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Disciplined Agile – Interactive Live Online Workshop

Author: Adi Muslic, PMP

Adi Muslic

The workshop prepared by the Alvission team, Frank, Antje, Frederic, and Philipp, was divided into the 5 different sections :

1. Disciplined Agile Introduction
2. Implementation Practice Example
3. 5 steps on how to chose your WoW
4. Certifications
5. Q&A

The 20 minutes DA introduction was well presented by Antje. She used many real-life examples, to demonstrate how the DA toolkit could be used to make better decisions inside of our organizations, and how it helps us to chose our WoW – Way of Working.

 

 

Antje also presented how we could better optimize our teams – not only IT teams but all teams in an organization, such as Finance, Sales, Marketing, Legal, etc. Every team should have its own WoW. She also explained that each organization was a Complex Adaptive System (CAS) and how important it was to understand interactions among teams.
The following section was about business agility.

The DA tool kit also enables us to extend agility beyond teams to the entire organization. This we can achieve by using the DA four levels model :

1. Foundation
2. Disciplined DevOps
3. Value Stream
4. Disciplined Agile Enterprise

The DA tool kit lets you accelerate value delivery in scaled agile situations. Antje briefly presented the DA Mindset. She ended her presentation with a quick introduction to Process Goals.

Philip started his presentation with a «Hyperspeed overview of DA», which highlighted some of the key advantages of the Disciplined Agile toolkit over other Agile frameworks that decide our WoW for us even before we start. Philip made it very clear that «One Size» does not fit all process decisions.

He continued with «Process Tailoring Decisions» with the DA Toolkit. He demonstrated how we could easily choose our WoW by crossing all process elements that do not fit our WoW.

The following section was about DA Lightweight Governance, demonstrating how Outcome-oriented gates align well with PMO practices.

In the last section, Philip explained how to move from strategy to implementation and use the GQM - Goal Question Metric.

Philip concluded his presentation by telling us why we should use the DA Toolkit: It contains everything yet prescribes nothing.

Frederic walked us through 5 steps on how to chose our WoW that was a very easy-to-use practical example. I use this opportunity to invite you to see it in the recorded session: https://youtu.be/QAmz_rb918c.

Frank presented the DA certifications and compared them to the PMI – ACP certification. He also explained different levels of DA certifications and related requirements. He finished with a short presentation of the Alvisson training team.

In the Q&A session, the Alvisson team explained the Flex value stream and differences between SAFe and DA.

The Future of Work is Human

Author : Ruzanna TARVERDYAN, PMP

Ruzzana

Achievement of Sustainable Development is the most urgent and imperative collective duty that all development stakeholders must work on! As stated in the report of the UN Secretary-General: A Life of Dignity for All, the world’s quest for dignity, peace, prosperity, justice, sustainability and an end to poverty has reached an unprecedented moment of urgency. Addressing it without compromising our shared prosperity and the right to development of future generations requires alteration of public sector governance and development of  monitoring and reporting framework for tracking implementation and follow-through on the agreed strategies and policies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Since first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development,  Rio conference in 1992, the international community has inspired to integrate the social, economic, and environmental dimensions within a single framework. Nonetheless, no country has yet succeeded. Prevailing governance systems tend to separate these pillars at policy, planning, and management levels. This disconnect has led to a widening of inequality, both at global and national levels, pervasive social tension, an alarming pace of climate change and environmental degradation.

There is a consensus that given the political complexity of reforms, sustained progress will require ownership and entail a strong focus on capacity-building in key public institutions. And, now how does this Quest for the new paradigm influence the Project Management Community?

I was born in Soviet Armenia, but graduated from the Yerevan State University already when my small country declared independence from former the Soviet Union. And it was precisely in 1992, when I was invited to manage the first Institution Building Project in Armenia, financed by the World Bank Loan. Before taking the directorship of the Aid Coordination Center I was further engaged in multiple, Rehabilitation, Structural Adjustment and Enterprise Development projects. My Government was committed to a detailed program of interventions, and accomplished most of the projects' objectives. The Bank responded with a relevant technical assistance to Armenia's needs and built management capacity, enabling key reforms, for the transition to a private sector based economy. 

The early 2000 were years of transformation of multilateral thinking towards more effective and efficient delivery on Human Development outcomes. Dedicated to promotion of social justice and passionate about the role of international development institutions, in 2001 I embarked on my international career and joint the International Labour Office as a young professional to become part of the decent work generation. It was with an immense pride, that already in Geneva, I received the news that Operations Evaluation Department Independent Evaluation Office(now Group) 2004 OED Good Practice Award went to the Armenia Rehabilitation Credit; and 2005 OED Good Practice Award for Best Country Program was granted to Armenia Country Team 1996-2002, I had the pleasure and the privilege to work with.

