Project Lifecycles
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Project Lifecycles

How to Reduce Risks, Release Successful Products, and Increase Agility

About the Book

Does your agile project feel like a death march, with immovable deadlines, long backlogs, and no time to do the work right? If so, you're not alone. Fake agility has your project by the throat and won't let go. 

You don't have to work like this. Instead, you can design your approach to manage the project, product, and organizational risks. 

Neither a waterfall nor an agile approach fits all projects in all organizations. Given your risks, use your culture to create as much agility as possible. You can design your project lifecycle and deliver what your customers need. 

This book will help you learn how to:

  • Assess your project, product, and organization risks that affect how you can choose to work.  
  • Determine which feedback loops and decisions your project and product need for success.
  • Recognize an agile team culture and characteristics. 
  • When to consider which lifecycle.
  • How to design a lifecycle that works for you in this project, with this team, for this product, with as much agility as possible.

Don't settle for fake agility and a joyless workplace. Buy this book now to incorporate real agility into your work. 

About the Author

Johanna Rothman
Johanna Rothman

Johanna Rothman, known as the “Pragmatic Manager,” offers frank advice for your tough problems. She helps leaders and teams do reasonable things that work. Equipped with that knowledge, they can then decide how to adapt their product development.

With her trademark practicality and humor, Johanna is the author of 20 books and hundreds of articles. Find the Pragmatic Manager, a monthly email newsletter, and her blogs at and

She is the author of these books:

In addition, she is a contributor to:

For fiction:


The Book
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  • English

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Table of Contents

    • Praise Quotes
    • Acknowledgments
    • Preface
    • 1The Shameful Secret: Fake Agility is the Norm
      • 1.1Visualize a Successful Agile Team Culture
      • 1.2Visualize a Successful Agile Product Culture
      • 1.3Resource Efficiency Creates an Anti-Agility Culture
      • 1.4Flow Efficiency Creates an Agile Culture
      • 1.5Design Your Work to Take Advantage of Agility
      • 1.6Recognize and Avoid Fake Agility
      • 1.7Remember This About True Agility
    • 2How Culture Influences Risks and Tradeoffs
      • 2.1Lifecycles Manage Risks
      • 2.2Assess Your Project’s Risks
      • 2.3Project Tradeoffs Clarify Feedback Loops
      • 2.4Assess Your Product’s Innovation Risks
      • 2.5Product Risks Can Drive Lifecycle Choice
      • 2.6Product Feedback Loops Reduce Risks
      • 2.7Portfolio-Based Risks Can Drive Lifecycle Choice
      • 2.8Agile Strategy Risks
      • 2.9Culture Creates the Overall System of Work
      • 2.10Project Learning Helps Manage Risks
      • 2.11Remember This About Culture, Risks, and Tradeoffs
    • 3Serial Lifecycles
      • 3.1Serial Lifecycles Look Logical
      • 3.2Visualize Problems with Serial Lifecycles
      • 3.3Serial Lifecycles Fake a Focus on the Work
      • 3.4Successful Projects Incorporate Feedback
      • 3.5Serial Lifecycles Can Allow Early Cancellation
      • 3.6Serial Lifecycles Create Project-Based Risks
      • 3.7Serial Lifecycles Create Organization-Based Problems
      • 3.8Why Some Managers Like a Serial Approach
      • 3.9Culture Challenges with a Serial Lifecycle
      • 3.10Tips to Make a Serial Lifecycle Work for You
      • 3.11Remember This About Serial Lifecycles
    • 4Iterative Lifecycles
      • 4.1Spiral Model Focuses on Customer Feedback
      • 4.2Evolutionary Prototyping Focuses on the Product
      • 4.3Unified Processes Integrate Phases with Some Deliveries
      • 4.4Challenges for Iterative-Only Lifecycles
      • 4.5Opportunities for Agility
      • 4.6Culture Challenges with an Iterative Lifecycle
      • 4.7Remember This About Iterative Lifecycles
    • 5Incremental Lifecycles
      • 5.1Incremental Approaches Are Not New
      • 5.2Design to Schedule Focuses on Release Candidates
      • 5.3Late Feedback in Design to Schedule
      • 5.4Staged Delivery Focuses on Multiple Releases
      • 5.5Late Feedback in Staged Delivery
      • 5.6Learn from Late Feedback
      • 5.7Programs Thrive With Incremental Approaches
      • 5.8Short-Duration Release Trains Focus on Finishing
      • 5.9Challenges for Incremental-Only Lifecycles
      • 5.10Opportunities for Agility
      • 5.11Culture Challenges with an Incremental Lifecycle
      • 5.12Remember This About Incremental Lifecycles
    • 6Combination Lifecycles
      • 6.1A Date-Driven Combination Lifecycle
      • 6.2A Feature-Set Driven Combination Lifecycle
      • 6.3Customize Your Own Combination Approach
      • 6.4Combination Lifecycles Offer More Agility
      • 6.5Programs Thrive With Combination Approaches
      • 6.6Challenges for Combination Lifecycles
      • 6.7Culture Challenges with a Combination Lifecycle
      • 6.8Remember This About Combination Lifecycles
    • 7Agile Approaches
      • 7.1Characteristics of an Agile Team
      • 7.2Questions About How to Make Agility Work
      • 7.3Scrum, Kanban, or Some Combination?
      • 7.4Agile Products that Include Hardware
      • 7.5Remember This About Agile Approaches
    • 8Increase Agility in Any Approach
      • 8.1Tips to Reduce Unplanned Feedback Loops
      • 8.2Pursue a More Collaborative Culture
      • 8.3Reduce Fake Agility
      • 8.4Read My Books for More Details
    • Annotated Bibliography
    • Glossary
    • More from Johanna

About the Publisher

This book is published on Leanpub by Practical Ink

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