Project Management

Project Managers Still Don't 'Get' Agile

PMI Chicagoland Chapter

Anthony is an enterprise agile Coach with Vitality Chicago, Inc. He has over 30 years of experience delivering large-scale business programs and IT projects. He specializes in helping organizations effectively apply Lean and agile principles and the Scrum framework to gain true business agility. He teaches a wide range of agile and Scrum training courses as well as the cultural elements that are necessary for agile to succeed. Anthony is the author of numerous blog posts and articles and two books: Agile Project Management and Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers. He has an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and an MBA from Loyola University of Maryland.

If you are a traditional project manager practicing agile methods, chances are you don’t really “get” it. Nothing has been worse for the understanding and proper application of agile approaches in organizations today than the flawed thinking and actions of well-meaning middle managers and project managers. Stop it.

I understand why you do it. These days, you can't afford to say you don't know or use agile. Agile is so popular and in demand that not understanding and using it would indicate you are outdated and out of step. Who wants to admit they aren’t agile? So it's popular to say that you get it and use it. Everybody does it.

Only…you really don’t get agile. As a long time project manager, I can relate. I didn't always get it when I first learned about agile and Scrum. I didn't believe it when I was told in my first agile training that project managers don't make good ScrumMasters, or that the best solutions come from self-organizing teams. I had to work my way through that and unlearn many of the things I had come to believe about the best way to organize people and deliver complex technology solutions.

How You Don't Get It
Unless you have firsthand experience on an agile team (not as a project manager), you won't get agile. You will continue to treat agile approaches as just another version of …

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"Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler."

- Albert Einstein