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Navigating through Agile – asking the right questions

By Steve Boronski, PRINCE2 Agile lead trainer at ILX Group | 24 August 2015

In June 2015, PRINCE2 AgileTM was born, combining the best of both the PRINCE2® and the Agile worlds. Project managers and organisations who have thrown their lot in with agile approaches or methodologies could be forgiven for being confused about what PRINCE2 Agile offers that is not covered by Agile Project Management (AgilePM®) Foundation and Practitioner training or certification.

Agile methodologies are increasingly popular. In 2014 60% of organisations had some exposure to agile – a 10% increase from the previous year. This comes as the agile approach widens its reach beyond its heartlands of IT product development. Even the civil service has embraced agile, with Government Digital Services (GDS) adopting an agile approach - designing and building the alpha version of www.gov.uk in ten weeks.

Many organisations like agile’s flexible approach to handling business as usual development processes and see it as a modern alternative to command and control approaches. Now, this oversimplification has been addressed by the launch of PRINCE2 Agile, organisations and individual project managers are left not knowing which way to turn. For some, there is no choice to make between PRINCE2 Agile and AgilePM – organisations need a foundation of PRINCE2 knowledge in order to go down the PRINCE2 Agile route, as PRINCE2 Agile is essentially an add-on that brings agile approach to PRINCE2. If they do not have a grounding in PRINCE2, PRINCE2 Agile is not likely to be appropriate.

Organisations and individual project managers that have experience of both PRINCE2 and agile do have a choice between the new combined PRINCE2 Agile or AgilePM. To make a decision in this case organisations and individuals need to ask themselves where their individual pain points are. Everyone wants to bring in projects that meet organisational objectives on time and on budget. That is a given.

The questions that should be asked may not be the ones you would expect. Do you experience a high staff turnover with a high level of team change? Has your business developed so that discrete product development is no longer the main focus? Perhaps business transformation is your current focus? Do you want to improve return on investment? The answers to these questions will help you navigate towards the right agile approach for you.

When new models of Best Practice come out, organisations and, perhaps even more so, individuals, who have spent money on accrediting themselves on previous methodologies, have real concerns about whether their investment has been wasted. In this case, they can breathe easy as the new PRINCE2 Agile, alongside AgilePM are complementary to the rest of the AXELOS stable of good practice, including MSP®, MoP® and P3O®. As they chart a course to approach agile, through an assault course of buzzwords and acronyms, most organisations can be re-assured that they will see some real world benefits to their day to day working environments as a result.

To find out more about agile options click here

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PRINCE2 AgileTM is a trademark of AXELOS Limited

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