please, report back and let us all know what you discover over new horizons!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book for Chefs, not cooks. 18 Sept. 2010
By Jim Richards - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
On the bookshelves this year in the Agile Project Management category is Adaptive Project Framework: Managing Complexity in the Face of Uncertainty by Robert K. Wysocki Ph.D.

So, the executive summary: I like some of the ideas presented in the book. I do however feel that in the context that I am working in every day (a small web development company), that there does seem to be a little too much in terms of process for what we need. With a team of only a few programmers, and some jobs only lasting a couple of days work, we would be spending too much time following the process than actually doing the work. (But I'll address that at the end.)

So, let's start with some of the goodness.

The book has a much more academic feel than some of the others that I have read recently. What this means for you and me, is a much drier read. But it also means a lot more consideration, and thinking time has gone into the work - a book for chefs, not cooks and it covers a lot more of the why, rather than the what of the process.

One of the ideas I quite like was separating work flow into two types of work: probative and integrative swim lanes. Probative swim lanes are essentially a set of tasks that should be considered as research tasks. They are the process of investigating a particular direction of research. Thinking about the projects that I have been involved in over the years, it's a good way to get an idea of identifying how much work a particular feature might take to build. Developers are often guilty of over engineering and under-estimating their solutions, and the probative swim lane helps by spending some time looking at a feature to get a better idea of how long it will take to build. It's not about building the feature for production, but maybe trialling one aspect to see if the original estimate was correct or not, or to see if the choice of technology was a good idea. (It makes me think of the point made in Mythical Man Month where, if the development is 25% behind before the first milestone, then the next milestone will be 50% behind, and so on. Probative swim lanes help to identify this kind of issue very early on by doing some deeper research before making the estimate.)

Integrative swim lanes are where the real work is done for producing the completed product. That is, tasks which will take the project closer to it's goal and will be part of the solution. When a project starts, most of the swim lanes will be probative. Adaptive Project Framework (APF) follows the general Agile Management Methodology in that there are checkpoints along the way to assess work done so far.

Once enough research has been done, and the best solutions (at the time) have been identified in the probative swim lanes, they are then moved into integrative swim lanes at each checkpoint where they can be completed and contribute to the final solution.

Other aspects of APF that I think are worthwhile are the two resources (well, one is a document, and it's a little iffy about what the other is): the Conditions of Satisfaction (COS) and the Project Overview Statement (POS). (I'll have to admit, I kept forgetting what all the TLAs meant while reading the book. An index of terms at the end would have been nice.)

The COS is a conversation to help give an idea of what is required. In the book it states it should ideally be a verbal conversation. (This related to one of the books pitfalls, which I'll cover later.) In general terms this could be thought of as a project brief, something to get the ball rolling.

The POS is a document which helps keep the project on track, and helps identify when the project should stop - either by satisfying the goal(s) or by being killed off. The POS includes the problem or opportunity to be solved, the goal(s), the objectives, success criteria and risks and assumptions.

The author has a long history of project management, and has written a previous book that is used extensively as a textbook in educational institutions. One aspect of this book I find useful is that it puts APF in the context of other project management methodologies. If you're familiar with other Agile Project Management Methodologies such as Scrum, then you'll start mapping the terminology of Scrum onto APF, or the other way around. It is also quite clear that APF is not just for software development but any development process in the arena of the service or knowledge economy. That is, APF can be used for business re-engineering, course development or any other intellectual property based project.

The author is quite aware that this is a new framework, and expects change to occur. One of the reasons behind naming it Adaptive is to state that he expects it to change. Calling it a Framework also shows that it works at a meta level, and can be used to assess its own management processes.

So where are the pitfalls in the book? The first is a general one that I see. The author doesn't really discuss the use of distributed project teams or processes. He thinks (and I feel most Agile Methodologies have this problem) that the team should be co-located. Putting up the project information in the tea room is a nice idea, if everyone is together (and drinks tea.) But in today's distributed knowledge economy, that just can't be a given. It's a small point, but one that needs to be addressed more.

The second, and again I feel that most Agile Methodologies have this problem, is that it deals with large projects. I haven't seen any methodologies yet (that doesn't mean they don't exist, just that I haven't seen them) that deal with small projects, or projects run in parallel. The idea where the team can be devoted to the project 100% of the time just won't work in a service based, small project environment. We quite often have 3 or 4 projects (or more) running at the same time all at different stages, sometimes we have to wait a week for the client to get back to us. I can't see following a pure APF process really working.

That said, for the larger projects that we undertake then the ideas presented in the book would definitely work. (And for us, are working.)
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