Project Defibrillation

Imagine your father is in surgery for a routine tonsillectomy.  Something goes wrong with the anesthesia and his heart goes nuts.  The defibrillator is brought out, the paddles applied to your father’s chest and the surgeon yells “CLEAR!”.  He triggers the defibrillator, but nothing happens, just a small clicking noise.  He quickly checks the machine, and everything looks okay.  He tries again.  “CLEAR!”  There’s a small buzzing noise and your father’s body trembles slightly.  The surgeon puts the paddles down, and, getting frantic, yells at the nurses to find another defib machine, “NOW!!!”.  Thirty agonizing seconds pass.  One of the nurses rushes into O.R. with a cart with another defibrillator machine on it.  It gets set up.  Another fifteen seconds pass.  It charges and the surgeon applies it again.  “CLEAR!”  There’s a huge shock and your father is killed instantly.  It takes a few more minutes for him to be officially pronounced dead.

Is this how projects are run in your organization?

If this had been a description of a real event, you would be furious.  You would demand that the defibrillators work better – one hundred percent of the time would be about right!  You would sue the hospital for buying shoddy defibrillators.  You would sue the company that made them.  You would sue the surgeon.

Let’s stop running projects this way.  Agile is a reliable defibrillator for your organization’s heart.

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3 thoughts on “Project Defibrillation

  1. Could you clarify this a bit? This is a bit of a tortured analogy, and I’m unclear what my organization would be using as a new defibrillator.

    The patient is my project, and the failing defibrillator was… waterfall? So switching to Agile killed the project? This seems too clever by half.

  2. The failing defibrillators are all traditional project management – sometimes not strong enough, sometimes too strong. Agile would be a working defib.

  3. Pingback: Quick Reference: Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model | Agile Advice - Working With Agile Methods (Scrum, OpenAgile, Lean)

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