More than 3 years later I have worked on 4 agile projects, become a PRINCE2 and MSP practitioner and qualified in DSDM (the Agile project management method mentioned in my earlier blog). I've also got a lot more experience - see my LinkedIn profile at http://www.CraigCockburn.com for further details - including 3 projects for Central Government (BERR, CIO Council and DirectGov).
Given the recent push to have Agile more accepted in government circles I thought it was time to update the blog.
A few things have been happening recently
- The Agile Delivery Network are hosting a meeting later today. I am attending - the ADN appears to be a small developer led community promoting the use of Agile in government, especially from the software development perspective and working with the Institute for Government
- This week we have seen reports in the IT media about the Government turning to small companies for help in introducing Agile and a number of important blogs such as Agile can fix government IT calling for agile to be taken seriously as a delivery method.
- There has been a fair amount of debate about Agile in Government on the DSDM Group on LinkedIn and the DSDM group itself is also responding to the System Error report
- The government ICT strategy (March 2011) also states "Additionally, the application of agile ICT delivery methods, combined with the newly established Major Projects Authority, will improve government’s capability to deliver projects successfully and realise benefits faster. "
- Increasingly organisations outside of government are deploying DSDM as a project management method rather than PRINCE2 as DSDM not only incorporates the benefits of Agile, but is also suitable for an environment that is regulated, compliance driven and is interested in meeting CMMI standards. Swiftcover (part of the AXA Group) won the award for "Most Agile aware organisation" at the inaugural UK agile awards in 2010.
DSDM, like PRINCE2, had its origins as an IT Project management method but has now become a generic project management method capable for delivering both IT and non-IT projects. DSDM does have a lot more to say about day to day activities at the delivery team level (e.g. daily standups) and as such is more of a how-to manual rather than PRINCE2 which is more of a process guide for managers.
There are therefore a few potential options in choosing the appropriate method:
- PRINCE2 with a waterfall development method (the traditional way)
- PRINCE2 with an Agile development method (quick win for the PRINCE2 advocates)
- An Agile Project Management method with PRINCE2 and one of the development methods above - -- Hybrid as put forward by Keith Richards - author of Agile project management: running PRINCE2 projects with DSDM Atern published by The Office of Government Commerce and Agile Project and Service Management: delivering IT services using ITIL, PRINCE2 and DSDM Atern (by Dot Tudor and also published by the Office of Government Commerce.
- An Agile Project Management method without PRINCE2 and one of the development methods above. Agile project management with a waterfall development method makes no sense, so the alternative here is a full top to bottom Agile Project management and development method such as DSDM Atern. (published by the DSDM consortium, not the Office of Government commerce!)
So the front runners for project management techniques emerge as :
- The existing practices of PRINCE2 and a waterfall development method
- PRINCE2 incorporating Agile techniques
- DSDM Atern (or equivalent) Agile project management with Agile development techniques