Tag Archives: agilePM

Agility by delivering changes as ‘business as usual’ (extensive version)

Organizational agility developments

Many frameworks use the model ‘run the business’ (permanent teams doing the work) versus ‘change the business’ (work will be done by temporary groups of people). Projects and programs are managed via ‘change the business’. We see project and programme managers bringing people together for a definite period of time to make this happen. But in many cases we are confronted with budget overruns, delays and unhappy customers because what is delivered is not what they really need. As a reaction on these unsuccessful projects a group of people created the agile manifesto, and based on that several agile delivery frameworks were designed to help to deliver more successful projects.

This agile manifesto is embraced by many organizations and these organizations started to keep the people together who delivered e.g. a new system. These teams are able to deliver changes much faster by using Scrum, Kanban etc. These small focussed agile teams are self-organizing and are continuously learning to deliver more with the same people and within the same time-boxes. Collaboration is the norm. What these teams are delivering is managed by a product owner. It is the product owner who prioritizes the work to be done by maintaining a backlog with potential features and user stories. For these teams we don’t need a project manager to bring people together and structure and control the work. The members are already together, are self-organizing and can be seen as part of the ‘run the business’ side of the organization.

So for those changes that can be managed by a single agile team there is no need for a project manager. But in many occasions you need more than one agile team to implement the requested change. We need to scale up from a single agile team to many agile teams. The Scrum guide (developed by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland) gives some directions to use the scrum of scrums to align the teams and to make integration into one solution possible. In practice this works well for just a few teams, but what do you need if you have to make use of several component and feature teams to deliver one integrated solution? Scrum of scrums is not enough, you need a project manager to manage all stakeholders, all dependencies, the complexity and to deliver one integrated solution. Several organizations are on this level. They still run projects and project managers will make use of these permanent agile delivery teams.

Probable you could ask yourself, why do I want to make use of a temporary project manager? Is it not possible to have a permanent, maybe virtual, structure to take care of stakeholder management, dependency management and integration and have as a result a more or less continuous flow or at least short delivery cycles of changes bringing into production without ramping up and down project governance structures and teams.

You now see that several frameworks to support this level are being developed and used by many different organizations. To mention a few: Nexus developed by Ken Schwaber, Scrum at Scale developed by Jeff Sutherland, SAFe developed by Dean Leffingwell, the Spotify model copied by several organizations, Less developed by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde and there are many more. If you have implemented one of these frameworks the need for a project or programme manager will decline but on the other hand they can take new roles like roadmap manager, integration manager, release train engineer, value stream engineer.

Does this mean we don’t need any more project or programme managers? I think for the coming years we definitely need project and programme managers. In those cases, where we need more than the already existing permanent teams we have to build these non-existing teams. And these teams can of course make use of agile ways of working or just choose the for them most appropriate delivery method. If there is a need for a piece of specialist work we must select the right people and bring them together to deliver. This is typically a task for a project or programme manager. If you want to transform your organization, open new product/market combinations, integrate departments, or merge different organizations I expect that most of the organizations will not have permanent teams in place to handle this.

To support this way of working we see frameworks on project level (PRINCE2 Agile, DSDM AgilePM and PMI APM) and at programme level (MSP and DSDM AgilePgM). The competences of these project and programme managers have to change. where in the traditional way of working the focus was on project results using a formal mandate we now see a shift to business results realized by using influence without power. Stakeholder management becomes even more important with a focus on empathy, negotiations and persuasiveness. Servant leadership becomes key.

Here too, I see developments to reduce this type of project management work. Where we first saw integration of development and operations people into DevOps teams we now see the first BusDevOps multi-skilled teams where product management, marketing, development and ops people are in the same team and as a consequence again less projects and project managers.


Scrum or Kanban?

During the first part of a product life cycle the uncertainty is high and the focus is on goal driven iterations for the first product launch and market fit product. During this part of the life cycle Scrum is a great fit to cope with uncertainty and product iterations developed by the whole team. During the rest of the product life cycle the amount of uncertainty and change gradually declines. Here Kanban is a good fit. User Stories will be realized in a continuous flow by one or more of the individual team members.

When a major product upgrade has to be delivered by the whole team Scrum could be a better choice for that goal oriented iteration, otherwise Kanban stays a good fit.

