Skip To Content

steven.thomas's blog | Project Research Institute

steven.thomas's blog

Agile Experiments in Self-Organization

T Mengel's post Leadership in Project Environments suggested teams self-organize to cope with the increasing complexity of projects. For some time the Agile community has been experimenting with self-organization and empowerment generally. In this post describe some of the agile experiences with self-organization and highlight the danger of it becoming simply anarchy.

Empirical Project Management: Agile estimation and being "Done"

"Theory without empirical evidence to test it, is simply a story" (Alberts, 2011, p. 36). Alberts said this in the context of people's ability to estimate the probability of rare events but the observation equally applies to estimating in general. Teams using Lean-Agile take an empirical approach; they test and retest their plans with evidence of progress so that corrective action can be taken as soon as possible.

Managing Complexity with Agility

In a recent blog post Terry Williams challenged traditional project management's ability to deal with complex projects with high levels of uncertainty. To cope effectively with complexity, project managers must "be able to draw from a wide range of tools and ways of thinking to develop their own methods, their own patterns of practice, freely, according to the exigencies of the particular project" (Remington & Pollack, 2008). In other words, to manage complexity effectively, project managers need to be agile.

A Lean-Agile Perspective on Project Governance

Ole Jonny Klakegg posed the question, "what are the most important means of governance that might help us keep our projects aligned with strategic objectives" even as the objectives change? Because the Lean-Agile methods arose from a need to "embrace change" (Beck, 2000) some aspects of Lean-Agile can help answer that question. This is not to suggest that all Lean-Agile programmes/projects have sufficient governance, but if a Lean-Agile approach is applied with care then some "means of governance" are already present.

Why Lean-Agile is relevant to all Project Managers

Governance, uncertainty and complexity, under estimation and empowerment. All issues that concern project managers, at least judging by recent PRI blog entries. In this and subsequent posts I will attempt to show how the principles and practices of Lean-Agile Software Development offer creative solutions to general project challenges such as these, and thus are relevant to all project managers.

The Institute

The newly created Project Management Research institute provides a focus on collaborative research excellence in project management. Read more..