Agile projects were put on a formula by the Scrum inventors in the nineties, but what about agile project management? What IS agile project management?
In Scrum there is no such thing as a project manager, but on real world projects, of course there are project managers. Organizations do not change overnight and become agile from top to bottom, and this creates a big gap between what managers, PMOs and others expect in terms of project reporting, risk, communications management etc. and what the agile teams can deliver. Of course there must be a project manager in place to handle this.
Usually people think that an agile project manager is a PM that works with Scrum teams. This, however, is a definition that is much too narrow. An agile PM is someone who is able to work context based. The Agile PM is able to work in traditional project environments, in agile environments, or in a combination of both. The agility lies in the ability to shift and use diffent techniques and tools depending on the context.
The agile PM understands, and therefore is able to work with teams whether they work the old fashioned waterfall way or with Scrum.
The existing methods force PMs to work in “method silos”. Those silos can be either traditional, such as PRINCE2, PMI, IPMA, etc., and they can be agile, such as Scrum, Kanban, etc. However, none of the agile frameworks offer any guidance as to how to project manage important PM areas such as risk, communication, and stakeholder management, etc.
These areas don’t just disappear when you decide to work with agile teams. Therefore, there is a need to break down those method silos, appreciate that there is good stuff to be found in all of them, and become brilliant at speaking several “method languages” and learn to pick the right things from the methods and work context based.
Context based project management (CBPM)® is not difficult. In fact it dramatically reduces complexity in project management, by leaving out any document, template, meeting etc. that does not provide immediate value, and cannot pass the “so-what-test”.
The so-what-test is when you ask yourself: “what would happen, if we cancelled this meeting, did not write this document, did not give this presentation?”. If the answer is: “Nothing!” you simply cut away that activity. Think about how much time you spend on meetings that do not produce any results in terms of improved project performance.
CBPM® is truly agile and it’s lean. It can be used in both public and private organization, in traditional project organizations, and in organizations that wish to become more agile in their project thinking, and the way they handle projects, no matter what project method is in use.
Is probably the most secret factor. Agile project management defined by the ability to shift your PM approach depending on the context and working horisontally using the best of all breeds rather than in method verticals/silos, is a new way of thinking project management. But where to go if you want to know more?
The anwer is: APMA – Agile Project Management Association. This is a new independent organization where PMs and other with an interest in projects can discuss their ideas and thoughts, share knowledge with their peers in a network based environment.
APMA is unaffiliated and wants to keep an open mind to using what has proven to work on real projects, no matter where the good approaches come from. At this moment we are working via a Linkedin group (APMA – Agile Project Management Association), but that’s just the start.
So why start to think differently anyway? Many methods exist, so why not just use one of them?
The short answer is that after having been in use for more that 50 years, the results are still not good enough. Research shows that approx. 45% of all projects fail. The losses are too big, and we simply have to do better.
If we want to do better, the first step is to break down the artificial barriers between the different traditional methods, and traditional and agile methods, and keep an open mind to using what have been proven to work.
If you are eager to know more about APMA or Context Based Project Management, check out APMAs Linkedin group or contact firstname.lastname@example.org