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Questioning eXtreme Project Management

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  • Marco Abis
    Hi everybody, I would like to know what those of you who know eXtreme Project Management think about it. I ve just read a lot of docs about XPM and I m not
    Message 1 of 16 , Jul 11, 2003
      Hi everybody,

      I would like to know what those of you who know eXtreme Project Management think about it. I've just read a lot of docs about XPM and I'm not completely convinced. Maybe this is because I've never used it but at the end of my study on it I've two different but contemporary feelings:

      - nothing really new, just a lot of things taken from others Agile approaches;
      - a way to profit by the word eXtreme (contributing this way in making Agile just a buzz word);

      I look forward for someone who can explain me where and why I'm wrong (or I'm right). I'm asking this here instead of, for example, extremeprogramming group because it concerns the management so I think XPM is closer to Scrum than XP (despite the name).

      Cheers :)

      Marco Abis
      Agility SPI: Software Process Improvement
      abis@... - abis@...
      http://agilemovement.it
    • Ken Schwaber
      You are right. XPM isn t anything to do with extreme or agile, as much as a list of common sense practices that have been in books for years. Someone named
      Message 2 of 16 , Jul 11, 2003
        You are right. XPM isn't anything to do with extreme or agile, as much as a
        list of common sense practices that have been in books for years. Someone
        named James McGovern is also calling himself the Father of Agile
        Outsourcing. We'll probably get to see a lot of presumptuousness mixed in
        with raw arrogance and greed. Something similar happened to CMM about this
        time.
        Ken

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Marco Abis [mailto:abis@...]
        Sent: Friday, July 11, 2003 5:34 AM
        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Questioning eXtreme Project Management




        Hi everybody,

        I would like to know what those of you who know eXtreme Project
        Management think about it. I've just read a lot of docs about XPM and I'm
        not completely convinced. Maybe this is because I've never used it but at
        the end of my study on it I've two different but contemporary feelings:

        - nothing really new, just a lot of things taken from others Agile
        approaches;
        - a way to profit by the word eXtreme (contributing this way in making Agile
        just a buzz word);

        I look forward for someone who can explain me where and why I'm wrong (or
        I'm right). I'm asking this here instead of, for example, extremeprogramming
        group because it concerns the management so I think XPM is closer to Scrum
        than XP (despite the name).

        Cheers :)

        Marco Abis
        Agility SPI: Software Process Improvement
        abis@... - abis@...
        http://agilemovement.it



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      • Brad Appleton
        ... Can you be specific about which source you obtained the XPM info from? I ve seen no less than 4 or 5 different things calling themselves XPM and some of
        Message 3 of 16 , Jul 11, 2003
          On Fri, Jul 11, 2003 at 11:33:45AM +0200, Marco Abis wrote:
          > I would like to know what those of you who know eXtreme Project Management think about it. I've just read a lot of docs about XPM

          Can you be specific about which source you obtained the XPM info from? I've seen no less than 4 or 5 different things calling themselves XPM and some of them have nothing to do with "agility".

          Rob Thomsett has a book and a site about what he calls XPM. And I've heard a lot of good things about it from a lot of people in the agile community. I also have the book and it looks pretty good to me.

          I agree a lot of it is nothing new. Then again, keep in mind a lot of what's in eXtreme Programming was nothing new. What was new is the particular combination of practices, and the emphasis on people and communication. Thomsett's XPM has borrowed some stuff from agile things, but agile borrowed some stuff from him too as he was writing about his stuff before we started using the word "agile" to describe these methods. I consider his stuff part of the agile movement rather than trying to piggyback on it. I've reason to think Highsmith would tend to agree with that to (but I should let Jim speak for himself :)

          I guess I want to emphasize that (!new != !good). The whole idea behind software patterns was to disseminate common practices documented with uncommonly good insight. I think Thomsett does the same for XPM practices. I think he is not trying to take advantage of the 'Extreme' word anymore than XP is :-)
          --
          Brad Appleton <brad@...> www.bradapp.net
          Software CM Patterns (www.scmpatterns.com)
          Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration
          "And miles to go before I sleep." -- Robert Frost
        • Marco Abis
          ... really a lot of sources, just a few: - http://www.cutter.com/freestuff/epmr0102.html -
          Message 4 of 16 , Jul 11, 2003
            >Can you be specific about which source you obtained the XPM info from? I've seen no less than 4 or 5 different things calling themselves XPM and some of them have nothing to do with "agility".

