Applying Agile : Project Management

Agile is a great Project Management tool for managing any project that is subject to change and uncertainty.

Projects come in all shapes and sizes, we usually define them with an end-goal, and they have a fixed duration, budget or resources.

They can be part of day-to-day activities, like a marketing campaign, or a client project, or part of changing and improving like investing into a new web site, or a training programme.

There are many projects where we might take an agile approach both in and out of work:

  • A change and improvement project for a particular aspect of the business.
  • A Marketing Campaign promoting a new product
  • A Training Programme for a team
  • Organising an Induction for new team members
  • A Collaboration project
  • Developing a Strategic Plan
  • Researching a new market or product
  • Developing a new product or service
  • Developing a new Web site
  • Running an event
  • A community project
  • Organising a wedding or party
  • A personal home DIY project

What Planned versus What Happened

A traditional predictive planning approach to a project, sets to map out, where we are (bottom left), where we want to be (tip of arrow top right) and how we are going to get there (the straight line).

Once our project begins, project control and risk management focuses on holding us to the line (our set plan and course), if we begin to go off course, the project management mindset and behaviour is to pull the project back into line.

Unfortunately this kind of approach doesn’t accommodate change easily, it attempts to manage out change, stop the plan from changing, we move from one stage of the project to the next, following the plan.

This approach may limit change, and the risk associated with change, but some change is necessary, without it the solution may not be fit for purpose, or we miss an opportunity to make our solution better that originally planned.

Plus when we are working in complex and chaotic environments, it’s not really possible to plan upfront because of the unknowns, lack of agreement, and lack of certainty and clarity of the problem and the solution when we start.What How Complexity Matrix - Being Agile

If we are operating in Complex and Chaotic environments we cannot plan everything out in advance due to the unknowns, uncertainty and lack of agreement on the solution to be created.

The sprint approach in projects helps us to break things down into bite size pieces, help to deliver value early in the project, gain feedback to make improvements, and iteratively evolve our solutions based on learning and experience.

  • What current projects are you working on?
  • How are you approaching these projects?
  • Could you take an agile approach to these projects?

Video : The agile approach – eat your projects like cake!

Metaphor for agile approach

Use the Agile Planning Canvas to map out your project. Read the guide and download a free copy.Being Agile Canvas - Agile Project Management

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