33 Lessons Learned During a 40-Year Career as an Agile Project Leader/Team Member in a Traditional Information Technology Environment

John Cleckner, PhD, PMI-ACP, PMP
Abstract
Based on 40 years of agile project experience, the author presents 33 lessons learned from over 350 projects. The projects were mostly information technology projects in traditional management environments, but also included moving a household and closing a company. Two representative projects are presented in detail as representative of the other projects: a three-dimensional budget system and a travel reimbursement system.

The lessons, categorized as strategic, leadership, or technical lessons, provide insight and some prescriptions to project teams on how to customize agile processes. Success is not automatic. The major conclusions are: 1) agile approaches can work in a traditional management environment, 2) additional roles or tasks may be needed, and 3) strong user support is necessary for the project team to prosper.

I. Introduction
Based on 40 years of agile project experience, the author presents 33 lessons learned from over 350 projects. The projects were mostly information technology projects in traditional management environments, but also included moving a household and closing a company. Two representative projects are presented in detail as representative of the other projects: a three-dimensional budget system and a travel reimbursement system.

The lessons, categorized as strategic, leadership, or technical lessons, provide insight and some …

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