To avoid the error prone handover and to shorten the time to market the Development and Operations teams can be integrated. Kanban is a good fit for the DevOps team. When to start with DevOps varies.

Agile portfolio management

Does this have consequences for portfolio management too? At this moment I have not seen any mature agile portfolio frameworks. The first framework that includes the portfolio level is the SAFe framework and DSDM included an agile portfolio management paragraph in their little book The Agile PMO.

In one of my previous posts I already proposed a change in the MoP framework to include the ‘run the business’ permanent agile teams in the portfolio view. If we want to reach more business agility, I strongly believe that we have to decentralize decision making. If we don’t and still want to make decisions at a higher more central level Standish ‘Cheetah’s Law’ is applicable and the speed of decision making could obstruct delivery success.

So for me the following aspects need to be taken into account to design an agile portfolio management framework:


Agile Portfolio Management Framework:

  • Strategy assessment
    • Internal and external environment assessment (SWAT)
    • Portfolio management must facilitate sustainable business change (People, Planet, Prosperity, Processes, and Products)
    • Strategic Objectives setting
    • Develop Strategic themes
  • Direction setting
    • Portfolio vision, goals and objectives
    • Portfolio management facilitates innovation as part of the roadmap
    • Portfolio management must move away from the iron triangle and focus on delivering value, capacity and time-to-market
    • Close cooperation between enterprise architecture and portfolio management (addressing enabler epics (NFRs, technology drivers, innovations) to be part of the roadmap) to invest in (digital) technology to win, serve and retain customers
    • Portfolio management will have large impact on strategic decisions (achievability, technology trends)
  • Selection
    • Funding at value streams or permanent agile teams level and not at project or programme level
    • Funding must be aligned with the strategy or strategic themes. Enlarge or lower the number of agile teams must take place to align with the strategic themes
    • A short simple business case justification must be used to put epics on a portfolio backlog
    • The portfolio backlog epics must be prioritized based on attractiveness, risk or opportunity costs, time criticality and the duration. The weighted shortest jobs first (WSJF) from SAFe is a good example. Standish ‘Law of the eatable elephant’ is in line with this.
    • Epics can be business related as well as non-functional
    • Epics must be head and heart-driven, not just head-driven
    • Keep epics as small as possible but it must contain more than one feature
    • Number of epics in the roadmap must be WIP limited
  • Planning
    • Portfolio plans will be replaced by a portfolio backlog with epics and a rolling-wave portfolio roadmap (Roadmaps include six key elements: time frame, prioritized and identifiable outcomes, strategic themes, context-specific content, dependencies, investment outlay)
    • Starting point for a portfolio roadmap must be a portfolio vision
    • Rolling-wave portfolio roadmap must be a living document. Only the first part must be committed to make sure changes can be embraced
    • Portfolio roadmaps must have a cadence or heartbeat to increase throughput and integration moments/milestones to create learning loops
    • Portfolio roadmaps must show retrospective events
    • Portfolio roadmap achievability must be based on (group of) team(s) velocity and not on optimized resource utilization. 100% resource utilization will lead to a lot of busy persons but no delivery!
    • Portfolio roadmap must be approved by senior management and communicated to the organization
    • Must be a continuous integrated portfolio planning process with regular strategic reviews (included fact-based feedback loops) and pivot when needed
    • Portfolio roadmap development includes strategic option analysis / scenario planning
  •  Delivery
    • Portfolio dashboards must show the funding of value streams (and permanent agile teams) and the alignment with and budget allocation across the strategic themes
    • Portfolio dashboards must show progress on epic level. Details of epic break downs in features and user stories are not for the portfolio level (respect the decentralized decision making)
    • Focus must be on delivering value / benefits and not on OTOBOS (On Time, On Budget, On Scope)
    • Possible portfolio dashboards Key performance indicators and metrics (not limitative): productivity (feature lead time), agility (predictability, number of releases), quality (satisfaction, #defects), metrics for self-improvement, time to market, NPS
    • Use timely, accurate, and relevant information based on real time (automated) performance data, avoid manual aggregation
    • Portfolio dashboards must show data-driven recommendations for decisions
    • Portfolio dashboard reporting at anytime
    • Dependency management on epic level (inter and intra dependencies)
    • Doing the right things (metrics on effectiveness), Doing it right (metrics on process efficiency). Compare over more than one period
    • Customer feedback to evaluate the effectiveness of the roadmap
    • Portfolio dashboard reporting creates transparency and will motivate stakeholders
    • Integrated tooling (EA and PPM) must give real time insights (rich information) about the health of initiatives, capacity and what-if scenario analysis corresponding with the requester’s role


