Project Management

Agile Leaders, Business Leaders (Part 1)

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.

I’m old enough to remember when agile first came along in its current iteration and was roundly ridiculed by people who considered themselves project professionals. It was too niche, it was unprofessional, it was never going to be accepted, there was no planning and no risk management, it was impossible to know how much work cost or when it would be delivered. The list of criticisms was seemingly endless.

And then agile started to deliver results. That didn’t stop the criticism, but it did change it: It’s fine for software development, but you can’t use it anywhere else. It’s okay for small IT projects, but it will never be accepted for strategic business work. And then agile started to deliver results beyond IT and software development.

Over time, with varying levels of grace, agile was accepted for what it was, and what it is today—a mainstream, alternative way of delivering discretionary work that is ideally suited to certain types of that work. But, at least in many organizations, it has remained somewhat separate from more traditional ways of delivering projects. Most project professionals remain either agile or waterfall based, rarely both. Most PMOs still have challenges integrating agile into their environments, and there are still a lot of problems experienced when establishing and monitoring metrics across both traditional and…

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"[Musicians] talk of nothing but money and jobs. Give me businessmen every time. They really are interested in music and art."

- Jean Sibelius, explaining why he rarely invited musicians to his home.