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Executive's Guide to Project Management: Organizational Processes and Practices for Supporting Complex Projects by Robert K. Wysocki

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Extreme Project Management

The third project type are those projects whose solution and goal are not known or not clearly defined. Here you are in the world of pure research and development, new product development, and process improvement projects. These are high-risk, high-change projects. In many cases they are also high-speed projects. Failure rates are often very high.

When so little is known about the goal and solution one might be concerned about how to approach such projects. What tools, templates, and processes will work in these cases? Will any of them work? This can be a high anxiety time for all but the most courageous, risk-taking, flexible, and creative project teams. Very heavy client involvement is essential. When you are venturing into the great unknown you won't get very far unless the subject matter expert is on your team. At the same time the generalist will help keep your options open. Both the generalist and the specialist are critical members of the extreme project team.

What do you do if what is needed is not clearly defined? What if it isn't defined at all? Many have tried to force fit the traditional approach into these situations and it flat out doesn't work. Extreme Project Management (xPM) is designed to handle projects whose goal can only be fuzzily defined or really not defined at all. Building a business-to-business (B2B) Web site with no further specification is an excellent example. Much like the early stages of an R&D project, building the B2B ...

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