  • Senior management commitment (much more leadership, less management)
  • Decentralized decision making
  • End-to-end transparency
  • Inspect regularly and adapt where needed
  • Feedback is crucial
  • Empowered employees
  • Culture of collaboration (remove silo’s)

Looking forward to your comments and adjustments so we can co-create a new agile portfolio management framework.

  • Updates:
    • 30-09: added Scrum or KanBan paragraph
    • 30-09: Agile Portfolio Management Framework additions
    • 02-10 Picture Agile PfM Framework


Book review: Agile Project Management and Scrum v2

front-cover-webIn two of my previous posts I wrote about DSDM and UX Design and Agile Project Management and Scrum v2. This is another little book in the same style. And this booklet too can be read as an addendum to DSDM’s Agile Project Management Framework.

Andrew Craddock is the author of the book ‘Agile Project Management and Scrum v2‘.

The booklet starts with a comprehensive overview of Scrum based on the Scrum guide 2013 and an explanation of the Agile manifesto.

Next we get an overview the combined AgilePM / Scrum process framework. The project delivery context is based on AgilePM and the evolutionary development context is pure Scrum.

In this combined framework we see the following changes / additions in comparison with the original AgilePM framework:


AgilePM AgilePM/Scrum
Process Evolutionary Development Scrum Development
Product Prioritized Requirements List Product Product Backlog


Timebox Plan and Timebox Review Record Sprint Goal, Sprint Backlog and Sprint Review Record
Roles adding the PO, SM roles

An enhanced Scrum two-week Sprint contains some minor embellishments to the standard Sprint:

  • In comparison with a standard Sprint we now see a split in two parts: Refinement (7 days) and Consolidation (2 days).
  • Within the Consolidation part we see a Consolidation Scrum to confirm progress to date and to explain what will be ‘Done’ by the end of the Sprint.

A new event, the Project Planning Event, is added. This event takes place at the boundary of timeboxes and can be used, by project stakeholders, to influence the the work of the Scrum Team without compromising the way Scrum is used.


All roles are explained within this combined framework with special attention for the Product Owner role including relationships and interactions with the Technical Coordinator, PM, Business Visionary, Technical and Business Advisors and the Development Team.

Final paragraphs explain the usage of multiple Scrum Teams, Regulatory, and financial governance, the usage of Barry Boehm’s Cone of Uncertainty and some optional techniques (MoSCoW prioritisation, Facilitated Workshops and Modelling).

Conclusion: For those who are using AgilePM in combination with Scrum this is a must read. It gives a nice overview of the changes and a good explanation of the PO role including all relationships and interactions.

To order: Agile Project Management and Scrum v2

This is the last post in a series of three. DSDM and UX design was the first and Agile risk management and DSDM the second.

Review: Agile Risk Management and DSDM

riskIn one of my previous posts I wrote about DSDM and UX Design. This is another little book in the same style. And this booklet too can be read as an addendum to DSDM’s Agile Project Management Framework or separately to enlarge your knowledge about risk management in an agile context.

Talking about a little book, in the foreword you can find a reference to the famous episode, The Protégé, of the programme Seinfeld. It’s about a 700 page risk management book. Look for yourself and have fun.

Alan Moran is the author of the book “Agile Risk Management and DSDM“. He did a great job explaining risk management in an agile environment.

Agile risk management considers, like PRINCE2, not only treats (negative risks) but also opportunities (positive risks) and is concerned with the identification, assessment, prioritization, treatment and monitoring of project risks.

As a starting point for risk identification the following generic risk drivers are high lighted: requirements risk, technical risk, schedule risk, project (approach) risk, supplier risk and people risk. These can be highlighted in the enterprise and project risk driver maps.

In a next paragraph the agile risk management process is explained. It starts with the understanding of the project objectives, context and risk environment, risk scoping (identification of risk drivers and appetite), risk tailoring (embedding risk management in agile process), risk management (identify, analyse, manage and monitor) resulting risk optimized agile process.

