When Agile Collides with a Lack of Project Experience

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 andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I recently had a conversation with someone who is managing a project within a much larger program. This PM is looking after an operational readiness function that is looking to prepare end users for a major new system that is being developed. The work covers many different areas—process changes, change management, human resource concerns, training needs, etc.

One of the common threads from all of those functions is that many of the people working on those elements have little project experience. Team members were chosen based on their operational expertise—they had the best understanding of how the organization operated today, so were viewed as the best people to help shape how those operations would need to change in response to the new system.

The approach appears to be working well; the project manager described how the team was being exposed to the system early in the process and how they were working to develop the revised processes in response to that system. That in turn would drive work around change management, training, communication, etc.

However, there is one element that the PM was looking for some advice with. He explained that even though the people working on the project did not have much previous project experience, they had some ideas around how projects worked. That came from just being a part of an organization that conducted projects …

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