Projects don’t really exist; they’re a mental model, not an actual thing. We invented projects so that we can talk about a nebulous stream of work as if they were single blocks of time and effort. There are no projects; there are only products. The key is to pare down. Organize projects around an initial set of features that can deliver measurable value, followed by “waves” of small, measurable enhancements. 15 signs you’re doing agile wrong, Steven A. Lowe, InfoWorld, May 26, 2016.
There are no projects? That is like saying there is no management or no leadership. Projects are how people interact. We can’t accomplish much without the people, or the project. The product is the output of that interaction. I’ve seen wave after wave of products that were delivered late and buggy that were then transformed into wave after wave of products delivered on time with increases in quality. What changed was what the people did. The product was just another new version of the software or just another new gizmo in a box. Sometimes it was done using a waterfall style approach and sometimes it was done in an incremental style. Those styles and those people produced those products.
While I’m intrigued by the notion that a project doesn’t exist I’m still in the camp that the project, how people have agreed to do something, is in fact just as substantial as the product or service we produce. Evidence of this is when changing the project and using the same people and the same kind of products the quality and quantity of the product changed dramatically. If the project didn’t exist, what did we change that had as big and as concrete an impact as changing the hardware in our product?
For more see Yes Virginia, There Is A Project Management Plan
Is your project as well defined as your product?