Agile risk management is founded on three principles: flow (ensure that events do not inhibit or delay progress), balance (deliver the same reward with less risk) and transparancy (make visible and accessible all risk artefacts). In the book you will get a mapping to the eight DSDM principles.

In the following paragraphs you get an explanation who (DSDM role) performs which risk management activities and how you have to make amendments to the practice of DSDM to cover the overall project risks.

The author explains several risk tools: enterprise and project risk driver maps, the risk log (register), risk reward prioritization matrix, the risk rainbow mapping of risk exposure to risk response strategies (when to apply which risk response strategy), risk tagging (identify the agile (DSDM) practice(s) to mitigate the risk), risk modified timebox plan, risk modified team board, risk burndown chart, risk walling (making visible the project risk driver map, risk log, risk modified timebox plan or team board, risk burndown chart). See the attached figure for some examples.

Dia1The final chapter explains the social and cultural aspects. A common typology of risk stances is: risk-averse, risk-seeking, risk-tolerant and risk-neutral. Individuals tend to be influenced by conscious, subconscious and affective factors.

In summary DSDM enables a new perspective on risk management by injecting elements of cadence (e.g. performing risk analysis at the start of each timebox), transparancy (e.g. using risk modified team boards including risk burndown charts) and agility (e.g. by using risk tagging). 

Conclusion. Many people will say we are using agile techniques so no need to have a separate risk management strategy. This book gives a good approach to cope with risk management within an agile environment. You get an overview of risk management and how it can be tailored and used in a DSDM environment and it can be applied within other agile frameworks too.

To order: Agile risk Management and DSDM

This is the second post in a series of three. DSDM and UX design was the first and Agile Project Management and Scrum v2 will follow

Vlog: Managen van agile projecten

Samen met Van Haren Publishing heb ik een vlog gemaakt van ons boek Managen van agile projecten. In drie minuten leg ik uit waar ons boek over gaat.

9789401800242_CoverLR-230x290Bestellen: Managen van agile projecten.

Managen van agile projecten, 2de geheel herziene druk

9789401800242_CoverLR-230x290De nieuwe geheel herziene druk van ons boek is beschikbaar!

De kern

Het boek Managen van agile projecten 2de geheel herziene druk is gebaseerd op Agile Projectmanagement Handbook Version 2 van DSDM en vervangt daarmee de 1ste druk die gebaseerd was op DSDM/Atern versie 2 en het Agile Project Management Handbook Version 1.2 van APMG.

Dit boek is geschreven voor de Projectmanager die leidinggeeft of gaat geven aan agile projecten. Het is echter geen rechtstreekse vertaling van het DSDM handboek. Op onderdelen geeft het boek een eigen visie op het managen van agile projecten. Verder is getracht de methode meer toegankelijk te maken voor de lezer.

Het boek is onderverdeeld in een viertal delen.

  • In deel I. Methodiek worden de uitgangspunten, het raamwerk, de filosofie, de principes en de succesfactoren van AgilePM beschreven. Verder worden in dit deel de AgilePM-rollen, -processen en -producten beschreven.
  • In deel II. Projectmanagement wordt nader ingegaan op de consequenties van de AgilePM-aanpak voor de verschillende aspecten van projectmanagement.
  • In deel III. Technieken worden de afzonderlijke technieken beschreven die in agile projecten worden toegepast om ervoor te zorgen dat de filosofie en uitgangspunten van AgilePM in projecten ook daadwerkelijk worden ingevuld.
  • In deel IV. Afstemming wordt ingegaan op de vraag hoe de verschillende methoden zich tot elkaar verhouden. AgilePM en PRINCE2 worden met elkaar vergeleken. Scrum, Lean Six Sigma, continue oplevering, DevOps-teams, Kanban en PRINCE2 Agile worden nader toegelicht. Verder wordt aangegeven hoe de verschillende methoden zijn te combineren en hoe een compleet portfolio van projecten met verschillende methoden het best kan worden gemanaged.

Dit boek is een geschikte basis om zich voor te bereiden op het examen AgilePM Foundation en Practitioner.


De AgilePM-methode voor het managen van agile projecten bestaat uit een raamwerk, omvattende een filosofie, daarvan afgeleide principes en een viertal bouwstenen.

