Project Management

In the Name Game, Agility Is the Goal

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 [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

“We’ve just committed to value stream management as an approach to planning and delivery but we are never going to use agile so I need help making value streams work in a completely waterfall environment.”

I wasn’t sure if I was being tested, and I didn’t want to insult a potential new client in our first meeting, so I gently offered that value stream management was seen as an agile concept (though its origins predate the Agile Manifesto by several decades). Surprised, he responded, “Well, let’s not tell anyone here because we just don’t do agile—we only use proper approaches because our projects are so important.”

A decade ago, I heard reluctance around agile more frequently and it didn’t make sense then. It’s like insisting on hitting a screw with a hammer because you don’t believe in screwdrivers. Refusing to embrace an alternative approach to project delivery when it was perfectly reasonable to use both approaches in parallel was simply naïve then. Today, I don’t know how organizations can survive without using agile for some of their discretionary investments.

I freely accept that some industries and organizations will continue to be dominated by traditional, plan-driven project delivery methods. And that’s as it should be, because for many of their projects that’s the most appropriate approach. But there will almost always some projects, even in those …

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"A behaviorist is someone who pulls habits out of rats."

- Anonymous