Project Management Offices only exist within organizations that follow very structured, formalized methodologies. At least this is the information that we are provided or is accepted as a common belief. In many cases, this is indeed the case. In an Agile environment, the speed at which things occur can be very quick and is more concentrated on successful outcomes instead of worrying about bureaucratic red tape, which is normally the staple of the PM, which tend to slow things up. This does not have to be the case. The PM does not have to only operate in environments with a pure waterfall epicycle.
It can easily operate well within incremental lifestyles such as agile. Each lifestyle is different but they all still require governance, controls and quality of standards to be maintained which is managed by the PM. With this in mind, it begs the question, Nathan are the challenges faced by the PM when working with Project Managers and development teams in an agile environment? ” 2. 0 Issue Detail 2. 1 Description There has been much written about the benefits of an agile development environment and it is recognized that agile teams deliver higher quality exults more consistently and faster that those following traditional methodologies.
The role of the PM in this agile world has been very much absent in many conversations. This lack of inclusion is primarily because of the historic definitions and understanding of the different roles of a standard project. Development teams often see the PM as a bureaucratic team that create barriers instead of providing support despite the fact that the PM is critical in playing an important role in the managing of expectations for a broader audience. All of the members, the development team, project managers and the PM share a common goal.
They want to deliver projects and application that are accepted as successes but often times their methods seem to interfere with each other. As mentioned before, you often find that developers consider Amos to be bureaucratic roadblocks to their success, and even more so in an agile environment. Amos see developers as unable to follow directions or as rouge cowboys. In the middle you find Project managers, attempting to satisfy both the development team and the PM, but always get caught in the cross hairs.
Being at opposite ends of the picture creates conflict, and we seem to not be moving in the direction of removing these contentions. All teams deliver value to this process and removing any of the components is not a feasible solution, so we need to figure out how the PM can be an integral part of the agile development process. “Collaboration be;en Ammo’s and development teams can work but organizations need to understand the core issues before they can begin to address them” 1. I believe that among the issues that Ammo’s face today when dealing with an agile environment is that the PM focus is too narrow or traditional.
There is also a lack of trust in the project managers to relay updated and accurate information to the PM and a lack of focus on strategic support by the Ammo’s. According to a Forrester survey from April 2011 (see Figure 1 Amp’s support a limited set of methodologies that often are classic or traditional ones. With more and more development teams using agile methods successfully, this narrow focus on traditional methodologies that Ammo’s have, highlight the disconnect that stands in the way of what development teams need to be successful and what PM leaders strive to deliver.
If guru If you ask the PM, what is one of the biggest challenges they deal with when working with project managers, one of their responses will relate to trust and honesty. Often the PM believe they are not getting realistic information from their M’s or that the M’s struggle to manage realistic delivery cycles. Project Managers again are getting caught in between wanting to please the PM by not wanting to deliver a negative status report. When the M’s feel that they lack authority to control the situation, they will often times sugar coat the projects real scenario.
Lastly, Ammo’s work best when they are roving strategic support, offering advisory assistance, training, educating and trying to keep constraints to a minimum. “In reality this is not always a luxury that Ammo’s have as they tend to have to add additional responsibilities of managing projects as well. This often takes time away from more strategic activities that support the project team and build support systems for project managers. “2 2. 2 Strategic Impact An organizations strategy should not significantly change when trying to fit the PM into an agile framework. A PM provides many key components to an organization including governance, compliance, risk management, entering, and financial, planning, change and resource management. Are these things only needed in a waterfall environment? Of course not, it is also used and needed in an iterative and agile lifestyles, so what is the difference? ‘3 It is simply a matter of balance, the lifestyle will determine the amount of each that is needed and which component is required is controlled by the PM. Compromise is needed and in the case of agile, you see this compromise with a slightly slower approach.