Since the inception of ILO's Decent Work Agenda in 1999, Decent work has become a universal objective and has been included in major human rights declarations, UN Resolutions and outcome documents from major conferences including Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the World Summit for Social Development (1995), World Summit Outcome Document (2005), the high level segment of ECOSOC (2006), the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017), Conference on Sustainable Development (2011) and in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015).

There is a universal acceptance, that productive employment and decent work are key elements to achieving a fair globalization and poverty reduction. The Decent Work Agenda sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives and aims at simultaneous pursuit of four objectives: job creation, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue, with gender equality as a crosscutting objective. It encompasses productive employment opportunities, that delivers a fair income, ensure security in the workplace and provide social protection for families, it calls for working environment that guarantee better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.

The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by all UN Member States during the UN General Assembly in September 2015, among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, defined Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.  Furthermore, key aspects of decent work- employment creation, social protection, rights at work, and social dialogue, are widely embedded in the targets of many of the other 16 goals of the UN’s new development vision.

During the 101st Session of the International Labour Conference, in 2012 the tripartite constitutes called for “Giving globalization a human face”. There is universal consensus, as supported by the empirical results, that the current model of globalization is evidently yielding uneven results for countries’ sustainable development. Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz gave a powerful speech in 2013, at the annual AFL-CIO convention in Los Angeles concluded that not all nations succeed in reaping the fruits of international expansion, a cutting edge technology and making globalization serve their national interest- to create ”shared prosperity”— the only kind of prosperity that can truly be sustainable.

The Agenda 2030 explicitly calls for integration of multiple dimensions of sustainable development into a single framework and there is a wide consensus on a need of trans-disciplinary analysis embracing a complex system consisted of multiple dimensional phenomena such as globalization, poverty and other constituents of sustainable development.

As rightly submitted by the World Economic Forum, already, artificial intelligence is all around us, from self-driving cars and drones to virtual assistants and software that translate or invest has minimised human errors, eliminated low value-adding human work and accelerated the speed of work, while creating a superior employment experience for the broader workforce. Impressive progress has been made in AI in recent years, driven by exponential increases in computing power and by the availability of vast amounts of data, from software used to discover new drugs to algorithms used to predict our cultural interests.  

As Professor Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum foresees it, as we are living through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, these new transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before: it may lead to human augmentation, as a result of  the inexorable integration of technology in our lives, some of our quintessential human capacities, such as compassion and cooperation could diminish, the revolutions occurring in biotechnology and AI, will compel us to redefine our moral and ethical boundaries.

In 2004 Finn Kydland during his Novel Lecture recalled the words of Robert Lucas, 1980 Nobel Laurate in Economics, who defined the functions of theoretical economics:

to provide fully articulated, artificial economic systems that can serve as laboratories in which policies that would be prohibitively expensive to experiment with in actual economies can be tested out at much lower cost…  Our task, as I see it…is to write a FORTRAN program that will accept specific economic policy rules as ‘input’ and will generate as ‘output’ statistics describing the operating characteristics of time series we care about, which are predicted to result from these policies.”  

Kidland suggested to place people in desired model environments and record how they behave under alternative policy rules and rightly stated that the required information on “individual responses could be documented relatively cheaply by means of… censuses, panels [and] other surveys…”

 

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, in his briefing to the Security Council on Global Governance Post-COVID-19, stated that the Covid-19 pandemic is one of the most dangerous challenges this world has faced in our lifetime. It is above all a human crisis with severe health and socio-economic consequences.

As stated by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Day of Social Justice 2014: “experience shows that economic growth, on its own, is not sufficient. We must do more to empower individuals through decent work, support people through social protection, and ensure the voices of the poor and marginalized are heard.

In 2002 another Nobel laureate Ronald Coase in “Why Economics Will Change” had criticized this failure to look at the system as the object of the study and highlighted objectively that it may well take quiet long time to do so:

„Now how does it look?  Well, that it’s complicated is not a question, nor that it could take a long time if we start, as I hope we will, to study this system. Studying it may take one hundred years. It may take two hundred years.  But anyway, we should start.“

The availability of statistical information has considerably improved during. The advent of information and communication technologies, along with the Fourth industrial revolution provides an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen data collection and statistical analysis. Enhanced data availability will create the information basis for development of global models, thus providing an analytical underpinning for global governance. The methodological advancement of statistical development and analysis, and most importantly the ”data revolution” called by the report of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel will create legal, political and methodological grounds for such a change.

