The path of peace and the path of war in IT projects

    I worked as an IT project manager since 2006, and now I am a manager of the Dinabot startup project. During this time, I saw many successes, but even more saw failures. These failures, in my opinion, are often associated not only with the technologies used, but with the narrow picture of the world of leaders. And I would like more project managers to be able to rise above technology and, thus, make better decisions.

    Today we are drunk Agile! Whoever is not drunk will be drunk tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. And that's great!

    Here is a photo from my last project, which was managed according to Agile principles:


    Agile sounds so fabulous that some are scared to use it! It turns out that using Agile is not as easy as it is written. But, anyway, we will use it, since there is no getting away from the trend. After all, customers get drunk and force us to use Agile IT. We will use it despite the failures, blaming that we are doing something wrong, adjusting our technologies, changing people. Unfortunately, it is often blindly used ...

    As after drinking, sometimes it becomes bad, and after some such Agile projects, someone is not at all fun. Systems not implemented, money spent, people tired.

    No pills for all diseases. There are no universal values. Therefore, you need to expand your picture of the world and apply different strategies and tactics depending on the situation.

    Agile carries: openness, trust, cooperation, flexibility. This is the path of "peace" on the project! And what is the Waterfall? Until the path of “peace” appeared, it was hard to understand. The waterfall was almost the only right way. But now it’s clear, Waterfall is the path of “war”! “When everyone in the Celestial Empire finds out that the beautiful is beautiful, the ugly also appears. When everyone finds out that good is good, evil also arises. Therefore, being and non-being give birth to each other, hard and easy create each other, long and short are mutually related, high and low are mutually determined, sounds merging come into harmony, the previous and the next follow each other. ”(Lao Tzu. Tao de Ching). Without the concept of war, we don’t understand the world, because known: "If you want peace - get ready for war."

    There is an enemy in this war - this is the current organizational and technical system of the Customer. I will not explain what it is, read the old Soviet GOST (about ACS), but this is not just software! The more complete and effective this system, the more it will resist, the more difficult it is to defeat it, the more allies it will have. This system resists the changes that threaten its life. People are its soldiers, they are not individually to blame for the war. This is not a war between the contractor and the customer, as on the customer side there are also proponents of change, otherwise this war is pointless. Unlike territorial wars, the enemy in the IT war is not so clearly visible, the commander of the enemy is not clearly defined, people and resources are not so rigidly distributed between the parties. But just this war is insidious!

    In this war, there is a goal - to defeat the enemy and restore a new order on its territory using the new system.

    In this war there is a battlefield (territory) - these are the processes, organizational structures, information flows that are to be automated, changed during implementation.

    There is intelligence in this war - it starts from the survey stage and includes constant interaction with the customer, transferring the supporters of the old system to their side.

    There is a defense in this war - these are the results of the first stages of the Waterfall that precede implementation - agreements, charters, project management plans that serve to protect the project from the destructive influence of the enemy, to protect the team in the event of a retreat.

    In this war there is attack and battle - this is the process of implementation, with local victories and defeats, offensives and withdrawals.

    There is a strategy in this war, there are tactics and maneuvers, there is politics and negotiations.

    And what with the advent of Agile has it all disappeared? No more enemy? Will we live in peace, in peace, in joy and openness, to develop and implement information systems? NOT!!!

    “When the government is calm, people become simple-minded. When the government is active, the people become miserable. Oh misfortune! It is the pillar of happiness. Oh happiness!

    It is unhappiness. Who knows their boundaries? They do not have constancy. Justice turns into cunning again, good into evil. ”(Lao Tzu. Tao de Jing)

    Previously, we did not comprehend the Waterfall, because there was no agile. We fought, not knowing what we were fighting for. Therefore, we tried to show friendship and failed projects, reproached ourselves and became tougher. Now that Agile values ​​have arrived, we can not only use them. But also to re-realize the values ​​of the Waterfall. The waterfall will not die, but will become stronger, sharper, more defined. Agile gives us the opportunity to strengthen the military art of the Waterfall, as exposes it.

    A military approach to the project gives the project manager a new vision, he feels himself a Commander, he sees not just the IT system (software + infrastructure), but he examines the battlefield more widely: he sees the enemy, he sees soldiers (his own and others), he thinks about possible victims (risks), strategies and tactics, and this vision is more systemic, integrated, rather than patchwork. “The commander is slow because he does not see victory. In order to see a victory, one must look at it without fuss. To look not at decisions, but at a picture of the world. The solution will be seen by itself. The correct decision obtained by looking at the picture of the world is obvious in its correctness. It causes no doubt, but only surprise: and how I had not seen it before ”(Vladimir Tarasov. The art of managerial struggle).

    The military approach makes the project manager possess more knowledge, experience and tools than project methodologies usually provide. If, before starting a project, it’s understood that there will be a war in it, if it is understood that there is an enemy and it is necessary to use the path of war, then the path of peace opens and you can win the war as Sun Tzu said: “Therefore, one who knows how to wage war conquers a foreign army without fighting; takes foreign fortresses without besieging; afflicts a foreign state without holding his army for long. He necessarily preserves everything intact and thereby disputes the power in the Middle Kingdom. Therefore, it is possible to have a profit without blunting a weapon: this is the rule of strategic attack ”(Sun Tzu. The Art of War).

    Anyone who does not know how to conduct this war turns the project into a meat grinder! Regardless of the Agile technology or Waterfall they use.

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