Who Should Read This Book?
In general, this book will be of value to several different professional groups, but they all have a few things in common. You are creative thinkers. Rather than blindly following a task list, you ask, "Why?" If tasks don't make sense, you either delete them or replace them with tasks that do make sense. You are fixed on delivering client-acceptable business value. You strive to do this in concert with your clients, not separate from them. This collaborative effort is the major strength of your approach. You are open to new ideas and concepts of effective project management. You are team players. You realize that only through a collaborative effort with your client will you have any chance of success. If you are struggling to deliver "knock-your-socks-off" service and know that you need some help, you have come to the right place. If this describes you, then you should continue reading. I have some great stuff to add to your toolkit! If this does not describe you, you need to do some serious reflection. The world is about to pass you by.
Project and Program Managers
These professionals are the primary beneficiaries of this book. As they encounter projects that just don't meet the requirements of the traditional approaches, APF may be their best alternative. This book will give them a model that does.
APF is, after all, an agile software-development management process. There is much to learn about requirements gathering and what to do with the results. Meaningful client involvement and collaboration is a must. The change process is not the enemy. It can be a great asset if used correctly. All of these issues are discussed.
There is little mention in the literature about using APM models for product development. APF is designed primarily for that audience. Each of the case studies describes a non-software development application of APF.
One of the original applications of APF was a process-design project. The Kamikazi Software Development Company is the case study that traces the development of APF through the eyes of a systems-development process project. The case study provides an interesting look at a company that had been hell-bent on making its square peg fit a round hole, and it was costing dearly at the bottom line. It even took some time after the process was finished for the company to realize that it was the solution it had been looking for but was too blind to see. In retrospect, APF may have been the primary reason why this company survived the dot-com debacle and flourishes to this day.
APF is a powerful tool for process-design and process-improvement projects. The investigative nature of the APF cycles is designed to uncover feasible process changes for measurable improvements.
Process Improvement Professionals
APF is a powerful tool for process-improvement projects. The same comments apply as above.
Research & Development Professionals
APF, xPM, and MPx share a lot in common. As the goal becomes fuzzy, the choice of approaches should migrate from APF to either xPM or MPx. The interesting commonality is that the structure of the phases of xPM and MPx is the same. Both xPM and MPx are also designed for discovery of both the goal and the solution to that evolving goal. Even at completion, the remaining question is, "Does the business value generated from the xPM or MPx goal/solution contribute acceptable business value?"
There are many problem-solving models; APF is one of them. In the typical APF project, you want to find a complete solution to a complex problem.