PRINCE2 Agile: project governance for the Netherlands

Office buildings in the Netherlands

A 2019 international study by the Dutch KPMG office* among more than 120 companies across 17 countries, showed that Agile transformation is “already in a more advanced stage” in the Netherlands and Dutch companies are showing an increased appetite for using Agile delivery methods.

While Singapore leads with 45% of companies predicting enterprise level Agile working within three years, the Netherlands and Brazil hold joint second place. The report added that Agile coaching is present at all levels in Dutch organizations, suggesting they are “no longer thinking on whether to adopt agility; rather they are considering how”.

In addition to that, major names such as Philips, KLM and PostNL are demonstrating a move to Agile. However, there is also continuing interest in more established project management and service management approaches such as PRINCE2 Agile® and ITIL®.

This is an important consideration, as the shift to Agile in some Dutch companies has included getting rid of project managers. A transition to Agile working without having the necessary governance from other frameworks and skills has proven more difficult than businesses thought – and the results have been mixed.

Organizations want (and need) the optimized speed to market that Agile methods like Scrum and Kanban bring, but with the right level of control and governance when trying to widen use of Agile beyond small teams.

The PRINCE2® method has always been adaptable to Agile projects, but with PRINCE2 Agile – and its recent translation into Dutch – there is no reason to risk using Agile without adequate governance.

PRINCE2 Agile: gaining traction in the Netherlands

Some project management practitioners in the Netherlands were previously unaware that PRINCE2 is adaptable to both waterfall and agile situations.

Now, PRINCE2 Agile is helping more people understand its flexibility and additional guidance specific to Agile projects. Scrum professionals who train and certify in the method are gaining a wider view of how it can help their work beyond one, small team.

Also, sceptics who believed the method was too directive are leaving their training with a different view. For example, PRINCE2 Agile’s guidance on tolerances (the level of deviation allowed in time, cost, scope, etc) is not dissimilar to empowering people in Agile product delivery.

Agile practitioners can also see how the management products in PRINCE2 Agile can be tailored to suit their environment, such as delivering reports orally rather than in writing, or even via a Kanban board.

Agile across Dutch industry – the future

The shift to Agile in the Netherlands is everywhere – even in unusual applications such as Agile human resources management.

While it may not be a solution in sectors such as infrastructure, where there is high certainty on what and how to deliver, projects like housebuilding can combine both traditional and Agile methods.

However, organizations need the ability to manage Agile delivery and PRINCE2 Agile brings an umbrella approach to a project. It also gives reassurance and understanding to project managers and their teams when asked to embrace Agile, as achieving success in new frameworks doesn’t happen overnight.

*Agile Transformation – from Agile experiments to operating model transformation; KPMG 2019 survey on agility.
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