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Adaptive Project Framework: How to Implement It

Projects fail much more often than succeed. According to statistics, only 36% of projects successfully meet the requirements. Why do projects fail? There are many reasons why project managers fail to develop the right strategy and teams fail to deliver on the expectations. For example, changes in an organization’s priorities lead to failures in 39% of the cases.

As a result, businesses often are afraid to implement changes. However, the ability to change is one of the main factors that influence the growth process. Unfortunately, the traditional project management model often fails to adapt processes to the company’s goals. As a result, companies may end up adapting their goals to the processes, which is certainly the worst solution.

The modern business environment is extremely volatile so companies’ goals may change quickly. Most teams can no longer rely on traditional project management methodologies so managers adopt more flexible approaches. Adaptive Project Framework (APF), or adaptive project management, is an approach that enables project managers to take into account unexpected factors so that teams can quickly respond to the changing goals, priorities, and conditions.

What Adaptive Project Framework Is

In 2010, Robert K. Wysocki published his book Adaptive Project Framework: Managing Complexity in the Face of Uncertainty. This was a new method designed to help teams quickly adapt to the changing environment. This approach isn’t based on fixed risks, schedules, or even budgets. Project managers can continually adjust all these parameters according to the goals of the project and changes in it.

Robert K. Wysocki described his approach by using a kitchen-related metaphor. He compared the way cooks and chefs think and plan their work. Wysocki noted that, while cooks simply follow recipes, chefs can change the recipes and create new ones based on the situation. For example, if there is an ingredient missing in the kitchen, a cook may not know what to do while a chef can use their experience to come up with a changed recipe based on the available ingredients.

To implement the APF methodology successfully, it’s important to make sure that the team is willing to accept changes and to adapt to them. Besides, APF implies that the client is involved in the management process at every stage of the project. Therefore, it’s important to build trust.

We recommend that you don’t consider APF a universal approach but simply an approach that enables you to adapt. This methodology to a large extent relies on just-in-time planning. It also maximizes business value and makes the client the main decision-maker. Now let’s take a closer look at Adaptive Project Framework so that you can better understand how to implement it.

Scope of the project

Identify conditions of satisfaction

First, stakeholders should determine the conditions of satisfaction (CoS). These are project goals and the desired outcome. If you don’t know what you’re going to achieve, you won’t be able to evaluate the progress. Therefore, there’s no surprise that the lack of clear goals is one of the main factors that lead to project failures.

Write a project overview statement

The project overview statement (PoS) outlines the CoS approved by all stakeholders. The project overview statement is used to evaluate the effectiveness of processes. Although the PoS is approved by stakeholders at the very beginning, it may change when using an Adaptive Project Framework.

Given that communication is extremely important in the early stages of the project lifecycle, you may consider writing a comprehensive project overview statement that will provide all the necessary information and address possible concerns. In this case, you will need a good writer. Fortunately, you can always find writers with the necessary experience on dissertation writing services.

Prioritize requirements

At this stage, project managers and stakeholders collaborate to define the overall scope of the project and to decide in which order it will be implemented. Usually, requirements are organized into weighted designations that have numerical values.

Although stakeholders are involved in this process, project managers and analysts are responsible for making sure that the priorities are assigned realistically. For example, stakeholders may consider all requirements critical. To avoid such a situation, it’s important to evaluate the consequences of not meeting these requirements for the business. It’s also important to clearly indicate the reasons why certain requirements cannot wait until the next release.

Develop a work breakdown structure

A work breakdown structure breaks down processes into manageable parts. Therefore, it enables teams to estimate costs and to develop a schedule. Creating a work breakdown structure may look like a difficult task, but you can find various applications and templates that will make it much easier.

Prioritize the Scope Triangle

The Scope Triangle reflects the quality constraints of the project. All the limitations can be classified as adaptable, inflexible, or trade-off-possible. Adaptable limitations are somewhat flexible but require optimization. Limitations with possible trade-offs enable you to compensate for other limitations. 

The cycle schedule

The project is broken down into cycles, or iterations, which are basically mini-projects on their own. Every cycle should provide one or more deliverables, and teams should carefully plan cycles to make them both manageable and effective. Individual tasks should be defined and scheduled according to the work breakdown structure. Project managers must identify interdependencies, define the deadlines, and assign employees.

Completing cycles

As the team works on the project, cycles can be adjusted. When the pre-defined time elapses, the cycle ends, and all the tasks that hadn’t been completed during this cycle move to the next one. It’s important to ensure clear communication, noting any requests for change and new ideas for improvement. When the team encounters any unexpected problems, they should also be addressed in the next cycle.

The client checkpoint

This is a very important part of the Adaptive Project Framework. At this stage, the team should check in with the client to evaluate the outcome of the cycle. The client should evaluate the quality of the results and make corrections to the next cycle. Obviously, this step also requires collaboration between the client and the team. After this stage, the process repeats over and over again until the project is completed or until there is no budget left.

The final report

When the project is completed, the project management, client, and team must evaluate the overall success of the project. At this stage, they should determine whether or not the team managed to achieve the project goals. It also makes sense to take notes so that teams can learn from their experience and use this knowledge in the future.

Final Thoughts

Adaptive Project Framework is a very effective method that enables teams to forget about the limitations of traditional project management approaches. Similarly to the traditional models, APF also includes scoping and planning phases. However, an adaptive framework allows for effective collaboration between teams and stakeholders. This way, they can adapt the project to the changing environment and quickly react to unforeseen challenges.

APF is a flexible approach. When used correctly, it can also help companies minimize expenses and maximize the value proposition. Nevertheless, you should keep in mind that every project is unique, and APF cannot be called a universal approach that will fit projects of all kinds. With that said, if you’re looking for flexibility, APF is certainly the right choice.


Frank Hamilton has been working as an editor at custom research paper and an author at service, where you can pay someone to write my paper. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again

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