What is agile and Agile Project Management

Agile! A project management methodology, a product delivery method, a philosophy, an indication that an organisation wishes to deliver at an increased pace?

It would currently appear that Agile or even agile can be any of the above and more in the domain of project management. In many ways it would appear to be much like ice cream, in that there are many flavours which you can either buy off the shelf or create to your own particular recipe.

Agile with a Small a

Is a way of describing a state of mind or an approach to undertaking and completing a task; hence we have seen agile project practitioners for many years, skilled practitioners identified by their ability to be nimble and think quickly on their feet. In the same way we have had organisations who have been seen to be agile because of their ability to react to customer requirements or changes in their marketplace. Business agility is also something that many organisations have striven to achieve. So ‘agile’ is not new to project management nor businesses, its use in the “Agile Manifesto” was just a variant of its use.

Agile Software Development

A philosophy which emerged from a meeting in Utah in February 2001 where seventeen people met to discuss their desire for an alternative to documentation driven, heavyweight software development processes. The meeting represented a number of programming streams including Extreme Programming, SCRUM, DSDM, Adaptive Software Development, Crystal, Feature-Driven Development, Pragmatic Programming, and others. Their work culminated in the “Manifesto for Agile Software Developmenta very specific area of delivery and something that can often be found as a work-stream within a programme or project.

The interesting point, which is often missed, is that this was positioned as a philosophy, not a prescriptive method; that came later as training, product and membership organisations attempted to monetize the opportunity that this “new wave of thinking” offered.

Agile Project Management

Is a sub-set of project management techniques (and language) which can be applied to programmes and projects that are applying some agile techniques.  A plethora of training courses have appeared to teach project managers how to do this and how agile fits into their traditional methods and processes.

However, within “Agile Software Development” according to many advocates there is no such role as project manager in their organisation structure. For example many who apply SCRUM work with three primary roles, that of Product Owner, Scrum Master and the Team who divide up the management tasks between them.

Our research however suggests that many organisations have not implemented a methodology that is 100% Agile as it is not applicable, nor does it offer a suitable structure for the total management of all work-streams within their programmes or projects. Many settle on some form of “Wagile” which is tailored to their own environment and within this many of the traditional project management roles survive, even if they have new titles.

In other organisations where there is no software development, ‘agile project management’ is used to drive a less formal and process bound application of methodologies and techniques to enable programmes and projects to be delivered in a “small a” agile way.

Some Typical Agile Project Management Roles We Recruit:

  • Product Managers
  • Delivery Managers
  • Engagement Managers
  • Agile Project Managers
  • Digital Project Manager
  • Digital Delivery Manager
  • Transformation Manager
  • Agile Project Planner
  • Agile Business Analyst


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