“Are you an Agile PM?” is a question I often heard earlier in my career as a Project Management consultant. And often, my answer had been somewhat awkward because I inferred the question was really “Do you use scrum or other agile methods?” I use agile methods, and they are my preferred project methodology. Yet in my career, I have worked on many projects that required a more traditional waterfall approach due to their nature. Traditional waterfall clients asked, “Why do projects you manage have a higher success rate than our average?” I’ve realized the answer to both questions: I have an Agile mindset in a Waterfall world.
Does this seem like an oxymoron? Take a look at the Agile Manifesto:
Manifesto for Agile Software Development http://agilemanifesto.org/
We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
I have worked within many variations of agile and traditional waterfall methodologies. I let the type of work dictate the methodology. An agile mindset where individuals, results, collaboration, and responsiveness are prioritized can be applied even when the methodology requires a more waterfall approach.