Project Management Institute

No 'IT' in 'agile'

VOICES | Project Perspectives

How have you adopted agile for a non-IT project?

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Marcus Lazarus

business intelligence manager, BPP, London, England

I used agile to perform my duties as a stage manager at a blues festival this year. I knew I would have to deal with a lot of issues that could not be predicted, yet stick to agreed timescales with the artists and equipment required in each shift. So, I drafted my project plan a week beforehand. This plan included stakeholder definitions, roles and escalation paths, and priorities for each act—for example, “must have” backline equipment, “could have” soundcheck and “should have” towels. I considered each act an iteration of the overall development, where lessons were learned and errors corrected, so when we got to the headline act each day, everything sounded and worked perfectly.

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Avi Kaye

owner, A2O Marketing, Kfar Yona, Israel

I've used agile to manage marketing campaigns and write blog posts. I mainly use Kanban, with the strong visual aid of having a whiteboard. Tasks in easy-to-understand columns help me make sense of daily tasks and projects. I also have daily standups for marketing projects and retrospectives to see how to improve.

Just having the tasks on a board helps me keep my projects on track and shows me exactly how much I can cover each day. At the end of the day, visibility and communication are the two biggest takeaways for me for almost any task I want to undertake.

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Nisha Shoukath

COO, People10 Technosoft Private Limited, Bangalore, India

Agile practices were used on an HR recruitment initiative to source a large number of people to satisfy varied business needs, using limited resources in a timeboxed manner. We made a product backlog by listing resource needs in order of priority, followed one-week sprints and brought the most urgent sourcing needs into earlier iterations. During daily standup meetings, the status of each backlog item was given, and the Scrum master addressed blockers. Kanban visual methods were used to track overall progress, and retrospectives continuously improved the process. As a result, sourcing was made more predictable, and issues were addressed in a timely manner.

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Damian Sian

business process improvement leader, Creative Agency Process LLC, Bridgewater, New Jersey, USA

I have harvested agile tools—specifically Scrum meetings—to manage a portfolio of marketing collateral projects ranging from print to video. Scrum meeting agendas focus on answering what's been accomplished since the last meeting, what's going to be done before the next meeting and what obstacles are in the way. These meetings enable teams to move nimbly around obstacles, and we avoid major issues.

The barrier to implementation was getting people behind the name “Scrum,” because it reminded people of words like “scum.” I admit, ashamedly, I re-branded the name and call them “agile meetings.”

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Ron Whitebread, PMP

program manager for IT and supply chain projects, Sysco Corporation, Houston, Texas, USA

I've used Kanban in a supply-chain optimization project. Each “card” was a supplier that we tracked through the process steps: from data collection to analysis to implementation review to approval to execution to post-execution monitoring. These cards gave everyone a good visual on how many tasks and which suppliers were in progress, where the bottlenecks and gaps were, and where resource constraints might restrict the flow through the process. We also used an online Kanban tool to keep our remote team members up-to-date, and exchanged information in real time as if they were all in the same location.

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PM NETWORK OCTOBER 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG

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