Methods

Topic Teasers Vol. 90: Is Agile Japanese?

by Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA

Question: Our management team is extremely agile resistant, saying that there is no research or history to this practice—or no link to better productivity, despite recent statistics that disagree. What can I tell them to show that this is actually a way to engage millennials, the largest section of the current workforce? And to show that it also has a proven track record of maximizing high productivity, even if it wasn’t called by the same name?
A. Since agile was conceived in 2001 in Snowbird, Utah, it is 100% American in origin. The rest of the world had never tried these practices until the results of this famous meeting were released through a series of speeches, articles and conversations.
B. Agile principles rest on the behaviors Douglas McGregor believed to be basic to most workers, called Theory X. Because it suggests that people dislike work and try to avoid it, the more lax workplace of an agile team tricks them into thinking they are in management.
C. Dr. W. Edwards Deming developed the earliest agile-like philosophy, which he called the Hierarchy of Needs. If a manager can meet all of the needs for the employee, productivity will soar. If even one is left unfulfilled, project outcomes will be subpar.
D. Agile actually is an outgrown of the Japanese motivational theories of Dr. William Ouchi’s “Japanese Management” style from the 1980s. By now, the concepts have been well tested and proven to be effective in the modern-day workplace, first in Japan and then in other locations around the globe.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Continuous Agile Program Planning: Think Big, Plan Small

by Johanna Rothman

It seems as if the larger the agile program, the bigger the planning--but that kind of planning only works for some programs. What can you do? Instead of big, discontinuous planning, consider small continuous planning.

Principles

Is Agile Cheaper?

by Kevin Aguanno, CSPM (IPMA-B), Cert.APM, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM, CSP, FPMAC, FAPM

If you ask a group of individuals what benefits they expect to achieve by adopting agile methods, you’ll usually hear “faster delivery,” “higher quality,” “cheaper” and “lower risk.” Out of these, “faster” is the most common. Faster delivery can be elusive; the benefit of “cheaper,” however, may be illusory.

Earned Value Management in Agile Projects

by Marcos Saboya

The use of traditional empirical project management tools can be used in a simple way to manage and control project deadlines and costs without losing the flexibility of agility. In this article, we are going to mix a traditional technique with agile management using a simple practical example.

Practices

What Exactly is Agile Project Management?

by Jim Hannon

The words “agile project management” are being used in the industry to describe a new approach to how project management is conducted. The industry and company leaders need to fully understand how project managers can be brought into the agile world to ensure cohesion between these two disciplines.

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