Programs & Projects

Programs & Projects

Planing is everything, the plan is nothing

 

The challenge

Change

In todays markets ever growing speed of innovation, agility becomes more and more crucial. As a consequence successful programs and projects need interaction and transparency, if they shall serve an environment that constantly needs to repivot its strategy.

Companies need to be flexible about how they run their projects and what methods to apply best (according to their business model or even better specific product). The challenge of integrating them in daily business operations also gains more and more significance today.

In an agile environment, where learning from mistakes of the past is a part of workflows and retrospectives, integration of new or adapted processes becomes lighter and less resisting.

 

Agile vs. waterfall

One often underestimated aspect of using agile frameworks, lays in the contradiction with the organisational surrounding environment where planing tightens product evolution to specific expected future outcomes. Project management therefore needs to think outside the box and face the challenge of agile vs. waterfall.

In the practical application, this contradiction needs to be addressed with sound analysis and choice of methods to create an environment in which both approaches can exist inside an organisation.

The paradigm shift that is necessary to undergo is the organisational wide understanding of how different the agile manifest works from waterfall oriented business culture.

 

Filling the gap

Frameworks vs. organisational change

The PRINCE2-Agile framework, for example, addresses this gap by extending the waterfall oriented classic PRINCE2 framework with partial adaption towards agile methods like SCRUM on the product development level.

This approach still leaves the organisation with the challenge of an incremental evolving product vs. the often tight expectations of the commissioning entities and it is therefore essential to foster the awareness of this matter inside the company.

As a consequence management often asks "but what am I getting then". The waterfall model with its specification phase will provide a blue print from the beginning while the agile way implies that this blueprint will change over time.


Minium Viable Product

The solution is, as so often, an agreement. By defining a so called minimum viable product, the parties define a base line of product attributes, which will fulfill the requirements of a valid planing artifact inside the organisational planing efforts. My advisory in this field is help defining iterative basic steps to engage in the process of agile requirement engineering and to find solutions for a smooth process transition, that helps maintain organisational existing structures, but at the same time gain advantages from iterative approaches. You will see the difference.