There is an ongoing debate about the shift: from hands to heads to hearts and giving a human face to work! Faced with the immense challenges embodied by the SDGs and accentuated by COVID-19, as the world is embarking on the implementation of the Great Reset initiative, announced by the World Economic Forum, there is an urgent need for global stakeholders to cooperate in simultaneously managing the direct consequences of the COVID-19 crisis and to improve the state of the world. Within this context humanizing the work is becoming an imperative and not just an option!

Article on Achieving Discipline in Agile

Author: Geetanjali Bhat, PMP

Geetanjali Bhat

“Achieving Discipline in Agile” An Evening with Agile. Being an Agile Practitioner and scrum master, I was very keen to learn more on this current ongoing topic. In the past, I have attended many of the Agile events and conferences in many places. But Today was something different. PMI launched their first online event. During this time when the world is working towards staying indoors and be safe, it is such a great way to keep ourselves occupied and engaged through online events. There are constant New Learnings in Project Management. Considering the situation going on in the world currently, what better way is there, then being able to continue learning!

Many organizations have started to implement Agile Practices. Organizations today require constantly new methods and practices in Agile to suit their needs. I am sure we all know and have heard of the regular Agile ways of working and its methods. Latest discussion in Agile going on all over the Agile World of how we can Achieve Discipline on Agile. We’ve got a great opportunity to listen and gain information from experienced speakers Simon Wieczorek who is a Senior Manager in PwC Germany and David Nagy Assistant Manager in PwC Switzerland, who presented a very insightful session about this topic.

It was interesting to hear from them about how to achieve discipline in an Agile environment by adjusting government risks and control. How can we achieve Agile Discipline and what would be the obstacles and success factors?

One of the biggest risks is governance risk and control. Hence the question arises how do I achieve Discipline in Agile without comprising its benefits.

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How can we bridge the gap in transformation that appear in the transformation journey of Agile? This poses a huge risk to the organizations.

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David explains that Agile is not just about certification and a one day training of Agile. We can do 4 years of studies in Universities and gather a lot of experience in a traditional environment and now it requires a new mindset to work in an Agile way. It’s definitely more than 1 day training.

Most importantly, we should be able to interpret the Agile principles.

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Addressing Risk in our environment requires us to reconsider control functions and risk management principles which impacts the three lines of defence. (LOD). In an Agile organization, the application of the three lines of defence (3LOD) requires adjustment to enable autonomy and alignment.

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Reading through the lines of the famous quote by  Peter Drucker who was one of the most widely known and influential thinkers on management,  “What we need is an entrepreneurial society in which innovation and entrepreneurship are normal, steady and continuous” , Responsibility for Risk management in an Agile set is shifting more towards business. Due to the shift of responsibilities, it requires a fundamental reworking of the governance model design principles to enable an Agile environment.  

Revised design principles for governance need to be implemented on:

  • Shared responsibility for risk and controls
  • Clear direction setting on risk and controls
  • Full transparency on risk and controls.

What would be the first steps to achieve goal in Agile Discipline?

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Listeners were able to connect well through an   Agile Quality Assurance Example

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Today as an Agile practitioner or Agile Project Manager, we need to ask ourselves a few questions. If for any of the below mentioned questions is a “No”, we must reflect our Agile working ways and plan to implement Discipline in Agile.

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Summary:

 In implementing Discipline in Agile we can achieve success only when we have understood and cleared the obstacles. Obstacles can be following:

  • Transformation gaps are not recognized.
  • Risk still sits on the top of the organization rather than integrated into the companies
  • Traditional governance structures are not adapted to Agile Structures
  • There is little understanding relating to the purpose of expectations.
  • Lack of leadership support and participation in applying an Agile mindset.

 But all of the above obstacles can be cleared and worked towards the success factors of Discipline in Agile through the following “

  • Identify and be aware of your transformation gap
  • Integration of risk and compliance into the control functions
  • Adjust your governance framework
  • Active change management and upskilling of colleagues
  • Leadership support.

Conclusion:

As a listener and also being in Agile for a few years, I believe it was definitely a very constructive and insightful evening for me, though I was locked at home!

Impressions from “Reinventing project management - Hybridisation from the field”

Impressions from “Reinventing project management - Hybridisation from the field”

Lisa Gryzagoridis

Author: Lisa Gryzagoridis, PMP® DASM®

 

 

The concept of a Hybrid Project Management Approach first had successful application in the early 2000’s, yet it remains in its infancy in terms of adoption and formalisation within organisations. This was the overarching theme of the November 1st PMI Event, “Reinventing project management - Hybridisation from the field”, hosted at iSolutions, Zurich.