            really a lot of sources, just a few:

            - http://www.cutter.com/freestuff/epmr0102.html
            - http://www.informit.com/content/index.asp?product_id={B5CE5B8C-04DF-4572-84FA-FAF6FE32C74C}&session_id={948C285D-F9C9-4608-A99B-45B6946763C5}
            - http://www.refresher.com/!extremereview.html

            and some Yourdon papers (and a book: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0130621102/edyourdonswebsitA/) and many more.

            >I guess I want to emphasize that (!new != !good). The whole idea behind software patterns was to disseminate common practices documented with uncommonly good insight.

            of course! But If a take some practices (loosing principles) from Scrum, something from Lean and something from ASD and I call it 'eXtreme Buzzing' this new approach isn't new and isn't also good (and I'll try also to sell it as my new, revolutionary silver bullet :)) But I'm not writing about Thomsett (I've ordered his book, not read yet).

            >I think he is not trying to take advantage of the 'Extreme' word anymore than XP is :-)

            Again I'm not speaking about Thomsett in praticlura but what I mean is that when XPers took the word 'extreme' they weren't referring to anything else while all this "new eXtreme Something" are clearly trying to take advantage of XP and not of the 'extreme' word itself.

            Cheers



            Marco Abis
            Agility SPI: Software Process Improvement
            abis@... - abis@...
            http://agilemovement.it
          • Brad Appleton
            ... Okay - just keep in mind they are not all the same thing. Some of them are borrowing extreme because the word itself is sort of a buzzword (even before
            Message 5 of 16 , Jul 11, 2003
              On Fri, Jul 11, 2003 at 06:00:37PM +0200, Marco Abis wrote:
              > really a lot of sources, just a few:

              Okay - just keep in mind they are not all the same thing. Some of them are borrowing 'extreme' because the word itself is sort of a buzzword (even before XP used it - that as in fact one of the reasons why XP used it). Some of them are borrowing the word from XP.

              > of course! But If a take some practices (losing principles) from Scrum, something from Lean and something from ASD and I call it 'eXtreme Buzzing' this new approach isn't new and isn't also good (and I'll try also to sell it as my new, revolutionary silver bullet :))

              Yes. I think we need to evaluate on a case-by-case basis which
              XPMs incarnations are doing that and which ones aren't. Some
              of them aren't explicitly borrowing from so much as having
              practices in common with them because they both discovered
              they are good and that they work.

              > Again I'm not speaking about Thomsett in praticlura but what I mean is that when XPers took the word 'extreme' they weren't referring to anything else while all this "new eXtreme Something" are clearly trying to take advantage of XP and not of the 'extreme' word itself.

              Again, some of them are. But some of them aren't - a few of the 'XPM' incarnations them haven't even heard of 'extreme programming' or even of agile software methods.
              --
              Brad Appleton <brad@...> www.bradapp.net
              Software CM Patterns (www.scmpatterns.com)
              Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration
              "And miles to go before I sleep." -- Robert Frost
            • Marco Abis
              Thanks Brad, could you (and/or anyone else) list all the different XPMs you ve heard/read about? So that I ll be able to separate them and study them in an
              Message 6 of 16 , Jul 11, 2003
                Thanks Brad,

                could you (and/or anyone else) list all the different XPMs you've heard/read about? So that I'll be able to separate them and study them in an organic way.

                Cheers

                Marco Abis
                Agility SPI: Software Process Improvement
                abis@... - abis@...
                http://agilemovement.it
              • Brad Appleton
                ... There is an XPM at http://www.extreme-pm.com that is no relation to the agile movement. Doug DeCarlo has a series of articles in his A Different Drummer
                Message 7 of 16 , Jul 11, 2003
                  On Fri, Jul 11, 2003 at 06:26:39PM +0200, Marco Abis wrote:
                  > could you (and/or anyone else) list all the different XPMs you've heard/read about? So that I'll be able to separate them and study them in an organic way.

