Agile programme and project management

Leading Programmes and Projects / Arwain Rhaglenni a Phrosiectau

As someone who has never been anywhere near a project management job, there was a lot for me to learn at our recent Leading Programmes and Projects Shared Learning Seminar.

Lately, I’ve seen the word ‘agile’ bandied around like nobody’s business. Many of the GovCamp Cymru discussions were about how Gov.UK had changed the way that people interact with public services, with the tax disk and DVLA in particular getting lots of praise. Having followed the development of Gov.UK as it’s looked to simplify online access to public services, I was interested to learn more about its Agile approach.

Fortunately for me, I facilitated James Scrimshire from AdaptAgility’s workshop on Servant Leadership and Agile project and programme management. I’d already read about some of James’ workshops on Chris Bolton’s blog, so I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately there wasn’t a game of Battleships this time, but the workshop was a great guide to Servant Leadership.

I was confronted with lots of new terms at the workshop, but what struck me was that these were developments of ideas that some public service projects are already considering as new ways of delivering public service projects. At the Good Practice Team, we clearly recognise there isn’t a one size fits all fits approach. But given how empowering this method is, it’s certainly worth a look.

What I particularly liked about Servant Leadership is the power dynamic, as it puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform. It’s at odds with the traditional role of the Manager, where they keep the power to themselves. Listening to James discuss the concept, it struck me how closely this is linked to good staff engagement. It builds on motivating staff and ensuring that their voices are heard.

James Scrimshire of/o AdaptAgility
James Scrimshire of AdaptAgility

The Scrum Master’s role is to remove barriers so that the team can deliver the project aims. Although Richard Wilson’s presentation wasn’t on Agile, I could draw direct links between his points on the need for managers to empower the workforce and the Agile philosophy.

In case you’re thinking that Agile is strictly for digital projects, this blog by the Ministry of Justice gives plenty of food for thought. This post offers lots of scope for putting it into practice, from organisational change to recruitment.

Having had no direct experience of leadership myself, this session helped redefine my understanding of good leadership. Strong leadership isn’t about power and control; it’s about enabling staff to improve their programmes and their projects.


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