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Corporate Partner seminar - Agile in Real Life

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Corporate Partners of APM put their questions on agile to an expert panel at a recent virtual event - Agile in Real Life.

APM welcomed four panellists from different industry sectors to share their expertise. These included Susan Clarke, an IT programme director in the pharmaceutical sector, Kish Virji, a programme manager at Fujitsu, Vicky Reddington, co-founder of the Amplified Group and Andrew Wain, director of programme management and controls, UK&I at AECOM.

The event enabled representatives of APM’s corporate partners to discover more about agile ways of working and how to apply them. It also served as a valuable networking opportunity for senior project professionals whose organisations are driving change.

Questions included:

If you are looking to implement agile, what do you implement first, processes or the tools - as there are often conflicting priorities and people asking for everything at once?

Kish Virji responded to this question saying: “It’s important for people to understand what agile means to them and set a common view on it, as people coming into the project may have a different flavour of it.  People need to establish what elements of agile is important to them and build from there.”

How do you know if your company is ready for agile?

Vicky Reddington responded saying: “It’s about having the mindset that you are able to adapt to change, and recognising that change is going to happen. It’s also the importance of people and leaders being authentic, and recognising that they don’t have all the answers, and developing trust and relationships with others.

Susan Clarke added: “Often agile maturity starts from the bottom up, rather than starting with the entire organisation, it’s easier to implement agile by starting small and breaking it down by department or function.”

What structural changes would the panel recommend making to a traditional programme governance framework in order to support agile ways of working?

Andrew Wain commented on this question by saying: “You need to look at the strategic objectives of the programme, and whoever is funding the project, and what they care about. For example, is it time constraints, or focus on the customer?  You need to look at all the variants. When it comes to governance and putting in the control framework, you put in whatever is required to avoid the things you are concerned about but to meet your strategic objectives.”

Other questions included:

How do you work effectivity using a hybrid model, and is it possible to do successfully?

What is the PMO going differently in agile?

As well as answering questions, the panel also shared their own tips and insights into managing expectations in an agile environment and implementing agile effectively.

Rebecca Fox, head of membership at APM, who hosted the seminar said: “It’s hugely important to us to support our corporate partners by providing opportunities to engage with their peers, keep abreast of emerging trends and ask questions to thought leaders.

“The seminar was really well received and gave our partners the opportunity to hear from a number of industry experts.”

If you weren’t able to attend, the full recording of the seminar is available here.  


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