Can Agile Work in a Consulting Structure?

From the Voices on Project Management Blog
by , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.

About this Blog


View Posts By:

Cameron McGaughy
Marian Haus
Lynda Bourne
Lung-Hung Chou
Bernadine Douglas
Conrado Morlan
Kevin Korterud
Peter Tarhanidis
Vivek Prakash
Cyndee Miller
David Wakeman
Jen Skrabak
Mario Trentim
Shobhna Raghupathy
Roberto Toledo
Joanna Newman
Christian Bisson
Linda Agyapong
Jess Tayel
Rex Holmlin
Ramiro Rodrigues
Taralyn Frasqueri-Molina
Wanda Curlee

Recent Posts

Mix & Match

Agile Evolves

3 Tips to Enhance Your Leadership IQ

3 Tips for Becoming a Better Listener—and a Better Project Manager

Maximizing the Value of Agile

I recently attended my first PMI global congress and was struck by how many of the ideas presented confirmed my current thinking. I also learned new techniques and angles to consider for the issues I face daily in a non-traditional project management environment.

In John Stenbeck's session, "Agile PM Mastery in 60 Minutes, Guaranteed!" he had a fantastic way of boiling down the essentials and explaining them in a way that traditionally trained project managers easily understand. 

Many agile proponents will tell you that the methodology will work within almost any environment that traditional waterfall methodologies will fit. In fact, there's one comment on my previous post suggesting that the issues that I've described -- like needing faster time to market and the ability to address fluid requirement -- would be addressed by implementing agile.
I see a big gap, though: staffing. Agile works best when you have a dedicated team for the life of the project -- or at least the sprint.
But many "consulting-structured" organizations rely on their ability to maximize cost benefits by pooling resources. This means assigning one person to two or more projects at a time. That strikes me as a big issue for an agile team structure.

So, in a non-traditional environment with team members who aren't always dedicated to one project, what are your options in terms of attempting to implement agile?  

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Posted by Geoff Mattie on: November 02, 2010 12:51 PM | Permalink

Comments (4)

Please login or join to subscribe to this item
Not in my experience. In working on agile projects I tend to manage project resources on an iteration by iteration basis. Halfway through each iteration the resources are projected for the upcoming iteration and the resource management pool is constantly changing to meet the needs of the product development efforts.

Not to me either. AGILE is about executing the projects with the scope and team that are at least fixed for the sprint as you said. However in consulting mode, I really wonder if we could make a backlog or scope freeze for the sprint.

Also consulting is totally individualistic while AGILE preaches the team empowerment and better team utilization.

Possibly each consultant could take all his/her individual points and try to have a look at them as backlogs and try to work SPRINT for himself. I doubt whether it will work.

Manoharan Vivek
Yes it works, when individualistic approach for the backlogs and holistic flexible approach on the resource management is concerned.

Clarity on the resources roles & responsibility and the rate of acclimatization of the resources pooled into the project makes the difference.

I recognise the problem. I try to organise projects around expertise, creating a team that can work on a set of projects. Besides appointing a senior analyst representing the business may work, although this is survey not an Agile principle.

Please Login/Register to leave a comment.


"One never needs their humor as much as when they argue with a fool."

- Chinese Proverb