Stacey Matrix – A Practical Tool for Complex Decisions and Projects

Stacey Matrix model is designed to help you understand the applicability of agile to your organization and choose the right project management approach.

Stacey Matrix model
Stacey Matrix Model

Stacey Matrix Model - A Project Complexity Assessment and Management Tool

In many organizations nowadays the “agile” or “traditional” Project Management is being debated… Let me contribute some comments about it… In practice, the question is that we consider starting a "project", an initiative, to create a product or service, or to develop an existing one ... This is how many projects start, and we must first reflect on how predictive or how adaptive should be our method to use in multi-project management.

Should we opt for an iterative project life cycle, to allow for very frequent requirement changes, or perhaps an absolutely predictive and cascading model will be more useful in this case?

The choice between whether it is better "agility", or the establishment of sequential and closed project phases, will be the key to the success of the project.

We can affirm that agile methodologies work better in developments where the requirements are not fixed from the beginning ... But not out of laziness! Or bad practice. But because it cannot be done, it would be very uncertain, it would not make sense to invest so much time or effort (for that we already start trying things), etc. For example, trying to predict which layout, buttons, and functions, the users of our website will like the most, is probably too theorizing, especially when we deal with project portfolio management. The best thing would be to put together a quick first version, get feedback, iterate on that feedback, and finally arrive at a tested and useful product with the maximum possible value beforehand… Does it sound “agile”? Yes.

On the other hand, when your project is to reform the kitchen of your house ... What would you ask the "Project Manager", even before starting or having approved his proposal?

Obviously, you would ask for a time commitment, a fixed price, and also materials, qualities and an exact description of how that kitchen is. Sound predictive? Yes. Would it be something totally 'cascading', without product iterations? Probably… We cannot have a kitchen “prototype” in the middle of the project… Does this method allow any changes? Of course. It is not in contradiction. If in the middle of the project, I ask the Project Manager for a change of material, he will make it possible, but obviously, he will charge me for that change, depending on the impact it has on the work ... Logical, right? How would we build a kitchen with “sprints” and changing requirements? My argument here is that the prediction, of a lifetime, has admitted changes as well. But evaluating the consequence in time and cost commitments.

In this post, we can comment on how a tool created by Ralph Stacey, known as Stacey Matrix, can help us in this dilemma, where this spectrum of environments is shown.

Stacey Matrix is a practical tool designed to help you understand the applicability of agile to your organization and select the best project management software for complexity assessment and project management.

The Stacey Matrix offers a useful method for selecting appropriate management actions in a complex adaptive system, based on the degree of certainty and level of agreement on the issue at hand.

According to him, the art of management and leadership is to have a great variety of approaches and to know when to use each method, and for this, he proposes to use a diagram to identify management decisions. As we say, the degree of certainty and the level of agreement are the two axes of the diagram.

Possible applications of it include being able to choose between different management or leadership approaches to a specific issue or decision, explaining a series of decisions, and communicating with others about why a particular approach is appropriate. When creative alternatives are needed, they can also be used to deliberately try to increase uncertainty and disagreement, push the system to the brink of chaos, and try to increase creativity.

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