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Is Agile the “Magic Solution” for Project Success?

30 September 2015   |   Project Management, Agile PM, Project Management, PRNCE2 Agile, Programme Management, Project Management

Agile the latest buzzword; the new hype. Is it time for a PRINCE2 Agile combination?

As an experienced PRINCE2® and AgilePM™ trainer, I have recently come across rather scary interactions with my delegates that indicates that their employers think Agile is going to magically resolve any issues faced in the past when it comes to successful project delivery.

Nothing can be further from the truth.

Since the introduction of PRINCE2 to South Africa in 2000, the annual uptake has increased dramatically, and similar to larger global markets the PRINCE2 qualification has been sought after in both the public as well as private sectors. A difference between the South African and global markets however is the ability of organizations to sensibly embed the method into their project environments.

The above situation as well as a number of maturity assessments indicates that project management maturity levels are rather low with only some pockets of excellence to be found. It is as a result of these low maturity levels that most organisations are struggling to successfully deliver their change initiatives, and senior management within these organisations believe that Agile will somehow fix what they have been struggling with for the past decades.

The assumption is that where traditional approaches and even PRINCE2 have failed (according to them), Agile is now the answer to address these failures.

Not so.

Mature organisations will realise that both PRINCE2 and Agile have significant strengths and that the answer to successful project management is not encapsulated within one OR the other, but rather which is more suitable for a particular context. PRINCE2 has embedded the strengths of project direction and project management into one framework, never overly focussing on the area of product delivery and thus allowing for delivery teams to decide how best to deliver the project. This in essence already allows for the incorporation of Agile delivery approaches into PRINCE2. It is with this build in flexibility that PRINCE2 is highly suitable to incorporate an Agile way of working.

The combination of PRINCE2 and Agile (which we call PRINCE2 Agile™) must be seen as a blend and a mixture rather than choosing PRINCE2 or Agile. The implication is that Agile disciplines and behaviours need to be integrated seamlessly into the PRINCE2 ethos of staying in control by empowering people and ensuring that the project remains viable. You can also have Agile run projects and PRINCE2 (or any other method) run projects running in the same organization.

This blend of PRINCE2 and Agile is illustrated in the figure below.

The illustration clearly shows that Agile does not equate to magic. Decision makers need to be aware that they face ongoing frustration if they embrace Agile as a total solution to their woes.

Find out about a new qualification: Axelos launches PRINCE2 Agile ™.

Written by Corrie Jordaan 

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