Agile Project Management: A Solution to the Changing Project Landscape
By Sandra VanWyk-Fancher
You’re a born Project Manager: you love lists, you live to organize and plan, and you enjoy evaluating risks and alternatives. Even the family holiday dinner brings out assignments and due dates.
So when the environment changes and there are new rules to being a successful Project Manager, how do you adapt? The number of professionally trained PMs keeps growing, yet our project success rate remains the same. We need to rethink our approach. If we can’t adapt to increasing complex projects, we will fail.
The changing project landscape calls for alternatives beyond the traditional Waterfall approach. One promising alternative is Agile Project Management. I recently attended a PMI class that taught us “old timers” how to adapt to innovative processes.
The best advice is project manage your project management! Waterfall is perfect for projects that have low variability, low complexity and few unknowns. Construction and repeatable work fit best with the Waterfall approach. In contrast, Agile works best when complexity and uncertainty is high.
Agile provides high visibility, lots of inspection points and the ability to change the scope based on status. Agile affords constant feedback and checkpoints to make sure you are on track, allowing you to define the uncertainty as you go.
As a Project Manager, your process changes, your team structure changes and your lifecycle changes. Rather than focusing on the planning (as with the traditional model), Agile Project Management focuses more on the execution phase. The triple constraint is replaced with meeting business objectives and speed to market. Agile welcomes in high bandwidth of communication and active problem solving, which helps to find defects right away.
Sandra Van Wyk-Fancher, PMP – Vice President of Operations of Geonetric.
Sandra is dedicated to the success of Geonetric’s clients, overseeing and managing their initiatives and innovations from kickoff through launch. With more than 15 years experience, she leads the client services team working with them to develop new methods for optimizing engagements, including product planning, communication and strategic planning, site content planning, project management, quality and coding standards. Sandra is a certified Project Management Professional and SCRUM Master.