Hybrid Planning

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Time
3 hours 55 minutes
Difficulty
Intermediate
CEU/CPE
4
Video Transcription
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>> Hello and welcome to Lesson 4.2, hybrid planning.
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As we discussed in Lesson 4.1,
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we did a pretty good job outlining
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the basic structure for an pure Agile project,
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and now we're going to talk about what
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a hybrid project would look
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like, and why we would do a hybrid project.
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I'm your Instructor Cane,
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and we will go ahead and get started.
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Why do we do hybrid planning?
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Well, first of all, it's very
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common for modern government projects,
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and the reason why that is is for two reasons.
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One, the government, which of course is
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typically one of the slower ones to catch up,
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does realize that Agile is really
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>> the wave of the future,
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>> at least for technical projects, IT projects.
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When I was working for
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the statewide technology office for
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>> the state of Florida,
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>> one of my roles was overseeing all
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of the other state agencies and their projects,
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and you can definitely see the trend where they were
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trying to get Agile.
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We were actually trying to push
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Agile as a viable alternative,
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but the documentation and
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the regulations that typically exist within
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government agencies really put a crimp
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on the idea of a purely Agile project.
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The biggest reason why that is is because of
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the way that government does their procurements.
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In the state of Florida,
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they're called legislative budget requests,
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but they're basically the same
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whether it's federal or state government.
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You have to go and ask for the money.
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You're not given a budget every
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year that allows you to
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internally fund some of your big projects.
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Your technical rewrites,
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system replacements, and whatnot,
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they have to get special funding,
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usually depending on the state
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and had to be renewed every year and so on.
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There's a huge amount of documentation that
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has to go in to asking for the money.
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Unfortunately, well, as a taxpayer,
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I'm pretty happy about this.
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But trust me, it's not like
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a real viable way to get money from the government.
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If you go in there, and say I want to do
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this really cool technology thing,
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I've done very little planning.
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I have no idea how it's going to end up turning out,
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but we're going to respond to change.
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It's going to be awesome go Agile.
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They're probably going to tell you no.
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In addition to getting the money,
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actually executing contracts,
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and this is the same for bigger companies as well,
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the procurement part of it.
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If it's not in the contract, lawyers get nervous.
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That goes back to that trust me thing.
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If you're not internally funding the project,
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if you're not using internal resources,
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and you're having to go out and do procurements,
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the more planning you can do on the front end,
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the happier all of the business folks and
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the lawyers, and all
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that kind of stuff because it's going to be,
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and some things have to be in the contract
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in order for it to be legally enforceable.
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In hybrid planning, the planning phase usually looks
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an awful lot like waterfall as
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far as you're doing your requirements gathering,
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you're documenting them, and
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you're not quite going
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to the work breakdown structure level,
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but you're trying to get a lot
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more detailed planning than what would
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occur in a Agile projects.
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You are doing requirements gathering,
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you are documenting, you're
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looking at high-level budgets,
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high-level timelines,
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how long is this stuff going to take,
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how much effort am I going to have to put in there.
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The idea being that once
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we get into the project execution,
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if we've got good, solid,
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legally enforceable in the case of
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a contract high-level requirements,
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then I can use progressive elaboration,
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>> and actually get
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>> to where I'm executing as Agile as possible.
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We've talked a little bit about
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the requirements process in my previous class.
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I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it,
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but it's the ends versus the means.
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What that means is that the ends are the project goals.
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Why are we doing this? What is the goal?
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The means is the how we're going to get to it.
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When you're designing requirements,
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you want to make sure that they're aligned
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with the end goals of the project,
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that there is a direct traceability to
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what goal this is going to support.
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That's important both from
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a contract and procurement standpoint
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as well as any regulatory or legislative standpoint.
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The good thing about that is that we spend
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some time doing that we understand what we're doing.
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We understand why we're fixing to spend a lot of
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the taxpayers money on something that's going to
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hopefully benefit them ultimately.
