Viewing Posts by Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin
By Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin
Agile and traditional PM: for most organizations, it can’t be either/or. Both/and is the way to go.
If you had been a fly on the wall during the early meetings of a team that met weekly last May to update the PM Maturity Model, you would have heard quite a bit of passionate talk about how – or if! – project management and agile can work together.
“But that’s not pure agile …”
“Oh, brother. I knew somebody was going to say ‘pure agile.’”
You’ve been there, probably. But our task on that team was to find a way to help organizations that have attempted a hybrid path to gauge how that “agile transformation” is going, alongside of measuring the more traditional process maturity. And, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
The impetus for this dual update/revision was twofold: we were responding partly to the needs expressed by some clients of our consulting practice, and partly to the strong trend we saw in our 2018 research study, The Adaptive Organization. That study indicated that the most successful organizations were pursuing a hybrid strategy for adding agility to their projects. It also showed that those organizations who were having the most success with agile projects also scored high in traditional PM capability. Hmm. That would seem to indicate that a marriage between these two is not only possible, but beneficial. And, given the focus in the new PMBOK Guide, 7th Edition on results, not processes, it would seem the time is right to ramp up a dialogue about how we can use everything that works to bring home the best business outcomes.
Join the Discussion on 25 March at 10:45 a.m. ET
Are you interested in learning more about how we bridged this divide in the new maturity model? While the model itself is already in use, and the book based on it is scheduled to be released in April by CRC Press, I look forward to sharing my experience and answering your questions along with my colleague, Sydni Neptune, one of the Agile SMEs from the team. Should be fun! Join us by registering today for PMXPO. This event is complimentary for PMI members; non-members can attend for $29 and take advantage of the full suite of live and on-demand offerings.
By Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin
2020! That’s it - my whole argument for more agility in organizations. The PMO can play an outsized role in helping organizations become more resilient, nimble, and adaptive in uncertain times. But how do you know where to start, or if your strategy for adding agility is sound? Luckily, The State of Project Management 2020 research study provides PMOs with a checklist of the practices used in high-performing organizations.
A little backstory: in 2018, in response to the new Sixth Edition of the PMBOK® Guide’s fresh emphasis on agile and adaptive environments, we conducted a study to determine the adoption rate of agile/adaptive practices, and see if we could get a handle on which of those practices organizations were finding most useful. The resulting report, The Adaptive Organization, identified the practices that were most often used in “high-performing organizations” – those that scored in the top quartile of the study respondents based on an array of ten organizational performance measures.
Flash forward to early 2020, before we knew what a testing ground of agility this year would prove to be. In January, we asked respondents in a new study, The State of Project Management 2020, which of those adaptive and agile practices they were using in their PMOs. By the time the study results were published in April, the world was smack in the middle of a crisis that would require adaptive strategies more than ever.
One finding that surprised us was that not only were PMOs in high-performing organizations in the study more agile, but they scored far higher on every single adaptive or agile practice we had identified! In the space of just two years, our study population had gone from experimenting cautiously with a few agile or adaptive practices, mostly in hybrid environments, to adopting full-scale agile/adaptive approaches. The most stunning difference was in the area of training and development, where PMOs in high-performing organizations were training three to four times more than less-successful organizations, and on a wider slate of topics (see graphic), as well as providing mentoring, coaching, and other development services to their organizations.
PM Solutions Research. (2020) The State of Project Management 2020. Chadds Ford, PA: PM Solutions, Inc., p. 8.
If you are interested in learning more, please attend my presentation, “Today's PMO: Agility Required!,” on 9 December at 10:20 a.m. EST (UTC-5) in the PMI Virtual Experience Series event and rate your PMO on the identified “lucky 13” agile/adaptive practices. Take part in the question and answer period with me and the rest of the PM community, and receive a full-data copy of the 2020 research study that you can use to compare your organization with high performers and craft a path to agility.
Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin is Editor-in-Chief of PM Solutions Research, and a contributor to over 20 books on project management, including the PMI Literature Award winner, The AMA Handbook of Project Management (with Paul Dinsmore.) She received a Distinguished Contributions Award from PMI in 2007.