What does playing different types of Basses have in common with Critical Path, Agile and Critical Chain Project Methodologies?
Different Basses: Methodologies for Project Development
Just like different types of basses have different purposes, different project development methods serve different purposes.
When you’re playing the bass, you learn the mechanics, the styles, and the functions of the instrument and the sound. The German full-bodied upright, the electric upright, and the bass guitar all have that depth of sound that's signature to the instrument. Each one is meant for a different purpose, but they all serve the same general purpose of music. In this way, projects and project methodologies are similar to the bass.
When you drive down the highway, you see people merging from various roads and even other highways to join you. If all of you were going to the same place, this merging of paths to one destination would be an example of the Critical Path Methodology. This process consists of merging projects where the longest line of connected activities creates the critical path. Complex projects that have to be planned out begin with an assessment of the needs and purposes of the project, planning the steps, developing the bridge, deploying the paths and then opening the bridge to arrive at your destination.
This is the process most frequently used by software developers. It is ideal for the customer because they are directly involved in the development process. Unlike Critical Path, where the process must be completed before the customer can test the software, the Agile methodology allows them to see the benefit of the process every step of the way. The steps in this process are called “Sprints,” each one lasting from 2-3 weeks. After Sprint 1, the customer has basic functionality for software that is a minimal viable product. They can start using the developed software right away while the team continues to expand it, adding new functionality during each of the subsequent Sprints.
Critical Chain Project Management
When you drive to the airport, you might “guesstimate” based on the distance of your travel that it should take 30 minutes to arrive. But accounting for traffic will most likely extend your travel time to an hour and a half. This is a great example of the two factors to consider every step of the way in the CCPM methodology. They are called “aggressive but possible,” and “highly probable.” Developed by Eliyahu Goldratt, this style differs from the Critical Path and Agile methodologies in that it requires that resources be flexible early on. While these stages include time for events that are “highly probable,” all the slack is built in at the back end. This means that solutions are delivered at each phase, but you have an insurance policy of buffer time. Resources are being collected and distributed in chronological order. Multitasking is not permitted in this methodology.
These are the three main project methodologies software developers use to complete projects for clients. Their application serves the same purpose, but the ways they arrive at project conclusion differ greatly. Selecting the right methodology for your project is paramount for a successful journey and destination.
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