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However, there is
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a little bit more risk in these types of
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hybrid projects because if a major scope change occurs,
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then you've legislated yourself
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or regulated yourself into not
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being able to be purely
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Agile and actually change drastically.
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What I mean by that is
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there's an idea of what's called sunk cost.
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In a purely Agile organization,
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every new dollar that you're going
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>> to spend on something,
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>> you need to think of that as
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though it was the first time that you were going to
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spend that money so that you don't get
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into the situation where you're designing.
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Let's say, I'll use
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cars as an example because this is a pretty good one.
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If you're halfway in the middle of
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a heavy-duty hydrogen-powered car project,
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>> and you spent
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>> $50 billion and all of a sudden somebody makes
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a breakthrough in electric-powered cars
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where they can go 1,000 miles on a charge,
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they charge in five minutes,
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they cost next to nothing.
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I'm obviously being overly dramatic for effect.
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But in essence, those
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billions of dollars, they're gone, they're wasted.
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No one's going to buy a hydrogen-powered car
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if someone finally cracks
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the code on electric-powered cars.
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The smart thing to do,
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the non-emotional thing to do, is just stop.
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Stop everything, change the requirements,
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go back to square one, cancel the project,
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whatever, and then adjust to
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that new major scope change
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to reach your organizational objectives.
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The problem with hybrid projects is if it's big enough,
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it can break the project,
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especially again when you're
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in the government space where
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you've promised to deliver
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something that may mean all of a
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sudden is no longer even needed
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by the people that are your customers.
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You do want to do planning,
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you want to try to stay as flexible as possible,
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and the goal being that you can adjust to as
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many changes in the world as they occur.
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Keep in mind, two most government projects
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are multiyear projects.
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You're asking for money in year 1,
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you're not even going to start working until
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year 3 and you might not deliver it till year 5 or 7.
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There's a lot longer timeframe versus
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a internally-funded private sector type project.
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However, it does mitigate some
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of the risks as opposed to pure Agile.
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These are the risks that are at
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the business level because again technology changes,
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we don't necessarily really care,
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we can adjust accordingly.
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But by having a more elaborated planning cycle,
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you can get more business owner buy-in,
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and at least at the high level you've got some cover,
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if you will, in the event that
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things go wrong and have to be adjusted.
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One of the things that I've noticed, again,
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within government because that's really what I've
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been working the last couple of years.
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But it's a really good baby step
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if you're a traditional project manager,
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if you're in a traditional
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project management organization
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or a government agency or whatever and we say,
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look, we are not going to wait
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three years to deliver this new system.
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We're going to take our time planning it,
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we're going make sure you are
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comfortable with the requirements,
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we're going to have a pretty good idea
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how much it's going to cost
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and how long it's going to take,
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but we're not going to tie our hands with
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the details of
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every little work breakdown structure item.
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We're going to gather those requirements,
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prioritize them, list them out,
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and then execute according to
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Agile methodology so that we can bring something
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to production sooner than three years and actually gain
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some value for this investment that we're doing.
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Then ideally, after a couple
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of iterations of a hybrid project,
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then you can make the pitch to
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the people with the money to say, okay,
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now we want to continue to build on this success and
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actually move into full-blown Agile methodology.
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Here's a little interesting cartoon
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that I thought was pretty funny,
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and who doesn't love Dilbert?
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The bad rep that Agile gets.
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The reason why a lot of folks in the government and
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in the large sector or the
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large-cap companies sector shy
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away from it is because it does have reputation
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of being the wild west of
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all these programmers running
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around, doing whatever they want.
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They're not. We don't have documentation on anything.
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We can't see. We don't sign off on anything.
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That's where, like I said in the previous video,
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the project charter becomes really important as well.
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It gives them a warm and fuzzy,
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let them know that we're not just doing like
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they're doing here in this Dilbert cartoon,
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just shooting from the hip on this whole thing.
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We actually do have a strategy in place.
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In today's video, we discussed
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hybrid planning, and I will see you on the next video.
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