                  There is an XPM at http://www.extreme-pm.com that is no relation
                  to the agile movement.

                  Doug DeCarlo has a series of articles in his "A Different
                  Drummer" column on "extreme project management" at
                  http://www.projectconnections.com/knowhow/columns/#decarlo
                  - I think he has some knowledge of agile methods but
                  thats not where he got the word 'extreme' from, and
                  while what he writes is applicable to agile methods,
                  it usually isn't knowingly taken from agile or XP (tho
                  he does use the word 'agile' sometimes in the sense of
                  agile organization/business). See also an outline at
                  <http://vsbabu.org/mt/archives/2003/05/16/guide_to_extreme_project_management.html>

                  There is a website http://ShootTheProjectManager.com/ that
                  sometimes uses the word "extreme" and "radical" that is also
                  not derived from agile or XP but is certainly applicable to
                  the issues of people, high collaboration, and managing rapidly
                  changing stakeholder expectations/requirements

                  Donna Fitgerald has a "Nimble Project
                  Manager" column at Builder.com (see articles at
                  http://builder.com.com/columns.jhtml?browseParam=nblpromr) where
                  she too is aware of agile, but her stuff really isn't so much
                  part of that - even tho parts of it are applicable. I think her
                  use of "Nimble" comes from Darryl Conner's book "Leading at the
                  Edge of Chaos: the art and practice of t he nimble organization"
                  which comes from the domain of organizational agility

                  Shaun Ajani has a bunch of articles on
                  "Extreme Project Management" you can see at
                  http://www.refresher.com/archives37.html He also has a book
                  coming out entitled "Extreme Project Management: Unique
                  Methodologies - Resolute Principles - Astounding Results".
                  I read the description on Amazon and it seemed very PMI-based
                  and heavy or counter-agile to me - but I can't claim to have
                  looked at it closely enough. Glen Alleman reviewed the book
                  at http://www.niwotridge.com/BookReviews/ExtremePM.htm
                  and based on what I've seen from Glen I would be inclined to
                  trust his judgement 100%.

                  Ed Yourdon has a site/seminar on XPM at
                  http://www.yourdon.com/seminars/XPM.HTML which is about
                  project management for high-intensity projects (and he has a
                  book of the same name about managing high-intensity internet
                  projects), including but not limited to agile and XP projects.
                  I think Ed did take the 'extreme' directly from XP - but at the
                  same time, a lot of the stuff he talks about is stuff from his
                  own vast knowledge and experience (he is one of "the" software
                  gurus in the field, on a par with Gerry Weinberg) and some of
                  his stuff is in common with agile and not necessarily stolen
                  (but some of it is just plain borrowed - which is okay). Even
                  tho some of his stuff is borrowed - it is still good, and deserves
                  looking into. Its not simply rewarmed "hype" to make money. Ed's
                  been around the block longer than most and knows what of he writes.

                  And of course Rob Thomsett has a book on XPM
                  entitled "Radical Project Management" and a website at
                  http://www.thomsett.com.au/. You can read more about Rob's
                  "XPM" at his website or on Amazon or at InformIT.com (which
                  has several articles). Rob is also a senior advisor to cutter
                  consortium (invited I think by Jim Highsmith) so Rob'x XPMis
                  "the real deal" and NOT some cheap knock-off trying to exploit
                  XP/Agile. Glen Alleman has reviewed this book too at
                  http://www.niwotridge.com/BookReviews/RadicalPM.htm
                  he says the book is actually some pretty traditional PM with
                  some "radical" thrown in and has some older essays are a bit
                  outdated. I think Thomsett's more recent stuff for Cutter is
                  perhaps more up-to-date.

                  Hope that helps! I'm sure there are some other "XPM" or "Agile
                  PM" methods out and about. Maybe someone will post them if
                  they know of them.

