Why is now the time for organizations and their teams to move to Agile approaches in project management?
At this moment, as the world is experiencing so much uncertainty, complexity and way more unknowns than knowns, the best way to deal with it is through an agile mind-set: try something small, learn from it and adapt.
For organizations, the overall goal is to reduce risk and ensure return on investment; this never changes. For project managers and teams today, it’s less likely they can look beyond one or two months ahead. So, they need to validate or invalidate learnings and take actions based on these learnings to adapt and find realistic solutions that work for the business.
By operating in an environment of shorter cycles – of days and weeks, not months – you can get faster feedback from stakeholders, markets, teams, and learn more quickly.
Ready for Agile?
If your organization and its project teams are ready to learn and progress their ways of thinking and working, they are ready for more Agile ways of working.
So what are some of the key elements of moving to an Agile approach?
- New structures: self-organizing teams, cross-team learning and servant leadership (managing a team not by telling them what to do but by removing obstacles and coaching them in agile good practices).
- Breaking down walls: having one team covering projects end-to-end without dependencies on other departments.
- Clarity on accountabilities: for example, having one person clearly accountable for value for money to maximize return on investment.
- Shared goals for the team: understanding the product vision is key to be self-organizing teams, rather than needing approvals from higher authorities which only delays progress.
- Boundaries: for example, agreeing who can decide on suppliers to use and team members to add. The more you trust the team, the larger the boundaries can be. And trust is built by delivering results.
Practical guidance in PRINCE2® Agile
Studying and certifying in PRINCE2 Agile gives project managers and teams a basic knowledge of the PRINCE2® method along with a good starting point to understand project lifecycles and what to concentrate on.
The knowledge contained in the best practice material guides a team through starting up projects with more Agile ways of working. It provides an answer to the question “what can agility be for us?” and, from there, teams can iterate, inspect and adapt.
And, as emphasized in the PRINCE2 2017 update, the principle of tailoring is just as important in an Agile as in a traditional project environment; in fact, it’s in every lesson learned during the project.
The Agile difference
Learning and developing Agile capabilities means the organization creates resilient teams: they become accustomed to dealing with change and – in the ideal scenario – they become the ones who identify when and what change needs to happen. For example, as markets and technology evolve, they will be well-equipped to evaluate whether adopting such changes will benefit the organization, or that they need to seek other alternatives.
Creating an Agile mindset produces a continuously learning organization that will respond faster to market pressures and opportunities. And this is not about implementing change for the sake of it; it’s about having an answer based on the evaluation of a problem or opportunity and putting a solution in place quickly.
Agile does equal change, but informed change; change that – if handled properly – will have a positive impact on everyone in the organization.
Read more AXELOS Blog Posts from Steven Denier
Workshop facilitation: a key skill of the agile project manager
The 4 key factors needed to make an agile project work
Standardize your project processes with checklists
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The top myths about PRINCE2® and agile methods.