2 April 2009

A wak in the fog

Rodney Turner put together a simple taxonomy of projects, based upon two questions;
  • Do you know what you want?
  • Do you know how you'll get there?
From these two questions you get one of four typs of projects;
  • Painting by numbers
  • Making a movie
  • A Quest
  • A walk in the fog
The skills and practices of project management (whatever flavour) is most suited to the Making a movie and Quest modes.

Painting by numbers is regarded as fairly simple and potentialy you can get away with just plain old common sense.

A walk in the fog is a metaphor for someone who is lost.  In this case traditional project management can help you get to your unknown destination quicker, but you might not actually want to get there.  The agile/iterative approach may be a better bet in these cases, as you shrink the steps and thus the risk of heading in the wrong direction.

Which quadrant does your project fall into?  Where do you want to be?

What do you need to get there?


  1. My current project falls into making a movie category which is pretty new situation for me. It was always clear what mid- and long-term goals for the project are and now it's a bit vague.

    Anyway I find the situation refreshing since we have to be very open minded and look for new opportunities all the time.

  2. Anonymous1:02 am

    I'd suggest "A Walk In the Fog" project is well suited to Agile. Traditional project management processes need some end point to aim for. The path may be unknown, but the destimation is.

  3. I'm with you on that Glen.

  4. Pawel

    I have been amazed at how well good process execution can deliver good results in that quadrant.

    In particular a strong focus on the planning and management of goal setting, requirements and people change management.

    There is a bit of 'marketing' of what you CAN do, as opposed to a customer led drive towards their optimal goal.

    This is possibly different to agile/iterative requirements build up as you are applying a structured process to achive a defined goal up front.

    If instead you are applying the requirements process iteratively then - well, that's an agile approach and can also yield positive results.