As a recognised expert in the Hybrid Approach, the Keynote Speaker, Stéphane Derouin, shared his extensive expertise with an audience of professionals who have varying degrees of exposure to, or experience applying, Agile or Hybrid methodologies. Having significant experience in both Traditional and Agile domains, Stéphane is presently a self-proclaimed ‘non-purist’ in the selection and application of project management methodologies. Moreover, he is an enthusiastic advocate for Hybrid Approaches, particularly those tailored specifically to optimise value-delivery within each unique Program context. “There is no single approach that can be applied to all projects at any time”.

 

Stéphane Derouin opening presentation

 

Owing to increasing complexity and resource constraints in project delivery, Value Management has become an imperative. Value Management, within the context of Project Management, is broadly concerned with the creation and maximisation of value, or benefit, to the customer and the organisation. Simplistically, its goal is to deliver the (1) highest possible value, with the (2) lowest possible effort, and (3) lowest possible technical debt. Value realisation necessitates a departure from traditional modes of thought and behaviour, as the focus needs to shift from ‘completing a deliverable’, to ‘achieving a desired outcome’. Successfully applied, it resolves some of the challenges typically experienced in project management, such as the difficulty in justifying budget and demonstrating benefits, and the difficulty in prioritising an increasingly large number of business requests. Moreover, Value Management also serves to bridge the commonly occurring gap between IT and Business functions with regards to a shared vision or shared understanding. As the focus shifts from ‘the what’ to ‘the why’, there is greater clarity for IT functions in designing and delivering against the Business Functions’ desired outcomes.

The question is then… What does ‘Value’ mean to you?

The list of value classifications is inexhaustible. One can choose to pursue value delivery in profit, cost reduction, risk reduction, time-to-market, social impact, or customer satisfaction, to name a selective few. One of the challenges in managing by value is identifying the various sources of value, and then defining and prioritising them in alignment with the organisation’s strategy, because value is perceived differently by various stakeholders. However, if successfully defined, organisations are primed to reap the benefits from selecting the greatest value-adding initiatives, optimising resource allocation, and strengthening shared focus on efficient, high-quality deliveries.

presentation

Stéphane continued his presentation by proposing the notion that the Project Management Office (PMO) and the Value Management Office (VMO) complement each other’s roles, as both are required to optimise project outcomes using a Value Management Approach. The role of PMO remains focussed on managing projects according to cost, quality, scope, and schedule, through the provision of frameworks and minimum standards, allocation of resources, and supporting the project in risk management and governance. The role of VMO focuses on identifying value streams within the organisation, as well as aligning initiatives to the value streams within the broader organisational strategy. The VMO supports improved flow of value delivery, as well as the formalising and monitoring of value generation. This is achieved through defining and tracking Objectives and Key Results (OKR), which form the criteria of success for each initiative.

Once the foundational concepts had been shared, Stéphane engaged the audience in an interactive discussion on how to select a Hybrid Approach, including tailoring considerations. For example, opportunities exist to selectively adopt Agile rituals or ceremonies into Traditional approaches, which may serve to optimise project outcomes.

A sample decision-grid tool was presented, to illustrate how project managers can systematically select approaches for each unique project context. The benefit of this type of tool is that it allows one to identify the most suitable approach more easily, based on that approach’s strengths matched to each individual project component. I found this tool reminiscent of the Disciplined Agile Toolkit, in that it is based on Decision-tree principles. This tool, however, was specifically designed to transcend specific institutional frameworks and Sectorism, so that it can be utilised across industries and contexts.

As boundless as the Hybridisation options are, so too were audience member sentiments and concerns relating to Hybridisation adoption. Scenario-based queries ranged from organisational and cultural resistance to process integration challenges and scalability concerns. Fortunately, one need not have attended this event to benefit from real-world example discussions.

In November 2023, the 1st Edition of the “Hybrid Best Practice Guide: PMI France - The Power of Hybridization: Sharing Field Experiences in Project Management” was published, and is available for purchase through Amazon, (English and French versions). It is a collection of real-world case studies that illustrate the practical application of the core principles of Hybridisation, and how tailoring can address shortcomings of standalone approaches. Should this topic interest you, you may want to add it to your reading list.

Event 

 

It's good to be Negative

We are already in November and COVID situation is still very difficult. We have new restrictions, home office is in some places mandatory and sadly, we notice how the number of positive cases is raising up. For that, it’s good to be Negative, specially tested negative. 
 
One of the lessons we can learn from the PMBoK is how to be more organized and how can we manage everything better. In this actual situation it’s very important to think and act also thinking in your environment. Wearing the mask and following the instructions can save your life but also your relatives. Working together as a team can make our life better, be a manager, be a leader.
 
Because in this moment... it’s good to be NEGATIVE.