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Agile “scrum’s down” with PRINCE2 ®

18 February 2015   |   Project Management, PRINCE2, Project Management, PRNCE2 Agile, Project Management

Prince2Are you wondering how to introduce Agile to your organization easily, without wasting all the effort and money that went into developing and embedding your current PRINCE2 based (or any other) project methodology in the first place?

Read on and find the answer.

Experienced PM’s know how to use Agile and PRINCE2.

Experienced project managers do not get fixated about any particular methodology. They know that they can take the most appropriate component or element from any method, whether it be PMBoK®, APM or PRINCE2 and apply it in an appropriate manner to the given situation.

This pragmatic approach is just as important when bringing Agile thinking into the business of delivering change. We need to take a big picture view and understand the strengths of traditional waterfall methods like PRINCE2, with the value proposition that an Agile approach offers. After all, successful project delivery to the satisfaction of all the stakeholders is the goal, rather than the rigorous conformance to a method.

By the way, PRINCE2 has an iterative technique tucked away in its process, but that’s another article.

Keep, Replace or Combine with PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 has been around in its current form since 1996 with many version updates. It works for any project of any size, as long as it is implemented by an experienced project office and driven by sensible managers. Many organizations are benefiting from it, and are now torn between wasting all the effort to get to this position, and implementing the enticing Agile project management approach.

You do not have to throw away the good stuff, you can keep the best components that you currently have and introduce and integrate Agile where it will make a meaningful difference. Do it carefully and follow these tips.

7 tips for introducing Agile into a PRINCE2 environment

These guidance points are not sequential.

  1. Introducing Agile is a culture adjustment that requires a thoughtful change engagement, so run it as a project with special emphasis on an encompassing and focused stakeholder engagement strategy.
  2. Adding to the point above, understand that your project customers will have to be fully involved as contributors to product delivery, and as key decision makers. Agile is not a silver bullet, if you currently struggle to get customer engagement, you may find it even more hurtful with Agile, so get that stakeholder engagement strategy in place. Your PMO should do it regardless of whether you are implementing Agile or not.
  3. Manage expectations; yours and your teams. Do not expect that the word “agile” leads immediately to improved speed to market, less process and reduced documentation. It won’t until you have harnessed the strengths of your current approach with those of Agile in a synergized approach.
  4. Research thoroughly. Decide which flavor of Agile you are going to apply and get trained on. I particularly like Agile PM™, based on the DSDM® (Dynamic System Development Method). It’s the easiest approach when aligning with PRINCE2 and other waterfall methods. It’s also the most mature Agile model, conforms strongly to the Agile manifesto, yet embraces sensible yet flexible governance.
  5. Get up-front training for all players including customers and project managers, especially the experienced ones whose command and control role is about to change. In particular, make sure all team members know how to use facilitation techniques to optimize and get results out of “stand up” agile meetings and workshops.
  6. Appoint champions who can act as Agile coaches, and get them or your PMO to capture lessons learnt and improve through a continuous improvement technique.
  7. Don’t try and apply agile to all projects, or even to all stages or phases of projects, you can mix up a waterfall and agile approach very successfully. You don’t need to apply Agile to all teams either.

Conclusion

AgilePM’s fresh thinking can be aligned very successfully with existing waterfall approaches to achieve desired improvements in project management. You do not need to run all your projects using Agile, you will find that Agile will be more appropriate where change is frequent, unpredictable and requirements are not clearly understood up front. Agile will work where there is a reasonably mature level of project management, a strong desire for delivery improvement, with senior management support, in the IT or any other area, for private and public sector projects.

Trademarks

  • APMG-International Agile Project Management (AgilePM) is a trade mark of The APM Group Limited
  • PRINCE2® is a registered trademark of Axelos
  • DSDM® is a registered trademark of Dynamic Systems Development Method Consortium

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