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Agile Transformation in Project Organizations

Issues, Conditions Challenges

SECOND EDITION

By Pawel Paterek

AGH University of Science and Technology

Krakow, Poland

 


Abstract

Large-sized enterprises provide advanced business services and products to their customers through complex, innovative and unique projects and programs. The strong market competition raised a lot of challenges in complex project and program management. Some of the key challenges in the project and program management are: increasing transparency of project planning, growing predictability of customer’s deliveries, higher overall project efficiency, and reduction of project delivery cycle duration, improving communication and cooperation between business and project teams, improving project and program portfolio management and developing the right organizational culture.

The primary goal of this paper is to present issues, conditions and challenges of an Agile transformation as an organizational change resultant from introduction of a new Agile project management methodology in the context of the contingency theory.

Based on a review of the literature, multiple case study analysis of companies implementing new Agile project management methodology is presented as empirical research. It is focused on comparison of issues, conditions and challenges of the Agile transformation in large-sized enterprises.

As the results of the research showed, the change of the project management methodology significantly impacted the entire project organization. It was a source of extensive organizational changes in technology, methodology, processes, strategy, structure and organizational culture and it allowed for improving the competitive advantage of the organization.

Key words: project management, Agile transformation, organizational change, Agile methodology, contingency theory.

JEL code: M15, O22, O32.

Introduction

Large-sized companies deliver increasingly advanced business services and products to their customers and stakeholders through complex, innovative and unique projects and programs. A strong marketplace competition stirred up a lot of issues and challenges into complex projects and programs management, as well as into projects and programs portfolio management (Cegarra-Navarro et al., 2016; Appelbaum et al., 2017). The top issues and challenges in the contemporary project and program management are: an increasing transparency of project planning, growing predictability of customer’s deliveries, enhancement overall project efficiency, reduction of the time-to-market, increasing innovation and development, improving communication and cooperation among customer, business and project teams, improving effectiveness of project and program portfolio management and development of the right organizational culture.

Agile project management continues its rapid growth in popularity and is being deployed by a number of large-sized organizations through the process called Agile transformation (Gandomani & Nafchi, 2015; 2016; Dikert et al., 2016; Olszewska (née Pląska) et al., 2016). The Agile organization is on the way to become one of the forms of a contemporary organization to cope with marketplace competition by exploring new opportunities and to respond to customers’ expectation in an easy, swift, user-friendly and personalized manner (Denning, 2016a; 2016b). Either Agile deployment process or Agile transformation process is somehow unique to a given organization and therefore there is little of empirical research related to a wide-scale organization transformation (Laanti et al., 2011, p. 276). The research results and conclusions presented in this paper might be valuable for organization management and senior executive to facilitate Agile transformation process with less cost, time and effort and improve performance by considering proactively potential issues and challenges.

The primary goal of the empirical research in this paper is to respond to the research question about issues and challenges, supporting and non-supporting conditions and long-term goals of the Agile transformation as an organizational change in large-sized enterprises resulting from the introduction of new Agile project management methodology in the context of the contingency theory. The empirical research results fill the literature review gap for large-sized enterprises delivering complex IT and ICT projects with Agile methodologies. The research results showed that a change of the project management methodologies may lead to wide, integrated and complex organizational changes in technology, methodology, processes, strategy and organizational culture increasing competitive advantage of the organization.

A literature review and a multiple case study analysis of the companies implementing new Agile project management methodology were applied as research methods. The main limitation of research study analysis is the source of multiple case studies. They are largely based on documents available on the Internet, with a number of successful descriptions of the Agile transformation process and only very few details important from the research perspective. Repetition of the same or similar multiple case studies analysis by several different researchers may lead to interesting comparisons and conclusions as a future research opportunity.

The structure of the paper is as follows: the first part discusses the research results and the second part contains conclusions, proposals and recommendations. The first main part is also divided into subchapters presenting: a review of the existing literature, the methodology approach, the empirical research results and the final subchapter discusses the research results.

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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally presented at the 6th Scientific Conference on Project Management in the Baltic States, University of Latvia, April 2017. It is republished here with the permission of the author and conference organizers


 

About the Author


Pawel Paterek

Cracow, Poland

 

 

Pawel Paterek has been working in the telecommunications industry for over 12+ years. He holds master’s degree (M.Sc. Eng.) in telecommunications engineering. He has also completed postgraduate studies in: IT project management, human resources development and finally MBA program. He is currently a PhD student with a specialization in management sciences. The areas of his scientific interests are: IT project management, knowledge management and Agile methods. He has been working as a Project Manager for over 8+ years in the telecommunication software quality assurance projects, both with using waterfall and Agile methodologies. He is the author of several scientific publications.

Pawel can be contacted at [email protected]