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‘Agile Governance’ – a slim guide (sprint 6)

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 Barclay’s Wealth kindly welcomed the participants to the plush conference suite on the 30th floor of the Barclay’s 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 focused on ‘P3O’ (Portfolio, Program and Project level):

Brian Wernham (Governance SIG) on ‘The Agile Portfolio’.

Brian gave a non-stop ‘pecha-kucha’ presentation where there were 20 slides, which automatically moved on every 20 seconds. A very demanding format that was great fun to rattle through – the big advantage was that no presentation lasted more than 6 minutes and 40 seconds. Brian explored alternative portfolio prioritization dimensions – notably:

• Look for a business case that explores options, rather than bombards the reader with spurious details and precision.
• Look for low Work in Progress.
• Look for Regular flow of delivery.
• Look for Pilots with business value.

The participants broke into groups in a very short exercise to prioritize 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’. This certainly gave a new perspective on which projects to back especially with limited resources…

Richard Pharro (CEO APMG) spoke on ‘Agile Business Cases’.

Richard is CEO of one of the largest project management certification bodies in the world. He discussed the new ‘Better Business Cases’ qualification from APMG in conjunction with HM Treasury aims to reduce the risk of project failure.
“Only 30% of our projects and programs are successful” says 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, hence 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 recognized 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 has just issued guidance on using DSDM as a Program 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.
So, it was a very exciting and an insightful 6th Sprint. We host similar events regularly, and if you are interested in getting involved with this initiative please add your name to the APM mailing list by following this link.

This article has been written by Brian Wernham, Committee Member Governance SIG, Association for Project Management.

Posted in Agile.

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