9 March 2009

A management context for sucessful projects

I read/skimmed a thesis investigating project methods by Diane Strode. In her findings she articulates a list of important evironmental-managerial factors. Diane identifies a correlation with adoption of agile methods. They also look like they correlate with generally positive outcomes over bureacracy and failures.
  1. The organisation values feedback and learning. Social interaction in the organisation is trustful, collaborative, and competent
  2. The organisation values teamwork, is flexible and participative, and encourages social interaction. The project manager acts as a facilitator
  3. The organisation enables empowerment of people
  4. The management style is that of leadership and collaboration
  5. The organisation is results oriented
  6. Leadership in the organisation is entrepreneurial, innovative, and risk taking
  7. The organisation is based on loyalty and mutual trust and commitment
  8. Projects undergoing constant change
Can any substantial corporate project succeed without these factors being present?
  • The thesis is here.
  • A powerpoint summary is below.
The picture at th top is by Thunderchild tm CC @ Flickr.


  1. Agile is great but not a silver bullet. It's important to figure out the most prudent and efficacious way to incorporate Agile into your project and corporate culture. I have lectured on how to do this which you can read about at http://www.dynamicalsoftware.com/cgi-bin/ViewBlogEntry.pl?id=16

  2. I would add one more to this list (if that's OK) --> The Organisation allows for and learns from failure. ... All the other items are fine and likely to continue when things are going great, but I have seen failure blow away empowerment, risk-taking, innovation, trust, loyalty, you name it...

  3. Anonymous7:58 pm

    For the question "can any substantial corporate project succeed without these factors being present?" the answer is probably negative.

    However this approach isn't limited to agile methods only. Or if it is we should probably enhance definition of agile to the point where most conservative agilists would burn us at the stake.

    Besides that the list consists a bunch of truisms. My favorite is "The organisation is results oriented". I ask which company isn't results oriented? Actually every company is there to build some product, sell and deliver it to customers and earn money. Actually it's all about results.

  4. Thanks for the feedback guys.

    And yes, David you addiitonal point is a good one.

    If you are in an org that doesn't allow failures- can you still succeed? Maybe, with the right people, but pobably not consistently over time...