These days, Agile is everywhere. It may have started out in software development, but its potential for enabling speed, flexibility, and quality quickly saw it branching into project management. Several years later, it is now being applied at a program level – and more businesses are starting to take notice.
Organizations want to focus on reaching strategic targets while still retaining enough flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. At the same time, they also understand the value of being able to enjoy the tangible benefits of achieving short-term goals, both for their own sake and to get feedback from clients. These are just a few of the benefits offered by Agile methodologies, so it’s no surprise just how much Agile has exploded in popularity over the last few decades.
Unfortunately, many of the classic worries and misconceptions regarding Agile still remain. What about managerial control? And how can businesses reassure stakeholders that program and project teams are not making so many changes that they lose sight of strategic aims?
Agile Programme Management (AgilePgM) is a framework created in partnership between the Agile Business Consortium (DSDM Consortium) and APMG International. Like Agile Project Management (AgilePM), it is based largely on the Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), which offers a greater degree of control and visibility than other Agile frameworks. AgilePgM also offers a governance model, allowing organizations to enjoy the flexibility of Agile’s principles without the drawbacks of applying them on a huge scale.
So, is AgilePgM a framework that allows businesses to finally enjoy the full benefits of Agile program management? Let’s look at the benefits of AgilePgM and how you can sell them to your organization.
Faster Benefits Realization
AgilePgM follows the pillars of Agile, one of which is setting short-term goals throughout a project or program. The results can be enjoyed as these goals are completed, whereas, in traditional management, any benefits would typically only be seen at the end of the program.
However, it is not just about setting short-term goals. With less oversight and more individual empowerment, teams can achieve results with much greater speed and efficiency overall. With AgilePgM, you can guarantee faster benefits realization for your programs!
As beneficial as an incremental approach can be, it’s also the source of the biggest criticisms against Agile. Having long-term goals and themes helps to keep programs on track, but when targets are reevaluated on a regular basis, it can be easier for teams to lose sight of strategic targets.
Luckily, AgilePgM has a strong focus on overall program governance. Part of this is due to its origin with the Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), which offers management and control elements not seen in other Agile methodologies. These features, which include practices for engaging with stakeholders and guaranteeing stringent governance, can be applied at the program level to make sure that even as short and long-term goals are amended, teams never lose sight of high-level strategy. This approach can even help Agile PgM practitioners to create superior end results than if they had stuck with goals created during the program planning stage.
Program clarity is essential not just for reviewing performance metrics but also for ensuring programs are on track with strategic objectives. This is emphasized in the AgilePgM syllabus, which focuses on defining roles and responsibilities not just for program management teams but also support and capability delivery teams.
The flexibility of Agile program teams also allows them to capitalize on clarity. Individuals responsible for specific issues can respond quickly, reducing risks and delays. Similarly, Agile teams can review performance metrics on a regular basis to reassess the viability of individual projects and amend targets to better suit strategic goals.
This clarity can also help reassure stakeholders that programs are performing as desired. At times, it can even help program managers realize when programs are not performing as expected and need to be ended prematurely.
Strategic programs play a large part in enabling businesses to deliver relevant and high-quality offerings. Speed and efficiency are irrelevant if the end results are incapable of satisfying customers or standing out in markets that, globally, are becoming increasingly competitive.
AgilePgM specifies several requirements and outputs for quality management. At the same time, Agile principles help organizations to create high-quality results at a much faster rate, with incremental targets demonstrating the strength and benefits of an offering even before its completion. Notably, AgilePgM teams can also reassess how to deliver ‘quality’ as defined by customers, even if parameters change over the course of a program.
AgilePgM helps organizations enjoy a higher level of quality along with increased efficiency and speed. Overall, this can lead to major improvements in terms of ROIs.
Agile started out in software development before gaining a name elsewhere. Even after it became popular in project management, it was more often seen in smaller organizations, with larger businesses usually sticking with traditional waterfall-style management.
With AgilePgM, any business can enjoy the benefits of Agile alongside the control and governance of traditional management. The framework is non-prescriptive and can be adapted to suit organizations of varying industries, sizes, and sectors. AgilePgM even works well with other project and program frameworks, such as PRINCE2 and MSP.
This applicability also extends to roles. Candidates in several positions can benefit from studying AgilePgM, including PMO managers, risk managers, procurement professionals, and, of course, project and program managers. It is even applicable for high-level stakeholders seeking a greater degree of understanding on how to assess and contribute to Agile programs.