Agile On Time

Our method for agile projects combines agile project management (DSDM), PRINCE2 and Positive Psychology in an unique combination.

Agile management

Agile management is a facilitative way of leadership. This means that the focus in agile management relies on holding onto to the direction (strategy) and the framework for a company or project. A project manager in an agile project should be a facilitating leader. The role of the project manager is therefore to manage the daily project work on a high level. This means, that the project manager manages the actual process for the project, but leaves the detailed planning of the associated tasks to the project team. The project manager should support the project team and manage it in the right direction, without being controlling against the project members.

A manager who runs agile management is very concerned about ensuring rich communication, motivation and collaboration in the project team. This style of leadership contributes to creating transparency in the project, so that each project member is able to see how far the other project members are and which tasks they are in progress with. Thereby, the team members get greater ownership of their tasks because they know exactly what they are responsible of and not at least what they contribute to. Because the project members get a greater feeling of ownership of their tasks and because it is clear for everyone who is responsible for what, many project members will automatically become more productive. That increases the effectivity in the project and agile management contributes in a way that makes it possible for the project to be completed in time or even before deadline.

As mentioned before, the project manager in agile management is responsible for managing the framework for a project. This part of the role contains some practical tasks. It is, among others, to create co-location, thus the project members are physical at the same location and to make sure that the project members have as many joint working days as possible. It is also the project managers responsibility to motivate all the project members to attend workshops during the project and, moreover, to participate actively in them.

If you want to run agile management it is important to focus on the framework and the goal for the project, however without deciding how the project teams chose to solve the tasks within it. In this way, agile management provides happier project members and better results eventually.

Agile Projects

The Project model

What is your need?
Working agile is something which gets more and more attention because more people start to discover what great results it creates. Still it can seem difficult for some to change all their waterfall projects into agile projects from one day to another. Therefore, Plan A Projects can help you complete agile projects side by side with waterfall projects, by creating an agile track in your existing (stage gate) project model.

When we in collaboration have adjusted the model, we can try it off on a pilot project to find out, how we adjust the agile track to your project model. During the whole progress, it is completely up to you how much involvement to give us in the process. We adjust our contribution depending on what your need is and how much sparring and support you need and want.

The suggestions for changes we give in projects can vary a lot. They can contain everything from the physical working environment to strategic reflections in the company.

If you need help and sparring during a project, Plan A Projects can help you as well. It can both be situations where the project model is good but not performed right, or where it is the project model itself that needs adjustments. To get external help for your projects has the advantage that the helper contributes to the project as an impartial part, who as a neutral player can advise everyone in the project without taking anyone’s party.

Even though agile projects are primarily widespread in the IT-industry, it does not mean that this is the only industry in which it works in. Out method is designed to work in all industries and can be implemented in projects of all sizes – also the big, complex projects.

Plan A Projects was the agile coach at the two first big SAP-projects in Denmark
At the first project, Plan A Projects was responsible for the implementation of the agile project method in a big project organization at one of Denmark’s biggest companies, that did not have any agile experience outside the circle of the project management. During the project, Plan A Projects also got the role as Scrum Master in one of the seven teams. The whole project went live successfully, one week before deadline. In the other SAP project at the same customer, where Plan A Projects was the agile coach too, this project also got delivered one week before deadline. We really want to help you achieve exactly this in your project too.

Many big companies know about agile projects and the belonging project methods and might use Scrum in smaller projects, but haven’t yet tried the agile approach on big projects. When starting up a big project with many people involved and with a long duration, it can seem unmanageable to teach everyone the method and introduce them to a new project model. Though, if you want better results, faster – also in the long run – this method focus is a good investment.

We put an honor in making the agile project method relevant and understandable for everyone, thus the method is getting used. Thereby it is Plan A Projects who makes sure that the ambitions of the project manager about completing the project in an agile way, comes true.

Are you about to start an agile project, or do often experience that big projects get too expensive and delayed?

Then you should consider involving Plan A Projects in the planning, establishment and execution of your next project.

Project delivered on time – or before!
Our project method is implemented in around 30 adjusted versions of project models at our customers’ projects and have helped our customers’ project managers to create great results.

With only one exception, all projects have been characterized as being very complex.

In spite of that the projects range between 500 hours to 65.000 hours and with budgets from around 30.000 euros to more than 200 million euros, NO project has ever exceeded its deadline.

Two projects are delivered on time and the rest are delivered within one to four weeks before deadline or are still in progress.

The customers are happy about this, and we are proud of it.

The agile project method – an effective project method with solid experience!
At Plan A Projects, the project management gets sparring and support in getting the agile project method implemented in their project model, which is a strong method that ensures the results of your project. We call it focusing on leadership in project management.

We offer known and tested methods like agile project management (DSDM), PRINCE2 and positive psychology in a unique combination that secures a high amount of quality in the project.

