The dangers of Agile evangelism

We always look forward to the views expressed in the “Critical Path” spot in the APM’s project magazine, and John Rowley of TPM sounding off about the Agile evangelists is no exception.
Agile AllianceHe raises a concern that we share, and that is that some individuals like to grab hold of the latest ’toy’ believing that it will single-handedly fix all problems.  The ‘toy’ in question is Agile.  John rightly makes the point that Agile is a super tool for the project manager’s toolbox, but it is not the right tool for all projects.  We observe that a big danger for Agile (Let’s hope the Agile Alliance and their colleagues are thinking about this) is that it is the latest bandwagon which is being jumped on by the training companies who largely ruined the credibility of PRINCE2.  Clearly attempting to discredit one approach to project management in favour of another without considering the context is at best immature and at worst dangerous for both the project and the profession.
Here are the key points which John makes.
I just walked out of an Agile presentation. Not for the first time. This is getting tedious. Don’t get me wrong, I am enthusiastic about Aagile as a potential technique for project managers to use. Sometimes only an Agile approach will do, so I am certainly not against it. But why do people always feel they have to justify Agile by misrepresenting traditional (waterfall) approaches? The logic seems to be: “Some projects go badly therefore all projects using established approaches must go badly – therefore traditional project management must be ‘broken’.
The way these events go the presenters seem to be evangelising for a completely new approach across the profession (reinventing all aspects of project management to fit with their new belief system). 
It would be refreshing if they accepted the strengths of traditional methods, and the limitations of their own approach, and presented themselves as members of the project management profession, rather than as people who appear to want to overthrow it.  In fact many projects using traditional project management methods go remarkably well and in many areas performance is improving.  Indeed many projects might not fare so well if Agile were used.
So surely the message must be: “Project management is good but we need to continue to get better at it.  One way to get better is to understand when Agile (or other) approach may be appropriate, and know how to use it.”  We might then start to look like one profession, and not a collection of competing methods with each new ‘brand’ seeking to undermine the rest.
Project
If you like this Critical path and you are an APM member, make your way over to the APM website and take a look at some of the online archives, or indeed make sure you dip into your monthly Project magazine.  If not, why not join?

Project Management News Digest w45 2013

News DigestNew Project Collaboration Tool, Updatey in Beta

Updatey

The British RawJam team are going after 37Signals’ Basecamp space, with it’s new tool, Updatey, and judging by the Beta it looks good.

Updatey presentation is really simple, but it still packs a punch.  It’s focus is allowing the project team to visualise & track the progress of your projects, keeping new and existing team members updated both on the project timeline with milestones and the activity line.

Once you have put in your start date and some milestones your project is up and running.  You can then invite team members to join in, by posting and watching status updates and documents to the activity line.

Updatey

New PM Tool called Updatey

We’re using the Beta at present, with good first impressions, and will post a fuller review as the product develops.

Telerik Extend their Agile Project Management Reach

Telerik

Version 3.0 of TeamPulse now supports access to multiple data sources via a RESTful API

And Another Project Collaboration Tool – WorkZone

TechRepublic

Will Kelly looks at another collaboration tool, which appears to be another “me too”.

Project Managers – Use the Language of Your Audience

Business2Community

Norman Marks provides a salultory tale of the importance of communicating with your audience in their language.

The Integration of Agile and the Project Management Office

InfoQ

Peter Schmidt from ESI provides an insightful insight into the worlds of Agile and Waterfall working together in harmony for organisational benefit.

From To Do Lists to Managing Projects – The Path From Personal to Professional Management

ProjectAccelerator

An interesting observational from Lucian Ioan sees the journey of organisation:

Calendar

Get Organised

  • Know what to do and when
  • Prepare for battle
  • To mix or not to mix
  • GoPro
  • Less tools, more thinking

This is all good stuff, and if you also break the procrastination habit you’ll be suitably organised.

5 Quick Tips for Making Critical Thinking a Habit

PM Champion

  1. Have an open perspective
  2. Keep focused and avoid getting distracted
  3. Ask questions and provoke debate
  4. Learn to multi-task
  5. Control your stress

How to Make the Most of a Project Manager

Tech City News

Wise words concluding that “if you don’t employ a PM, it’s likely your project will still get delivered but at the cost of a lower profit margin, a less satisfied client and a more frazzled team. And who wants that?”.

How to Make Project Management a Learned Skill and Behaviour

TechRepublic

Will Kelly interviewed Dean Carlson, CEO of Viewpath, and Avinoam Nowogrodski, CEO of Clarizen, exploring he importance of project management becoming a learned skill and behavior for the entire project team.

Project Management News Digest w30 2013

Franklin PlannerQuantifying the Benefits of Consistent Project Management Practices
Project Management Makes Nonprofits More Agile and Effective
Project Management: Formula for Success
Yaron Sinai of Elementool introduces his 5 steps to successful projects
FranklinPlanner launch PM Forms for their popular planner system
What’s Best –  Social Task Management or PM Tools
An interesting assessment by TechRepublic
Clarizen adds 268 customers since March 2013, taking it over to 2000 worldwide
Deltek adds social tool to its popular PM Tool