Agile Programme Management: Where do I start?

Insights | 06 February 2018

Programmes are often cited as the means of transforming an organisation to a new way of working – be that in response to digital disruption, competitive pressures, regulatory requirements or new business models. Typically, a programme is made up of integrated projects or initiatives focussing on supplying one or more of the ‘pieces’ to complete the overall jigsaw. Programme management involves driving, monitoring and coordinating these projects and other activities to deliver required outcomes and realise benefits.

The programme shouldn’t, however, ‘dictate’ the means for the projects – that is the domain of project management. Indeed, more and more we see the introduction of agile or hybrid methods within projects.

But what does this mean for Programme Management? Does agile, agility and agile ways of thinking have a place within the programme environment?

The Agile Mindset

Introduce the word ‘agile’ into the conversation and as a result many and varied definitions, thoughts and perceptions come into play. Taking the stance from the Agile Manifesto, definitions of agile often centre around:

  • Iterative feedback loops
  • Active involvement of stakeholders
  • Frequent and regular delivery
  • Collaborative and empowered teams
  • Actively embracing change

All of these concepts can be effectively applied in a programme environment. For example, unless there is feedback from our stakeholders within the programme, how do we know we are focussing on the right outcomes? How do we know what we are really achieving?

Consider also that timeframes for programmes are often talked about in years, not just months, so a stepwise (incremental) approach is common (that is, frequent and regular delivery).

Programmes and projects are about change; people need to be involved and empowered for transformational change to be successful.

The Agile Mindset and Programme Management

True Agile Programme management is focussed on:

  • Alignment and re-alignment to business strategy
  • Recognising that the business environment can and does change. There is a need to embrace change and adapt accordingly
  • Incremental delivery, including realising benefits as soon as possible
  • Just enough at the right time – it is not about over-delivering, but instead ensuring that enough is done to achieve the vision of the programme
  • Actively involving stakeholders at all levels at the right time
  • Empowering people at the appropriate levels to make appropriate and timely decisions

“The Agile Programme Management philosophy is that an Agile programme delivers what is required when it is required – no more no less.”

Agile Programme Management Handbook, Agile Business Consortium

For more information on our Agile Programme Management (AgilePgM®) certification or to find out how we can help you deliver successful programmes, call us on 1300 70 13 14.

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