What do project sponsors need to understand before starting the agile journey and how can they ensure a successful project outcome?
Increasing globalization, advances in technology, volatile markets and rising customer expectations are just some of the factors driving today’s constantly changing business environment. It means that every organization, no matter the size or sector, is feeling the effects. That’s why it’s vitally important that these organizations — and the project sponsors within them — learn how to react and adapt to this shifting landscape.
Agile way of working
Agile is often perceived as the solution. But to maximize its potential, project sponsors need to recognize that agile is not just a framework but includes behaviours, concepts, areas of focus, skills and techniques which must all work together at the same time.
In my experience, taking the time to understand the mechanism and the tools project managers need to work in an agile way will significantly benefit overall business outcomes in a number of ways: improved stakeholder engagement, better collaboration between teams and early value release.
So how does a sponsor go about adopting agile into an organization to manage projects?
As a sponsor, it is important to define a clear vision of the future and the direction needed to achieve it. Remember, it’s a journey of small steps and won’t happen overnight. No matter how large or small the organization, it will take time to adopt the method but, once established, will deliver benefits faster than the original proposals. That’s why it’s equally important that internal and external stakeholders are aware of this context from the start of the journey because their support is vital.
To make it happen, it’s a question of following a number of defined steps which will enable the sponsor to work through the different stages of the project from beginning to end and keep it on track to reach a successful conclusion.
It’s not uncommon to assume that bringing more governance into an agile environment will stifle creativity and limit the benefits of the new ways of working. As a sponsor, you need to be aware of this unfounded prejudice. PRINCE2 Agile demonstrates that PRINCE2® and agile can work perfectly together.
In practice, what PRINCE2 Agile represents is a partnership based on the principle that good governance allows agile to be used on complex projects which involve multiple teams. It provides valuable guidance to assess the suitability of using agile and hit deadlines, while also protecting high levels of quality by “fixing and flexing” requirements according to previously prioritized customer needs.
Finally, bear in mind is that if PRINCE2 has already been adopted within your organization and you want to become more agile, this is not an “either-or” binary choice; PRINCE2 Agile simply builds on the investment that you have already made.
To find out more, you can listen again to Allan Thomson explaining the concepts in a recent AXELOS webinar Sponsoring Agile project management and also request copies of related reports on AXELOS.com.