Project Management

Can Agile Drive Sustainability?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

One of the things that has always struck me about agile is that there must be additional ways that the generally strong and direct communication links between stakeholders can be leveraged. The relationship among the team, the product owner and the customer is active--frequent two-way communications focused on ensuring that the best possible product is delivered.

That strong relationship encourages trust between all of the parties and allows for open discussion of all possibilities around the project. While those conversations generally focus on the deliverables and how they meet the customer’s needs, there is no reason why other elements can’t be introduced--and I think that sustainability is a good candidate for such conversations.

Development team-driven requirements
I need to be careful here--I don’t want to suggest that the product owner should be usurped and that the project team should add priority items to the backlog, but I do believe that the team can drive green conversations.

Here’s an example of what I mean: When a product is defined and the features are prioritized, the team will be given the freedom to manage itself to deliver the features in the way that it feels is most appropriate. In most cases there will be enough flexibility that the team will have a number of potential approaches that it can take, and the one chosen…


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"Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself."

- Charlie Chaplin