We recently spoke to Rick Morris of R2 Consulting about the fusion of agile methodologies, business processes and project management. Enclosed is an excerpt. Watch the full AgilityCast interview here.
Q: Why is business agility so important?
A: For so long, in project management, things seemed to take forever. By the time a project was finished we couldn’t really adapt to the market place. So, people started to focus on business agility through agile practices to respond to customer demand, changes in the workplace and the application market, where the time from idea to outcome has become so much faster that you have to react in a quicker way to stay relevant.
Q: Are you saying we should use agile in project management?
A: What I am seeing in the market place is what we call “agile theatre.” People are attempting to become agile but they are not looking at it from a top-down approach. They may be able to develop code faster but if they can’t release that code or get it out to the market faster, what good is it to develop faster. Now we can change what we are doing every quarter versus waiting a year to start a new project.
Q: Is the change to business agility slow?
A: It’s extremely slow. You are talking about a whole new way of looking at business and business practices. The command-and-control scenarios of most companies don’t allow for agility. That is why a lot of people have become frustrated. Agile isn’t new, it’s been around forever, but we are just now starting to operationalize it. The Empire State Building was actually done with agile: They did a floor a day.
Q: Should we use scrum teams and Kanban in project management?
A: It’s different. Project managers are scared of agile. Project managers are still trying to figure out how agile delivery fits into a Gantt chart. Where project managers need to focus now is on how to distribute resources and aligning to strategy and budget – letting some of that command and control go. We’re seeing project managers becoming more of strategically focused, understanding and balancing the portfolios versus getting into the details of the Gantt charts.
Q: What are the major benefits from business agility?
A: If you do it properly you’ll definitely see an increase in productivity and revenue. And the reason for that is most people look at projects and think they can do everything. What you end up doing are few projects well, with a lot of failures. If you can work on the right projects at the right time – that’s what portfolio management is all about. The problem with that approach two or three years ago was that every project was a yearlong. So, by the time you’d finished the project the business had changed.
Watch the full AgilityCast episode.
What's your take? Comment below or find me @alfzoo. Alf Abuhajleh works in CA PPM product marketing.