Project Management

Are We Agile Yet?

PMI New Jersey Chapter

Thomas (Tom) Betts is a Director Technical Program Management in the Supply Chain Logistics IT organization. Under his guidance, development teams provide a wide range of product enhancements and new functionality to support Supply Chain Operations. Tom had a variety of career experiences including leadership roles in Contracts, HR, Physical Logistics, and IT. He led many projects of various size and complexity.

Our ERP system and the hardware it ran on were aging. As it neared end of life, we created a project to replace it with more modern technology.

The original system was home grown over 20-plus years. Naturally, we struggled to get our hands around the scope of implementing its replacement. It was an overwhelming task. The system was complex, with diverse functionality and more nuances than business rules for processing transactions from contract to contract.

Our senior management team used the waterfall methodology to run its projects. Our project was expected to operate in the same fashion. Our PM tools and reporting templates were based on waterfall and earned value. Nothing was considered “done” until a complete workflow was usable.

Despite having functional software, we could not demonstrate very much progress against the plan. We were also still discovering requirements and continued to add to our scope. Our hole, and our frustration, grew deeper.

A project controller was assigned to help us conform to the waterfall method and company practices. The rate of change outpaced our ability to create and maintain a cohesive plan. Project management and team leads were simply unable to keep up with the administration of reporting activities. Due to the circumstances, several project controllers came and went (one even requested to be reassigned because of …

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