                  --
                  Brad Appleton <brad@...> www.bradapp.net
                  Software CM Patterns (www.scmpatterns.com)
                  Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration
                  "And miles to go before I sleep." -- Robert Frost
                • Mike Beedle
                  ... gement.html Brad: When we were at Snowbird I proposed to use the word agile to describe what we perceived to be a different kind of software
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jul 11, 2003
                    Brad wrote:
                    >Doug DeCarlo has a series of articles in his "A Different
                    >Drummer" column on "extreme project management" at
                    >http://www.projectconnections.com/knowhow/columns/#decarlo
                    >- I think he has some knowledge of agile methods but
                    >Thats not where he got the word 'extreme' from, and
                    >While what he writes is applicable to agile methods,
                    >it usually isn't knowingly taken from agile or XP (tho
                    >he does use the word 'agile' sometimes in the sense of
                    >agile organization/business). See also an outline at
                    ><http://vsbabu.org/mt/archives/2003/05/16/guide_to_extreme_project_mana
                    gement.html>


                    Brad:

                    When we were at Snowbird I proposed to use the word
                    "agile" to describe what we perceived to be "a different
                    kind of software development already practiced
                    for years by some", because we were looking for a word that
                    executives and software development management
                    _already knew_ and recognized but that they could
                    associate as being "people-oriented, lightweight, adaptable,
                    self-organizing, flexible, and high performance". Basically
                    we were searching for a business friendly word that would
                    describe accurately the nature of the kind of
                    software development we were talking about and was
                    recognizable by who we perceived to be the ultimate decision
                    makers of the fate of anything in software:

                    the business, IT and software management
                    (The rule is: if these people don't buy <x> it dies.)

                    There were in fact many other words flying around
                    in the room: adaptable, synergistic, lightweight,
                    lean, extreme, self-organizing, etc. But we consciously
                    tried to choose a word that would make the
                    "<X> movement" with a the "<X> manifesto" successful.

                    We put different words to a vote and "agile" won
                    its way into history because in our perception, it
                    was already recognized by business and software
                    management, from the "Agile Manufacturing"
                    and "Agile Enterprise" concepts that came after BPR (business
                    process reengineering) but before "Knowledge Management",
                    and was associated with success (or at least it
                    wasn't associated with the perceived massive failures
                    of BPR, Knowledge Management, Business Intelligence,
                    etc.)

                    So as it turns out to be, we, the Agile Software Developers
                    of the world, also use the word "agile" as in:

                    Agile Organization
                    Agile Business
                    Agile Enterprise
                    Agile Manufacturing
                    Etc.

                    That's why we chose the word.

                    From a more technical perspective, Stu Kauffman argues that:

                    Coevolving systems optimize their capacity to
                    coevolve by mutually attaining the edge of chaos.

                    So that still our hope for the future:

                    _agile businesses_ that coevolve
                    with _agile development_ and _agile applications_

                    - Mike
                  • Mike Beedle
                    ... Brad: When we were at Snowbird I proposed to use the word agile to describe what we perceived to be a different kind of software development already
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jul 11, 2003
                      Brad wrote:
                      >Doug DeCarlo has a series of articles in his "A Different Drummer"
                      >column on "extreme project management" at
                      >http://www.projectconnections.com/knowhow/columns/#decarlo
                      >- I think he has some knowledge of agile methods but
                      >Thats not where he got the word 'extreme' from, and
                      >While what he writes is applicable to agile methods,
                      >it usually isn't knowingly taken from agile or XP (tho
                      >he does use the word 'agile' sometimes in the sense of
                      >agile organization/business). See also an outline at
                      ><http://vsbabu.org/mt/archives/2003/05/16/guide_to_extreme_project_mana
                      >gement.html>


                      Brad:

                      When we were at Snowbird I proposed to use the word
                      "agile" to describe what we perceived to be "a different
                      kind of software development already practiced
                      for years by some", because we were looking for a word that
                      executives and software development management _already knew_
                      and recognized but that they could associate as being
                      "people-oriented, lightweight, adaptable, self-organizing,
                      flexible, and high performance". Basically
                      we were searching for a business friendly word that would
                      describe accurately the nature of the kind of
                      software development we were talking about and was
                      recognizable by who we perceived to be the ultimate decision
                      makers of the fate of anything in software:

                      the business, IT and software management
                      (The rule is: if these people don't buy <x> it dies.)

