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Directing Agile Change, 14th October 2015

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The APM Governance SIG and Enabling Change SIG combined to hold an evening event on Agile projects in London. Presentations were jointly given by Roger Garrini who is currently one of the authors of the proposed Guide on Directing Agile Change and Parag Gogate a committee member of the Enabling Change SIG.  The event aimed to show the different perspectives of Agile working. The event was held at the ETC venue in Hatton Garden with a large and lively audience of some 50 delegates.

 Martin Samphire the Chair of the APM Governance SIG, started proceeding by setting the scene that Agile working is becoming more common and is seen by some as the silver bullet for project success. 

The speakers began by referring to the well-known reasons for project success. This highlights governance and preparatio, and reinforces the growing view that cannot be ignored that good governance and careful planning for change were keys to success in projects. Each briefly explained what their SIGs aim to do. For Governance Roger explained the role of the APM Governance SIG and its objective to influence those in positions of power in organisations to adopt good governance practices. He further stated that the three Governance documents already published are widely accepted as the benchmark and the new guide is aimed at agile projects governance highlighting some differences.

Parag in turn commented on the structure of the Enabling SIG and its work breakdown structures. In both cases, collaborative behaviour was the order of the day.  Both presenters shared a view of the differences between Agile and Waterfall styles of working. Highlighting the collaborative and incremental nature of agile work, they then explained the difference between traditional governance projects and programmes and the impact of Agile on change principles. This set the scene for the work of the evening.

It was the turn of the audience to workshop  two questions and establish  the key behaviours and any changed emphasis for agile change:

  • in the shoes of a board director / portfolio manager
  • in the shoes of a project manager / change manager

Two groups addressed each question highlighting the number attending.

Their conclusions were broadly:

From Board Members these highlighted:

  • Trust  
  • A tolerance of failure and failing fast to learn
  • Encouragement and nurturing the agile culture

From Project Managers:

  • Trust
  • Not shooting the messenger
  • Priorities
  • Customer at the centre
  • Risk reducing

Generally it was agreed that the behaviours discovered are really those considered normal behaviour and good practice for either set of roles but phrased in a more collaborative, dynamic and  incremental environment. The results will be fed into the new work of both SIGs.

The event finished with a brief statement of near future work and events from each SIG.
The slides can be viewed below or on the APM Resources page of the website.

Roger Garrini
Governance committee


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