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'Agile Governance' - a slim guide - Sprint 6

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The team of 30 (very dedicated) turned up again on the evening of 25th September for the 6th ‘sprint’ in the development of this guide.  Publication expected Q2 2015.

If you are interested in getting involved with this initiative please add your name to the APM mailing list by following this link.

David Lang of Barclays Wealth kindly welcomed the participants to the plush conference suite on the 30th floor of the Barclays Canary Wharf HQ. We have had some great hosts welcoming us into their offices in this series of meetings, including Ordnance Survey and HSBC.  

This meeting focussed on ‘P3O’ (Portfolio, Programme and Project level):

Brian Wernham (Governance SIG) on ‘The Agile Portfolio’. Brian gave a non-stop ‘pecha-kucha’ presentation where there are 20 slides, and each automatically moves on every 20 seconds.  A very demanding format that was great fun to rattle through – the big advantage is that you know that it will last no longer than 6 minutes and 40 seconds!   

Brian explored alternative portfolio prioritisation dimensions – notably:

o Look for a business case that explores options, rather than bombards the reader with spurious details and precision

o Look for low Work in Progress

o Look for Regular flow of delivery

o Look for Pilots with business value

The participants broke into groups in a very short exercise to prioritise four projects using these criteria – surprisingly, the project with the highest (promised) rate of return was the one that was least agile, and the one with the most reliable and regular benefits profile was deemed the most ‘agile’. Certainly a new perspective on which projects to back with limited resources…

Richard Pharro (CEO APMG) on ‘Agile Business Cases’. Richard is boss of one of the largest project management certification bodies in the world. The new ‘Better Business Cases’ qualification aims to reduce the risk of project failure. 

“Only 30% of our projects and programs are successful” say the US Government watchdog, the G.A.O., Richard explained that although the standards for better business cases have been around for a decade, they have been poorly adopted.  Better training and certification is the key to better business cases, and over 1,000 people have already completed certified courses to

o Establish a clear need for intervention -  the case for change.

o Set clear objectives – desired outcome

o Consider a wide range of potential solutions - an optimal balance of benefits, cost and risk.

o Put the arrangements in place to successfully deliver the proposal. Successful execution 


Mary Henson (CEO of the DSDM consortium) introduced Dr. Islam Choudhury (Ass. Professor Kingston University) who then explained the ‘DSDM’ project framework.  

DSDM has a venerable pedigree, pre-dating the Agile Manifesto by many years.  Recently it has been recognised as a useful project and framework, and Islam explained how it can provide a project layer around team level methods such as Scrum.  

Islam also explained how the DSDM Consortium have just issued guidance on using DSDM as a Programme Wrapper around Project and Team/Scrum level agile activities.

Doug Pollock facilitated the workshop, and Adrian Pyne sent apologies ahead as he was detained in a client meeting.



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