Changes are required, but they should not be so great that it requires an organization to make significant tragic modifications. 2. 3 Stakeholders To me the problems are quite clear with respect to Ammo’s adapting to an agile environment. Each of the key stakeholders in the organization experiences a different impact to how they operate. While developers, project managers, and the PM do have common goals, their methods and audiences differ. Developers want to meet the needs of their project stakeholders and customers. Developers see the day-to-day changes in a project and understand when the project status changes.
They are aware of how scope or technical changes affect delivery dates, and they understand how to work wrought them. All of this is part of the agile environment and they understand how to manage their work within the framework. Amos must satisfy multiple sets of stakeholders. Executives and multiple project stakeholders look to the PM for information. While some Amos have hands- on project managers, many are not involved in daily project management but need to be able to compare and report progress on multiple projects.
They look to standards in reporting to provide confidence in their project portfolio’s status. Project managers end up getting stuck in the middle. They just manage dates, progress, and expectations from both sides. Good project managers seek to remove the barriers that affect their teams, but if they are dealing with unrealistic expectations, they find this impossible to manage. The customers and sponsors want what they want when they want it, and organizations provide project managers with incentives to meet their needs, regardless of the politics above or the chaos below.
All of these components need to find harmony within an agile environment and this becomes difficult when the PM focus is too narrow or traditional; there is a jack of trust in the project managers to relay updated and accurate information and a lack of focus on strategic support by the Ammo’s. 3. 0 Alternatives Today, Amos must look beyond traditional practices to recognize and incorporate changes to development practices. Amos must look at more than just project planning; they must also integrate development and test activities to manage the continual change inherent in Agile practices.
There is no reason to be behind the times. In 201 1, the IMP introduced an agile project management professional (PM) certification. To work toward updating the MAMBO, it has also formed an agile council to examine how agile best practices align with the MAMBO framework. The updated framework will provide management and reporting methods that support more-iterative development practices while still providing information the PM needs to manage consistent, standard practices. Both the PM and development teams want to succeed.
Development organizations may balk at what they perceive as needless administrative overhead, but there are ways to create information that meets both sides’ needs. Organizations should consider adopting application development management tools or agile project management tools to enable developers to work in their familiar environment while still delivering necessary data for PM status reporting. Changing the PM paradigm is not enough. There must be a unified voice and to do this there must be trust.
There is no better way to build trust that with open dialog and good communication. Amos have to take the first Step to build that trust and to establish that dialog. If a fix of the trust issue is desired, the PM must set the tone and try to bring project managers into the fold. Amos must be support center and centers of excellence that helps, not censures, reject managers. Creating a safe environment for project managers to believe that they need to provide quality and accurate information is an important task that the PM should undertake.
PM team members know when projects are in trouble, they see projects go from green to yellow. PM managers should find out why a project is behind schedule or over budget. They can and should offer support and provide project checkpoints to help navigate rough project waters. Often valid reasons diffuse concerns, but if there are real problems, the PM should support project managers and help hem reset sponsor expectations. 4. 0 Preferred Alternative believe in open communication, I believe in a shared idea.
I think that if you are going to make a shift in your organizational culture to embrace a new methodology, you will need to ensure that everyone is on the same page and the best way to do this is to establish trust and to have open and frank discussions about what the shared vision is. Building trust is a two-way street; Amos can bring collaboration and safe environments to the table, but project managers also have to sign on and agree to honest reporting. Executives must provide top-down support for transparency.
Executives cannot panic and point fingers when they see yellow or red traffic signals on their dashboards. Instead, everyone involved should look for the information behind the indicators. That is where the true value lies 5. 0 Conclusion Advocating an approach to Agile PM transformation that starts with the simple act of conversation is where this change begins. Organizations need an Agile PM that reflects their unique vision, talent and challenges. Fifth guidance is accepted and the PM and the organization embrace the change, hen you will see good changes six month out and well into the future.
Changes like a shift in culture. I believe we will see a less authoritative and more collaborative culture develop. In an agile PM you will see changes in management. I believe that you will see change in how management begins to want to understand motivations and desire open dialogs with their employees. “This change is not an easy one but it can be a very rewarding one.