Wednesday 2 February 2022

Adaptive Project Framework Model

Adaptive Project Framework (APF) complements the "line" of project models and methodologies that work in conditions of frequent changes in starting tasks to the needs of the consumer already during the project. Together with Agile, Kanban, Scrum and other management models and approaches, the Adaptive Project Framework is part of the family of so-called "agile" management. In this sense, APF, together with other varieties of "flexible" management, opposes traditional sequential management and can be implemented as a structural framework together with the tools of variable and process management.

Scope of APF

The variety of modern design practices makes it possible to choose them according to the principle of expediency, depending on:

  • the scope of the company's activities,
  • certainty of requirements,
  • basic availability of resources,
  • qualitative risk analysis, etc.

APF as part of "agile" management began to take shape in the early 21st century in the United States as a response to the managerial difficulties that arose in the IT industry when conducting projects. Most of these projects did not have clearly defined familiar requirements at the initial stage. They had to be formulated during the process, focusing on feedback from consumers (customers), who adjusted the course of product creation with their preferences. At the initial stage of APF, only strategic requirements were formed with a general description of the capabilities and functionality. And the adjustment of intermediate results with the addition of new product value occurred after each iteration (stage).

This approach has manifested itself especially well not only in the IT industry, but also in diversified projects designed for a small procedural scale and carried out in conditions of a limited resource base (financial, human, material, etc. resources). The adaptive management model is also used on those projects where it is necessary to quickly test the prospects of a new direction of activity without building a complex system of relations for this uncertain perspective.

In USA, the involvement of the experience of the project approach was initially focused on long-term and large-scale projects, so the models and methodologies of the standard (traditional) family were the first to "come", as well as new project practices that were more suitable for structures with an established hierarchy of functional units (departments responsible for their own segment of work). Common features of such methodologies were:

  • clear guidelines,
  • careful planning,
  • mandatory document flow, accompanying the process, with the involvement of different departments,
  • clear regulation of all requirements, assumptions, restrictions,
  • detailed calculation of calendar schedules and costs,
  • response measures in case of unfavorable and favorable development of events, etc.
  • Such a thorough approach is justified when it is necessary to guarantee a balance between quality, cost and timing with minimal risks and in coordination with a variety of stakeholders (sponsors, consumers, managers and performers, subcontractors). But the same approach is maladaptive on smaller-scale projects with limited resources in activities aimed at creating an entirely new product. Expediency has generated a demand for adaptive models with iterative approaches aimed at creating relevant value for the client in a changing environment and with limited time and money.

APF Principles

APFAs part of a family of "agile" governance, the APF model focuses on the same principles that were articulated in the Agile manifesto in 2001. In these value orientations:

people and their interaction came first, and only processes and tools came second.
the working product was ahead of the importance of scrupulous documentation of processes,
live cooperation was more important than clear regulation of interactions under the terms of the contract,

the willingness to change was more important than the original plan.

Such principles described a single way of functioning in the real conditions of the software development industry, but they are easy to apply in industries similar in typological characteristics to the IT industry. These conditions include:

  • dynamically developing environment and, as a result, rapidly changing conditions,
  • lack of a clear understanding of the final format of the product, which happens in the case of the production of something completely new or when transferring the proven format to new conditions,
  • limited material and resource base, which is often replenished by the course of the process itself,
  • limited time, because of which the intermediate conditionally completed result is issued at the end of each procedural-time period, into which the whole process is divided,
  • the absence of a rigid dependence between the stages, so that it is possible to conduct parallel work on individual segments of a large project, connecting them when handing over all the material.

All these features are characteristic of the organization of small and medium-sized businesses that seek to adapt the result of their work to each customer. Moreover, examples of an adaptive approach are easy to find not only in the field of software creation, but also in projects:

  • advertising agencies,
  • consulting firms,
  • design and engineering companies,
  • repair shops,
  • activities of research laboratories.

Adaptive management, for example, includes a common project for the introduction of an additional service - "coffee on the road" - in a grocery store, if the process has the following characteristic manifestations:

  • The entrepreneur provides constant feedback to consumers by standing behind the counter or next to the seller.
  • The entrepreneur does not buy dozens of varieties of coffee at once, assuming many options for its preparation, but is limited to 2-3 popular varieties and 2-3 types of preparation. This reduces the start-up costs of the purchase and allows you to assess the preferences of consumers. The money received from the first sales is returned to the business to maintain a promising trend.
  • The entrepreneur does not immediately spend money on the concept of an enterprise with a corporate identity, but looks at the reaction of visitors. If the seller's dressing up in branded clothing options increases the "cash register", then this trend is worked out in the next iteration. If this factor does not play a role, as shown by statistics at the end of the allotted period, then the entrepreneur abandons this form of innovation in the next period.
  • In parallel, several independent innovations are being tested, the results of which do not affect each other. As a rule, there are no more than 2-3 such innovations in one iteration.

If conditions change, so do the approach options. For example, with the change of seasons in the summer, the demand for coffee with ice cream increases or when students return from the summer holidays to the neighboring hostel, the taste preferences of the average consumer change, etc.
From the example it can be seen that the adaptive process is not an arbitrary process - there is an internal regulatory logic and structure in it, the conditions for adjustment operate. Adaptive management has the form and methods of management that give the system the ability to change the parameters, structure of the control subsystem and regulator, depending on the transformation of the internal parameters of the object or external perturbations, as well as on changes in strategic goals.Adaptive control

Actual Change Management

In the standard APF model, actual change management manifests itself in the following forms common to any industry:

  • Schedule adjustments. Depending on the properties of the process, the duration of the project stages increases or decreases.
  • Change of priorities. Here, the plan of unfinished work changes depending on the results of the analysis of the previous stages.
  • Reallocation of resources. In the absence of their own specialists, people with the necessary professional skills from the outside are involved. They can work either at one stage of the project (for example, to accelerate if deadlines are not met), or on an ongoing basis.

Close cooperation with the customer. (At the customer's site, there may be a consumer or a project sponsor). With such cooperation and interaction, inconsistencies are identified and corrected in a timely manner, and the result is adjusted to expectations.

No paperwork. Costs and time for processing redundant documentation (acts of disagreement, requests for changes, additions to the contract, etc.) are reduced. The expected changes immediately during the development of the project do not imply alterations after the completion of the entire project, since all valuable changes are made during the implementation.

Excessive neglect of planning is also considered a weakness of adaptive management, since it leads to unexpected risks, and sometimes to lost profits. The second vulnerability is considered to be neglect of documentation, which in an environment where documents become the basis of civil law relations, is a disadvantage. In addition, adaptive management can conflict with social arrangements and public opinion (for example, when circumstances require an entrepreneur to conduct mass layoffs). Finally, another weakness of APF is the high dependence on the human factor and the degree of preparation of human capital.

Adaptive management is based on "flexible" compensatory regulation and management of internal contradictions.

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