Author: Alexey Krivitsky
"The project is a success. The product is not suitable for use."
A real quote stated on one project post-mortem.
Nothing has made more damage to our industry than the notion of ... projects.
Projects make you think of delivering on time, on budget, on scope and sometimes also on quality. That's not so bad if you think of that.
But as Allan Kelly explains in his video, these faked and proxy success criteria are taking our attention away from what really matters - value delivered - and eventually money made or saved.
See the full video series.
In general projects are neither good, nor bad. It is a very powerful mental concept. If you are a subcontractor, thinking within a project paradigm can help you make the right trade-offs and deliver what you are contracted to deliver.
Still, there can't be anything more harmful to a product organization than running its product development with projects.
Simply because a project (by the definition) is much more short-term oriented than any product lifecycle. In another words the visible horizon of a project limits you from seeing beyond. And of course that impacts the way you'll behave and make decisions.
Collecting technical debt, ignoring quality problems, not investing enough into experimentation and innovations, focusing on finishing what has been planned within a deadline rather than creatively looking for better options - these are some examples of side-effects of project thinking.
Of course no one thinks collecting technical debt or other listed outcomes of local optimization are the right ones to do. But being captured within a project box, you'll be
inclined to optimize for the sake of project's objectives (project bonus, scope, time, budget, measurable quality) rather than for the product success.
Product success is also harder to measure because of its long-term playing effects. But does it mean we need to look for the lost keys under a street lamp, even if we've lost them in the bushes?
#NoProjects is a way to say 'yes' to your products.
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