The myths and legends of agile project management


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There has been a lot of interest about Agile in recent years, mainly due to the success in the IT industry; however there is a lot of interest in applying the Agile methods to other types of environment, not just IT.
This conference uncovered some of the myths around Agile, discussed how Agile can be scaled to large complex projects, looked at case studies, talked about Lean Agile and fed back what governments think about Agile.
The presentations sparked some interesting debates, even between the speakers, but soon some common themes started to emerge from each of the presentation.

Agile is not a methodology – it is a way of thinking. There are Agile methods, ranging from project management methods to software development methods but the agile manifesto, which was mentioned almost be every speaker, does not actual prescribe anything.

Being agile is not an excuse to avoid doing things, like planning and risk management. Being agile has a lot of parallels to Lean – you do what needs to be done, no more and no less.

Agile is not new, Julius Caesar used agile, he just did not call it agile. There are a number of companies and projects who are agile, but did not realise it and jumped on the band wagon when a name was given to their behaviour.

Agile is about giving your customer what they want, regardless of what it says in the contract - they have the right to change their minds. Agile is about people and collaboration, not the processes or tools although these do help to be more agile.

After lunch, we had a presentation from Project Place and learnt about their latest collaboration tools, including KANBAN boards. The idea is not new, Toyota have been using them for decades, but they have been given a new digital face lift.

Finally, thank you to our sponsors Project Place, DSDM and APMG, to the speakers for giving up the valuable time for free, and to Anna and Nigel for their support in pulling the event together.

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The myths and legends of agile project management

  1. 1. Agile: Future or Fashion? The Myths and Legends of Agile Project Management Adrian Pyne
  2. 2. About Adrian...... • Organisation culture development • Coaching and mentoring • Collaboration • Professional Services build and management • Business Transformation programme delivery and rescue • Portfolio, programme and project management capability development • Enterprise PMO design/build/operate • Intelligent Client model development • Member of APM approx. 20 years • APM Audit Committee • Frequent speaker , conference chair and blogger • Cabinet Office White Paper • OGC: MSP, P3M3 & Portfolio Mngt review panels • APM – Intro to Programme Mngt & Portfolio Mngt • The Gower Handbook of Programme Management • APM Registered Project Professional and Assessor 2
  3. 3. Applied Impact Technology 3
  4. 4.  The value of Agile and how to achieve it  The principles of Agile and agile thinking  What an agile culture and environment looks like  What an agile project can look like  How agile can be implemented successfully and the rocky road to avoid. Content 4
  5. 5. 5 The value of Agile "Vercingetorix Throws Down His Arms at the Feet of Julius Caesar", 1899, by Lionel Noel Royer
  6. 6. 6 The value of Agile • PWC report – 3rd Global survey on the state of project management: Project success rates 59% with agile approaches. ~ 30-40% without • PMI Pulse of the Profession 2012: Organisations with the best initiative success rates were agile. • UK Government ICT Strategy 2011 and Digital Strategy 2012
  7. 7. 7 The Principles of Agile The Agile Manifesto - 2001 Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. Working software is the primary measure of progress. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility. Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.
  8. 8. 8 The Principles of Agile  Satisfy the customer, produce outcomes that result in benefits  Embrace changing requirements  Provide an environment for success that is sustainable  Collaborative behaviours based on Trust  Keep it simple  At regular intervals – reflect, learn and adjust Sounds like professional project management
  9. 9. 9 Myths of Agile number 1 There is such a thing as Agile Project Management Why would a professional PM do more than they needed to? Good project management is agile? Discuss…………………..
  10. 10. 10 What an agile culture and environment looks like What needs to be overcome? Non-agile organisation culture
  11. 11. Organisation Culture Vision Strategy Technology ProcessPolicies Values Organisation Rules BehavioursBehaviours Symbols Relationships Perceptions Beliefs Assumptions Unwritten rules Common practice 11
  12. 12. 12 What an agile culture and environment looks like What needs to be overcome? Non-agile organisation culture – Lack of flexibility – Non-release of operational resources – Lengthy decision making, e.g. change – Resistance to Matrix working – Top down governance – Lack of Trust and empowerment – Very risk averse – loathing of uncertainty Gathering organisational anti-bodies to anything new in the culture And some people simply get it wrong……
  13. 13. 13 Myths of Agile number 2 Agile is a magic bullet
  14. 14. 14 What an agile culture and environment looks like  Organisational agility normally stated in terms of changing markets  But what IS organisation agility? – Trusted organisation – Adaptive operating model – i.e. not too centralised – Devolved governance – P3 embedded in business operations – Continuous learning is embedded – Self-organising teams and people – Collaborative culture – Leadership tolerant of ambiguity
  15. 15. 15 Myths of Agile number 3 Scrum is a project management method
  16. 16. 16 What an agile project looks like  An agile friendly landscape  An adaptive and flexible project manager  Collaboration  High level requirements – you have to be able to start somewhere  Prioritised requirements  Lean decision making, e.g. for Changes  Document…..just enough  Constantly watches the bow wave  Constantly planning  Constantly learning  Constantly watching the sky ahead
  17. 17. 17 Myths of Agile number 4 Agile cannot work in my organisation
  18. 18. 18 Myths of Agile number 4  Agile is only for software engineering  „Agile doesn’t scale to large systems  „Agile doesn't use project management  „Agile doesn't have any requirements  „Agile requires a traditional system architecture  „Agile doesn't have any documentation  „Agile isn't disciplined or measurable  „Agile has low quality, maintainability, and security Here be dragons! Agile cannot work in my organisation Well here is how it can……….
  19. 19. 19 Implementing Agile successfully Building an organisation fit for agile projects Leadership must GET agile Leadership to establish an agile friendly organisation Define your goals for agile Determine how far agile needs to penetrate Define who needs to be agile, and help them be so Define how business processes need to change Define what technology can help, and/or needs to change Be an agile leader People ToolsProcess
  20. 20.  The value of Agile and how to achieve it  The principles of Agile and agile thinking  What an agile culture and environment looks like  What an agile project can look like  How agile can be implemented successfully and the rocky road to avoid. Content 20
  21. 21. Thank you 21 Pyne Consulting λ
  22. 22. This presentation was delivered at an APM event To find out more about upcoming events please visit our website