                      There were in fact many other words flying around
                      in the room: adaptable, synergistic, lightweight,
                      lean, extreme, self-organizing, etc. But we consciously
                      tried to choose a word that would make the
                      "<X> movement" with a the "<X> manifesto" successful.

                      We put different words to a vote and "agile" won
                      its way into history because in our perception, it
                      was already recognized by business and software
                      management, from the "Agile Manufacturing"
                      and "Agile Enterprise" concepts that came after BPR (business
                      process reengineering) but before "Knowledge Management",
                      and was associated with success (or at least it
                      wasn't associated with the perceived massive failures
                      of BPR, Knowledge Management, Business Intelligence,
                      etc.)

                      So as it turns out to be, we, the Agile Software Developers
                      of the world, also use the word "agile" as in:

                      Agile Organization
                      Agile Business
                      Agile Enterprise
                      Agile Manufacturing
                      Etc.

                      That's why we chose the word.

                      From a more technical perspective, Stu Kauffman argues that:

                      Coevolving systems optimize their capacity to
                      coevolve by mutually attaining the edge of chaos.

                      So that still our hope for the future:

                      _agile businesses_ that coevolve
                      with _agile development_ and _agile applications_

                      - Mike
                    • Brad Appleton
                      ... Thanks Mike! (I actually knew that :). I was just trying to clarify where some of those other folks borrowed the use of extreme from (they all borrowed
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jul 12, 2003
                        On Sat, Jul 12, 2003 at 12:29:49AM -0500, Mike Beedle wrote:
                        > So as it turns out to be, we, the Agile Software Developers
                        > of the world, also use the word "agile" as in:
                        >
                        > Agile Organization
                        > Agile Business
                        > Agile Enterprise
                        > Agile Manufacturing
                        > Etc.
                        >
                        > That's why we chose the word.

                        Thanks Mike! (I actually knew that :). I was just trying to clarify where some of those other folks borrowed the use of 'extreme' from (they all borrowed it from something, and often even indirectly from the same underlying source. But some got it 'directly' from different sources other than agile SW methods"

                        I like "agile" myself better than most of those other alternatives (thank goodness "nimble" wasn't in the list - sorry but to me the word itself has a sound that evokes the image of a guy named "Jack" doing some rather unintelligent-sounding athletic maneuver that would unnecessarily and undesirably engage in thermodynamic heat transfer to his posterior :)

                        --
                        Brad Appleton <brad@...> www.bradapp.net
                        Software CM Patterns (www.scmpatterns.com)
                        Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration
                        "And miles to go before I sleep." -- Robert Frost
                      • castnerca
                        ... Doug s point of view/process was presented on an PMI
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jul 25, 2003
                          <Snip from Brad>
                          > Doug DeCarlo has a series of articles in his "A Different
                          > Drummer" column on "extreme project management" at
                          > http://www.projectconnections.com/knowhow/columns/#decarlo
                          > - I think he has some knowledge of agile methods but
                          > thats not where he got the word 'extreme' from, and
                          > while what he writes is applicable to agile methods,
                          > it usually isn't knowingly taken from agile or XP (tho
                          > he does use the word 'agile' sometimes in the sense of
                          > agile organization/business). See also an outline at
                          >
                          <http://vsbabu.org/mt/archives/2003/05/16/guide_to_extreme_project_man
                          agement.html>



                          Doug's point of view/process was presented on an PMI Information
                          Systems SIG Webinar yesterday. The discussion that accompanied his
                          powerpoint show showed that his thoughts, if not his descriptions,
                          are closer to what I am learning about Agile (via this users group).
                          It is a departure from the typical waterfall, lock-step that PMBOK
                          forces on traditional PMs. However, I don't think he truly "gets"
                          agileness.

                          Catherine
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