Project Management

Agile Leaders, Business Leaders (Part 2)

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.

In the Part 1 of this two-part series, I looked at current business leaders and explored the need for those functions to embrace agility if they are to drive business success as well as they need to. In this concluding part, I’m going to look more specifically at people involved with agile execution—because they too are rapidly becoming business leaders. The problem? Not everyone is recognizing it.

In recent years, I (and many others) have suggested that project managers need to become more focused on enabling business results to be achieved rather than simply focusing on the successful completion of the project’s deliverables. That’s starting to happen, but it still tends to be focused on traditional project delivery environments where “on benefit” is beginning to take over from “on time, on scope and on budget.”

When I asked an executive why that same business focus wasn’t being extended to agile initiatives, his response was that because agile teams collaborated with customers to ensure that the best solution was provided to them, that amounted to enabling business performance anyway.

While there may be some element of truth to that—particularly for his company where customers of agile initiatives were primarily internal—it’s still a bit of an oversimplification.

Agile is being aligned with …

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"We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again, and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore."

- Mark Twain