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 Toolkit Commitment  Toolkit Commitment   Project Disengagement   Project Disengagement

Governance   »   Commitments   »   Commitment Failure

We have looked at Governance, readiness, how readiness links to the Commitment process, how we assign and maintain the owner to the Commitment, the fourteen Commitments and the Statement and Response for each of the Commitments. For now let us examine what happens when that Commitment fails to appear, fails to operate successfully or is casually or purposefully removed from our project or ignored by our project personnel.

Without exception a base premise of your project is that the business, technical and other project Commitments are adhered to. It is of paramount importance that your project is setup appropriately before it gets underway and especially before it starts to burn real cash. The Big Agile Toolkit provides this governance for your project and provides an administration mechanism to enact if your project fails to support the Commitments fully. A major factor during the administration of this governance is that any failure to comply with the Commitments triggers disengagement of all resources from the project. In simple terms it stops. In practise it does not actually halt immediately. There is a short sweet and pertinent administration process your project will carry out to handle that specific scenario too. But more of this later.

It may seem a little harsh to disengage a project for what appears to be an apparently inconsequential break in one of the administration directives. However, we need to look at this a little further. Waterfall projects, for years, have suffered countless internal collapses and interruptions which eventually get debated, bargained, resolved or conceded. But not all do. Many generate disputes, argument, lengthy futile debate that develops into blame, counter blame, conflict and most important of all: delays that cause wasted effort and wasted investment in the project. Now, unnecessary debate and blame will never be completely removed from any venture. However, we feel that with this guidance and control you create an established governance with established procedures and commitments. Importantly, you also create an agreement to run within the parameters of this guidance and control. The governance still allows, in fact promotes, the independence of the team but gives them a flexible wireframe in which they and their colleagues have a role and a responsibility. This concept is enshrined in the Commitments.

Failure to maintain the project Commitments indicates a lack of backing and support and a failure of the corporate sponsorship from one or more key stakeholders. The project was established to deliver a set of agreed benefits and this failure is evidence of a malfunction in the organisation which puts the realisation of these desired benefits under threat. If the benefits are no longer valid or required by the organisation, then this contravenes the Success measurement Commitment. You cannot measure success simply by delivering to budget. Where your project continues to pursue benefits that are no longer valid or are no longer required by the organisation, your project will be burning valuable resources in the pursuit of unachievable outcomes. That is not good use of hard earned cash. Your project must deliver some realisable benefits to the organisation in return for the valuable resources invested in it. If the project looks like it will not, then it is time to push the emergency button.

The Big Agile Toolkit recognises that the ideals of a textbook setup and a flawless operation are not always accessible. Project successes improve with appropriate governance and experience. In these circumstances an organisation will begin to experience less and less project failures and more and more return on their project investment. Certainly this occurs where the processes are localised, fit for purpose, understood and already tested on previous projects. As the process is used more and more, a welcome period of increasing returns and decreasing costs takes over as well as a handsome set of historic project RAG status reports. These precious deliverables will demonstrate the progress of the organisation to improve its project delivery processes and demonstrate a sequence of improving project statistics.

However, as all experienced project crusaders will recognise, even with the best efforts of the project, sometimes the proverbial wheels start to fall off the project. Sometimes they are purposefully taken off by unwilling or ignorant detractors within your organisation. Whatever, this fracture will begin to slow the project down. The Big Agile Toolkit has mechanisms to monitor this possibility, processes to recognise this event and the all important methods to deal with it when it occurs. Here we get into the seedy sleazy shady world of project disengagement. Although this significant event may occur on your project at some point and liberal scenes of wanton damage begin to appear all around you, do not worry. This is a humane approach. No managers are harmed during the process of project disengagement. So let us look at it in more detail.


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Commitment Failure


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