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How can Agile solve the lack of executive support?

Executive support is a critical success factor. How Agile can solve the lack of interest from Sponsor (Product Owner)?
As an Agile PM what would you do if the CIO (your boss) wants the project to fail?
This is a real situation that I experienced, not an philosophical question.
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Stelian -

Agile is not a silver bullet to slay fundamental project management werewolves such as the lack of support from a sponsor. Regardless of the delivery approach, if fundamental prerequisites such as sufficient funding, team member capacity or committed sponsorship are lacking, a project will fail.

The only difference with an agile approach is that the impact of the issue might become evident earlier...


You need your sponsor on board or there is no project ! In your agile project, you need the Product Owner engaged and committed completely.
The biggest factors in the success of an Agile Project is Collaboration and Communication and the selling point is something "tangible" at the end of each sprint.
Maybe you could start with a presentation to your sponsor on how Agile can benefit the company through collaboration, team work, reduction of time to market , maintaining a competitive age ...maybe they will agree to come on the journey with you.

Not sure if a solution, but openness, transparency, and iterative inspect & adapt activities can surely support active and proactive buy-in along with additional interest and excitability.

When you say your CIO was looking for failure, do you mean as in thinking outside the box and not blindly following the status quo without a fear of mistakes [failure]?

Simply put, it cannot.

Is your CIO the sponsor, a stakeholder with a personal agenda?

If your boss/CIO is the sponsor, you work with you boss to plan how to close the project.

If your boss/CIO is a stakeholder with a personal agenda, tread carefully. I'm not sure the "right" approach can be identified without asking a lot more questions and a fair amount of dialog to truly understand the situation.

I'm not sure how to answer your original question. Following an Agile process/methodology/framework doesn't turn a bad idea into a good idea. If the project is a good idea, and you can break up the work into smaller deliverables that can be delivered quickly and will add value quickly, using an Agile process/methodology/framework, you have a starting point for the discussion. If your starting point is "we're going to use Agile," there's a good chance you've already failed.

There is no silver bullet as Kiron pointed out already.
You can only reestablish support through gaining trust. In this respect, the agile practise of continuous stakeholder involvement in regular (monthly or shorter planned) sprint reviews and demonstrating working product functionality in line with joint agreed DoD can help.

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