When Does Agile Expansion Stop?

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.

“We’re so agile, even our traditional projects are adopting agile techniques!” That’s not the punchline of a bad joke; it’s something a rather frustrated project manager said to me a little while ago. He was concerned that his organization was committed to becoming both more “large A” agile in terms of methodology, and more “small a” agile in terms of increases in flexibility and adaptability within the larger project delivery environment. The PM, and his colleagues, were worried there would be no place for them in the organization if it became more agile, and he couldn’t see any indication that agile expansion was slowing down.

I can understand this project manager’s concerns; he is witnessing the rapid expansion of a project delivery approach he has few skills in and little experience with. He and his colleagues found it easy to ignore—or perhaps even ridicule—agile when it was first introduced. Now that it is gaining traction, he fears they are viewed as unable or unwilling to be part of the process.

At the same time, the organization’s traditional project delivery techniques are evolving to embrace concepts like requirements uncertainty, increased amounts of project team-driven change and less robust focus on the triple constraint. It’s easy to see the source of worry; but with …

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