Project Management

Agile Innovation

Mike Griffiths is an experienced project manager, author and consultant who works for PMI as a subject matter expert. Before joining PMI, Mike consulted and managed innovation and technology projects throughout Europe, North and South America for 30+ years. He was co-lead for the PMBOK Guideā€”Seventh Edition, lead for the Agile Practice Guide, and contributor to the PMI-ACP and PMP exam content outlines. Outside of PMI, Mike maintains the websites about leading teams and, which teaches project management for visual learners.

Psst, this is your conscious. I’m here to remind you about something you have thought about, but then hid away in the back of your mind. Lots of this agile stuff is hypocritical; it preaches evolution and change, but then we ask the same old three questions at standup every day. Also, why must we have standup every day? Isn’t that kind of prescriptive? Agile methods are supposed to facilitate innovation through iterative development, followed by inspection and adaption. They practice the scientific method of measurement and feedback on products and teamwork. So why are the agile practices themselves magically exempt from this precious evolution?

I believe there are two main reasons. First off, it is to protect inexperienced agile practitioners from themselves. With free rein to morph product and process, there is a strong likelihood that by six months into a project, the practices followed by the team would have deviated from the proven and tested methods of the most successful teams. The risk of failure would increase, and every project in a company would be using a radically different approach making integration, scaling and team member transfers a major problem.

The other reason is a little more sinister. Most of the creators, proponents and promotors of agile methods have interests in keeping the methods pure vanilla. This is so they can create training …

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