Agile (Project) Management: NOT a contradiction
Nowadays, we see many discussions between the project management community and the agile community, often focussing on agile versus “traditional” (we prefer to call them waterfall or linear) approaches. In the project management community, we hear ideas like “agile is only a hype, it will pass”, or “we’ve been doing this for many years”, or “this is only useful for IT”. In the agile community we hear “In agile we don’t need (project) management”, or “project management is only about command and control” or “project management is not relevant to agile”.
As project managers, we have a tendency to gravitate towards a particular method or approach. We often learn and practise specific disciplines and use particular tools and techniques, and over time this becomes our default way of working. It also becomes our world-view and perspective, and in doing so, creates a frame of reference that we use to judge what we believe is the best way to do things.
Irrespective of whether we are strongly rooted in IT or another discipline, or are strongly rooted in agile or linear project management, each of us can acknowledge that there is more than one way to manage change successfully, and that given the nature of the change, we should use the most appropriate approach and tool for the job. Sometimes this may be an agile approach, and in other instances it may be traditional project management; it all depends on the circumstances. However, some people take the view that either an agile approach has no place, or that traditional project management doesn’t work.
We have ample experience that basic misconceptions are the root cause for these ideas; that they are, in fact, keeping us from developing better and stronger ways to enhance “project” success, thereby delivering more value to our customers. Which is arguably why we do what we do.
We don’t just believe that “agile development is THE way to develop”, nor do we believe exclusively in project management. We believe that, in the end, the key to success is people cooperating and interacting to provide customer value; and these people must be facilitated by processes, tools, techniques, governance etc. to be more successful.