The agile project method makes sure that the project gets delivered in time, the company saves time and money and creates projects that people wants to be a part of. In the end, this creates the wanted results. We work closely together with the project management. We ensure the implementation and framework for the method in the existing project while the project manager focuses on managing the project.

Results – in the long run too

With starting point in DSDM, we provide a high amount overview and influence for all employees in the project. With help from facilitated workshops, the employees get a deep insight and big influence in the project and an ample opportunity to strengthen the project with their professional insight. This both strengthen the job satisfaction for every employee and contributes to increase the quality of the project and thereby also of the final product. Not least in the projects with long duration, this plays an important role.

The Stage Gate model

What is a stage gate model and how does it benefit the project?
A stage gate model is a model which splits the lifecycles of the project into smaller and more manageable phases. The content in each phase is different and has different focus points and tasks connected to it.

A stage gate model is not only relevant to use for waterfall projects, but it is also ideal to use in agile projects. In the planning of a project you either chose to run the project as a waterfall or in an agile track and hereafter, the stage gate model can be adjusted after the given choice. No matter which project method you chose the stage gate model will almost remain the same. The project still goes through the same phases and has the same deliveries in every phase. Though, the agile project method has several types of project roles.

DSDM’s stage gate model consists of six phases, which will be explained here:

1. The pre-project phase/idea phase
In this phase, it is made sure that the project is set up properly and that the requirements of the project are in place.

2. The feasibility phase
This phase is primarily for finding out whether the project is feasible in terms of both the technical and budgetary requirements that are sat for it. In the phase, it is assessed if it is possible to run the project and if it requires potential changes.

3. The requirement- and specification phase
Here it is the purpose to create a basic understanding of the business-related rationale behind the project and how the development and delivery of the solution should look like.  

4. The construction phase
In the fourth phase of the stage gate model you start developing a solution for the project. Here the Solution Development Teams among other make an iterative development and prioritizes between the tasks which the project contains.

5. The implementation phase
In this phase, the initiatives from the construction phase should be turned into operational practice. After the implementation phase, it is the purpose to either have a finished solution or a subset of the finished solution.

6. The project completion phase
This phase is here to check how good the solution for the project meets the business-related requirements that were sat for the project in the beginning.

How the use of the stage gate model can benefit a project is an underestimated question. It is a great advantage to use the model, even though it is simple and many of the phases seem straightforward. The stage gate model gives good reason for focusing on the deliveries, that have to be delivered in the current phase you are in. In short, the model gives clarity and opportunity to focus on each partial delivery – both something that gives better final results for the project.

Where in the stage gate model can Plan A Projects help?

If you wish for help to drive your project in an agile track, Plan A Projects can help you in different ways. One of ways we can help you is by stepping in during the stage gate model’s third and fourth phase. The first to phases progress as they normally do, after which Plan A Projects steps in. The requirement- and specification phase and the construction phase will thereby get to look differently if you are used to waterfall projects. The following two phases will hereafter progress as they use to.

Plan A Projects can also help you with the project in other ways. If you already have a stage gate model, we can help you establish an agile track within this. This will be done in the gentlest way possible, to avoid detours in the project.

References

Testimonials from our customers

  • pfa-logo-150

    “Lasse has regularly held training sessions for PFA’s most experienced project managers.

    He is a committed and enthusiastic facilitator who quickly captures his audience’s attention.

    You can tell that he has a lot of knowledge and experience, with plenty of theoretical knowledge which can also be linked to relevant experiences where it has been tested in practice. Lasse is responsive toward his audience and effortlessly ‘deviates from the curriculum’ when necessary.

    Lasse is great at motivating and challenging people with a twinkle in his eye. All in all, a knowledgeable, skilled and very pleasant trainer who you enjoy being around.”

    Dorthe Thøgersen, Manager of IT Project Managers’ Competence Centre, PFA and Lone Mariboe, Head of IT Project Management, PFA

    Dorthe Thøgersen, Manager of IT Project Managers’ Competence Centre, PFA and Lone Mariboe, Head of IT Projektstyring, PFA

  • daman_logo-150

    “Having Plan A Projects attached to this project has had a huge effect.

    For example, they insisted that the project owner – our client – had to be present at the initial planning meetings together with the whole project team. It was a brilliant idea because it ensured that she became aware of what would be complicated to do and what would be easy to do.

    Plan A Projects began by training us on how to use their agile project management model so that the whole project team had a common understanding of how we were supposed to work together.”

    – Jens Jakobsen, Daman

  • ibm-logo-blue-150“It was especially the hardcore Scrum-related tasks he took care of, because that was where he could be most helpful in relation to the project.

    For example, he made sure to follow up on individual team members’ tasks and would then report back to me.

    It allowed me to better take care of the things that had to do with the business and process itself, and we were able to report on progress to the senior project management team so they could see whether we were making our targets.

    I would not have been able to find time for all of that without Lasse’s help.”

    – Tom Bloch, IBM

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