» Agile Project Management
Success as an Agile Leader is not about Working Harder
If you find yourself working harder than ever but not getting the results you want, perhaps more hard work is not the answer. Leaders today - Agile Leaders or otherwise - need to do more than simply work hard; they need leverage. That leverage comes from building relationships.
Between Santa Claus, Big Foot and the Agile Project Manager, which exists? Few people argue for the existence of Big Foot or Santa Claus, though most believe that Agile Project Managers exist. I would contend that none of them exist, especially the Agile project manager. (BTW we used a photo of a Wookie for Big Foot since all the pictures we had of Big Foot were blurry.)
I recently published the article below on the Project Management.com website (see Project Managers Still Don't Get Agile). The point that I was trying to make is that while some project managers do understand and apply agile approaches, most project managers don't understand it. They don't want to understand it, and they actually undermine Agile adoption in their organizations.
It's interesting to me that the main people who talk about using hybrid agile project management approaches are traditionally trained project managers. They believe there is a special blend of waterfall and agile techniques that will yield better results than either approach alone. They want to take the best of both worlds. I think they are misguided. They may get better results than using waterfall alone, but are unlikely to improve on a more pure agile adoption. They won't get the business agility that their organization needs to compete.
Agile projects are more successful than waterfall projects. There, I said it. And I have the statistics from the Standish Group to back it up.
I’ve been a follower of the Standish Group Chaos Studies for a long time. The Standish Group has conducted surveys of IT project success and failure rates every 2 years since 1994. Initially, the statistics were really bad with IT project success rates measured at less than 20%. Thankfully things have improved, though not much. Project success rates for technology projects are still pretty low.
Over the last few months I have been writing about how to improve team retrospectives. This has been mostly focused on Agile teams. Recently I've been asked to facilitate a "retrospective" for a traditional project. I remembered that a few years back, I wrote about why I felt that traditional lessons learned for projects were a waste of time. My thinking on this topic is still the same - I still feel like those traditional lessons learned activities are a huge waste of time.
As you have probably noticed by now, I am a huge fan of Agile approaches and ways of working. This post is about some of the key aspects of Agile that I really like. These 12 characteristics really highlight the key benefits of Agile methods, and how they relate to some of the areas of concern I had when leading traditional projects. I hope that you will find them useful as well.