De AgilePM-filosofie is dat ieder project moet worden afgestemd op duidelijk gedefinieerde bedrijfsdoelen en moet focussen op een vroege oplevering van producten die echt toegevoegde waarde leveren aan de bedrijfsorganisatie.

AgilePM kent een achttal principes. Agile in meer algemene zin kent meer principes die hier bovendien iets van afwijken. De agile principes zijn met name gericht op het zelf-organiserende team. De AgilePM-principes zijn meer gericht op het project als geheel.

De vier AgilePM-bouwstenen zijn:

  • Mensen > de rollen en verantwoordelijkheden
  • Processen > de afzonderlijke stappen in de projectlevenscyclus
  • Producten > de noodzakelijk op te leveren producten
  • Toepassingen > de te gebruiken tools en technieken

Belangrijke technieken zijn met name timeboxen, planning poker, gefaciliteerde workshop en prioritering van functies op basis van het MoSCoW-principe.

Het AgilePM-procesmodel onderscheidt zes processen ofwel zes fasen (zie figuur 1):


In de Pre-projectfase wordt besloten het project uit te voeren. In de Haalbaarheidsfase wordt nagegaan of het project vanuit zowel zakelijk als technisch oogpunt realiseerbaar en wenselijk is. In de Fundatiefase wordt, zoals de naam zegt, de fundering gelegd voor de uitvoering van het project.

Na de Fundatie start de uitvoering van het project. Dat gebeurt in vooraf gedefinieerde increments. Per increment wordt een werkend deel van het eindresultaat opgeleverd. Ieder increment bevat in principe de fasen Ontwikkeling en Ingebruikname.

Na de Implementatie wordt een nieuw increment opgestart of het project afgesloten mocht aan de eisen zijn voldaan. In de Post-projectfase wordt nagegaan of de geprognotiseerde baten ook daadwerkelijk zijn of worden gerealiseerd.

AgilePM maakt onderscheidt tussen de projectbesturing, het Ontwikkelteam en overige rollen (zie figuur 2). De projectbesturing wordt gevormd door de Bedrijfssponsor zijnde de opdrachtgever, de Bedrijfsvisionair zijnde de vertegenwoordiger van de gebruiker op managementniveau, de Technisch Coördinator zijnde de vertegenwoordiger van degene die het resultaat moeten opleveren en de Projectmanager, verantwoordelijk voor de coördinatie en communicatie.

Het Ontwikkelteam wordt gevormd door de Teammanager, de Bedrijfsambassadeur, de Bedrijfsanalist, de Ontwikkelaar en de Tester. Essentieel binnen AgilePM is dat er sprake is van een zelf organiserend team. De Teammanager moet ervoor zorgen dat het Ontwikkelteam ook echt als team functioneert. De Teammanager is in deze echter meer faciliterend en begeleidend dan manager. De Bedrijfsanalist vertaalt de bedrijfseisen naar technische oplossingen De Bedrijfsambassadeur is verantwoordelijk voor het detailleren en prioriteren van de gebruikerseisen en voor het (laten) testen van de gerealiseerde producten vanuit gebruikersperspectief.

De overige rollen binnen de AgilePM-structuur zijn de Bedrijfsadviseur, de Technisch Adviseur, de Workshop Moderator en de agile coach. De Bedrijfsadviseur is vaak een collega van de Bedrijfsambassadeur en levert specialistische input. Datzelfde geldt voor de Technisch Adviseur maar dan alleen vanuit het leveranciersperspectief.

Dia05Figuur 2: AgilePM-organisatiemodel

AgilePM maakt gebruik van bedrijfs-, management- en specialistenproducten. Afhankelijk van het project en de omgeving kunnen producten worden samengevoegd. Net als bij PRINCE2 moet het project op maat worden gemaakt en kunnen producten worden samengevoegd


Dit is een interessant boek voor iedereen die benieuwd is naar het managen van agile projecten en meer wilt weten dan alleen scrum. Het is enerzijds geschreven voor personen die zich willen voorbereiden op het AgilePM Foundation en Practitioner examen en anderzijds voor mensen die naast AgilePM zelf ook de relatie van AgilePM met andere agile methoden en raamwerken willen begrijpen.

Bestellen: Managen van agile projecten.