Shouldn't we ALL be agile project managers?

From the Easy in theory, difficult in practice Blog
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My musings on project management, project portfolio management and change management. I'm a firm believer that a pragmatic approach to organizational change that addresses process & technology, but primarily, people will maximize chances for success. This blog contains articles which I've previously written and published as well as new content.

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I always get a kick out of online discussions referencing agile project managers as if those are some special subset of the project management population!

Yes, there certainly are agile delivery methodologies and adaptive project lifecycles and some project managers might gain greater experience in those, but what might some of the characteristics of an agile project manager be?

  • Their primary focus is on delivering value at the optimal pace of change absorption by their customers and key stakeholders.
  • They know that the secret sauce to project success is people first.
  • They don't follow process for process sake and recognize that tailoring is as relevant to project practices as it is to clothing.
  • They embrace Robert K. Greenleaf's teachings on servant leadership.
  • They recognize that a good solution today beats a great solution two years from now.
  • They accept that changes will occur and they steer their projects to take advantage of these changes rather than rigidly resisting them.
  • They favor face-to-face communication and embrace transparency in their reporting.
  • They promote a sustainable pace of work as they acknowledge that projects are marathons and not sprints.
  • They promote psychological safety within their teams and model the behavior they expect from their team members.
  • They instill a culture of continuous improvement in their teams by helping them reflect regularly on what's working well and what could be tweaked.

The attributes in the list above should be applicable to any project manager in any industry managing projects using any type of lifecycle.

So why wouldn't you want to be an agile project manager?

 

Posted on: March 04, 2018 10:04 AM | Permalink

Comments (15)

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Very good article Kiron.

The list of agile characteristics are spot on.

I was not a fan of agile at one time, but now I'm sold on it. I mix agile with waterfall and lean to create a hybrid approach to deliver a project.

They ensure quality and transparency.

Thank you Kiron for a great article.

Thanks Drake & Najam - not sure that this will put an end to the debate about agile vs. non-agile PMs, but I had to try!

Good Points Kiron. We try to go Agile in our real estate developments but in manu areas, it is difficult to apply agile to large construction jobs. What do you think ?

Interesting Kiron. I would question however (and have before on this forum) that the servant-leader approach doesn't and shouldn't work well in the Military, especially in times of war or combat operations. In construction project as Rami mentioned, it is definitely a case of processes and tools over individuals and interactions, the reverse of the Agile manifesto ;-)

Thanks Rami - specific agile practices and/or methodologies may not fit the needs of a given project, but a PM can still be agile in the way they work and how they interact with their team and stakeholders.

Thanks Sante - situational leadership is key, regardless of the nature of a project, but a good military leader will not ignore the well being of their troops.

Kiron

Great insight on Agile!
Let's accept the continuous improvement, adaptive planning and early delivery.

Thanks, Kiron.

Good points, Kiron.
Agile provides more visibility and transparency.

Well Kiron, I guess there are many occasion where agile would not be the perfect choice. Some of the points are applied without knowing it is under agile framework because they are universal practices.

how would agile practices work in automobile industry??
Agile aproch is really productive however it is vaulable for the Research & Development project where requirements are about to change.

Nice article.

Very interesting article, thanks

Absolutely Kiron, Agile mindset is taken the world by storm and its more adaptive in nature however combination of techniques gives more greater perspective and approach to any given projects.

Thanks for the awesome article

Very intersting post. Thanks. I agree with you, if you consider the Agile as a guideline to approach your project and your projec team. But if you stricly apply the Agile methodology, that is not easy to be performed in all the PMO/project situations/enviroments (for example Production/Manufacturing, Finance, Internal Audit).

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