In Poland, large organizations such as banks and even government departments trying to implement Agile methods have faced some difficulties. This presents an opportunity for a blended project management and Agile approach, such as PRINCE2 Agile®, which builds on the reputation already established by PRINCE2®.
Bringing together “opposing” ideas
Some organizations – like the city authorities in Krakow and Gdansk – are trying to merge more traditional project management with Agile working.
Professionals there recognize that long-established methods focused on predictable expectations and product descriptions are not sufficiently flexible to manage all projects today. However, Agile has caused some problems: one organization told me that, while “sexy”, Agile created a huge mess, as nobody knew what the project’s requirements were.
In essence, organizations adopting Agile methods want to “have their cake and eat it” – to have a free hand but maintain control of the budget, schedule and progress. This is where I think PRINCE2 Agile can help achieve compromise between two “opposing” ideas.
PRINCE2 Agile in action
The Krakow city authority – serving more than one million citizens – has implemented PRINCE2 Agile in its IT department.
The IT team, looking closely at strategic goals, created an IT road map to show the necessary change initiatives. This has led to a number of change projects using Agile delivery methods and PRINCE2 Agile to modernize applications. During the life of these projects, product descriptions have changed a lot in order to meet end user requirements.
In these situations, PRINCE2 Agile has been valuable because it:
- Allows easy implementation of small changes in the developer team
- Provides predictability and planning that support many processes in the city authority
- Gives senior managers control over change programmes/projects while delivering better solutions using Agile delivery methods.
Beyond local government, I also know a Polish software house that is looking at PRINCE2 Agile because a client requires project management methods, not just Agile delivery. Companies awarding contracts want to know that providers are able to manage the work, not just on a team level but also on a project level.
Culture change – from command to servant leadership
The key to successful blending of Agile and project management methods is knowing how to connect the team leader, Scrum Master, product owner and project manager.
Changing culture and people’s mentality from command and control to servant leadership is well-supported in PRINCE2 Agile. It shows the capability to control a project but be flexible and responsive to changing situations.
At a time of financial pressure in organizations being able to combine project management with Agile can save lifetime costs (including change and maintenance) and definitely deliver a higher level of quality.