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Agility in Project Management

SECOND EDITION

By Satinder Baweja, Milestone Consultants

and

Navaneethan Venugopalan, PMP

Dallas area, Texas, USA


Abstract

Project management is seen as an effective way to deliver one-time initiatives, often in unstructured environments. Effective application of project management principles in such environments often provide significant return on value; obvious examples are the launch of a new product in a startup environment, the consolidation of systems in a merger and managing a project during a disaster-recovery effort. Tense situations require project management methods that are structured and consistent with the various standards and bodies of knowledge, but also are still adaptable, flexible, fluid or in a word “agile.”

Most often, agile project management is equated with managing an agile development project (iterative project). However this paper wishes to explore what being agile means to a project manager.

In this paper, knowledge and theory of agility is applied to project management discipline. Many of the ideas come from the armed forces, elite strike units and disaster response organizations, often called first responders, all operate at a higher level of agility. These organizations demonstrate leadership in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous situations within a framework of standards for conduct and performance. Current army doctrine calls for mission command, task and purpose and “intent-based” orders to guide the execution of military operations.

The key areas that the paper intends to touch upon are:

  • Learning agility: the ability to apply previous knowledge and embrace learning in new, novel or ill-defined environments
  • Importance of communicating intent: What does success look like at the end of the operation.
  • Leader development readiness: combination of one’s motivation and ability to personally grow and develop
  • Organized chaos: following core best practices and procedures to ensure optimal execution in spite of uncertainties.
  • Strength, honor and grace under pressure: handling conflicts in hostile situations; sense of camaraderie, purpose and integrity

Introduction

Over the last three decades, the business cycle from concept to rollout has shortened dramatically, yet the speed at which change takes place continues to increase. This is starkly obvious based on the rate of adoption of electricity as compared to the adoption of the Internet.

More…

To read entire paper (click here)

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 9th annual University of Texas at Dallas Project Management Symposium in Richardson, Texas, USA in August 2015. It is republished here with the permission of the authors and conference organizers.

 


 

About the Authors

 

pmwj39-Oct2015-Baweja-BAWEJA PHOTOSatinder S. Baweja

North Texas, USA

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Satinder S. Baweja, is the President of Milestone Consultants, Inc. In addition to his responsibilities as the President, Satinder is also an executive consultant relating to matters in program and project management and the turnaround of troubled projects. He has been responsible for building and managing a successful global solutions organization and has personally been involved on projects totaling over 8 Billion US Dollars. His project involvement has ranged from Infrastructure, Product Deployments, Market launch and Systems. Satinder received his Bachelors of Engineering degree from Bangalore University in India and a Master of Engineering degree from Texas A&M. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a certified Cost Professional (CCP) In addition to work, Satinder stays involved professionally and in the community as with the Plano Rotary Club and as the President of the Dallas section of the Cost Engineering Society. Satinder can be contacted at [email protected].

 

pmwj39-Oct2015-Baweja-VENUGOPALAN PHOTONavaneethan K Venugopalan

North Texas, USA

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Navaneethan K Venugopalan, is a Graduate Management Student at UT Dallas. He works at Milestone Consultants, Inc as a Project Management Intern. Previously, Navaneethan worked with Hewlett Packard’s R & D division as a Lead Software Engineer and was responsible for architecture, development and release of many cutting edge products from the ‘Garage’ of Hewlett Packard. Navaneethan received his Bachelors of Engineering degree from Visvesvaraya Technological University, India and is working towards his Masters at Jindal School of Management. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Apart from work, Navaneethan likes to participate in technical events and Hackathons, to keep with the changing technology. He is a professional flautist and has performed with many bands. Navaneethan can be contacted at [email protected].