An older article, very well worth reading from Alistair Cockburn.
Must read for Methodologists and Process Designers.
Cockburn found out after research:
- Almost any methodology can be made to work on some project.
- Any methodology can manage to fail on some project.
- Heavy processes can be successful.
- Light processes are more often successful, and more importantly, the people on those projects credit the success to the lightness of the methodology.
Cockburns conclusion is: people’s characteristics are a first-order success driver of projects!
(and I agree with him, I always say that good people can make any methodology on any project a success (even though you need some critical mass to get things working).
Cockburn states that People, as active devices, have success modes and failure modes. The following are the main ones he named and used to date:
- People are communicating beings, doing best face-to-face, in person, with real-time question and answer.
- People have trouble acting consistently over time.
- People are highly variable, varying from day to day and place to place.
- People generally want to be good citizens, are good at looking around, taking initiative, and doing “whatever is needed” to get the project to work.
In the article, Cockburn elaborates on these issues.