Adam Light, SoTech Advisors
Agile methods provide a product-centric model for software development. Projects, however, are deeply ingrained in corporate management systems and in the business models of service companies. Having established agile methods at the team or department level, many software development groups find further improvement hampered by conflicts with project-based policies, procedures, and practices.
How can you take full advantage of cross-functional teams and a product-centric implementation approach within a project-based planning process and in the face of policies and procedures that seem designed to prevent scope trade-offs? When software development is only one part of a larger work effort, how can you make a successful case for optimizing globally rather than locally? And with so many project, program, and product management roles involved, how can you maintain role clarity and a measure of stability even as you work to evolve those roles?
This paper presents a simple framework for successfully integrating project-based and product-centric approaches within a single, continuously improving workflow at the enterprise-scale. It describes an approach that explicitly defines the boundary between project and product-centric processes and maintains delineation as changes and improvements occur. If your organization depends on projects, you are experienced with Agile methods, and you have already tried the scrum of scrums, this paper may help you determine the next step to take.