“Scrum won’t prevent
the failure of IT projects”…
But here’s what will.
A while back, we wrote a blog on the surprising statistic: that in 2013, 61% of Swedish IT projects were regarded as “failed”.
In that blog, we concluded that Scrum, although a well-regarded methodology with many advantages for project management, could not prevent project failure alone. Why? Because scrum developers and project managers need to be professionally trained and certified, ensuring competency and verifying credibility before the start of the project. Professional Scrum can be the solution in a situation when clients start to question scrum and agile methodology credibility.
You might be wondering what we do to ensure the successful outcome of all our projects. At Nansen, we are currently implementing PRINCE2 project methodology while incorporating agile principles to ensure standardized qualifications, to communicate our competencies in a quantifiable way to clients, and to activate the methodologies that we strongly believe are the most effective.
Here are some of the reasons why we have chosen to implement a combination of PRINCE2 and agile principles:
In the agile community, some people regard PRINCE2 as “the dark side”. The reason for this is that in theory, agile and PRINCE2 have some conflicting views to project management. However, when using elements from both frameworks, they can work together in harmony. We believe that using PRINCE2 while adopting agile principles is an ideal way for our organization to create leading projects.
PRINCE2 uses a set structure to define its process, and because of this it enables everyone involved in the project together have a complete understanding of what is happening on a project. Everyone is on the same page in regards to how and when different parties will be communicated with. PRINCE2 uses a common and transparent set of terminology, which is used on both sides of the customer/supplier environment, meaning that there is no ambiguity or misinterpretation through language and descriptions of actions.
There is a lot of space for the tailoring of PRINCE2 project management framework, meaning that it works well with project scaling. We work on projects that differ in size from small single site websites all the way up to our large ecommerce implementations. Using these methodologies means that we can scale the framework appropriately for each individual project.
Our 3 tips on getting started with PRINCE2
While it’s important to follow all principles for a successful implementation of PRINCE2, we found that there were 3 standout principles that are the most useful for those getting started:
- “Tailor to suit the project environment”
When we originally started to implent PRINCE2 principles, this was our starting point. We tailored the process to match the different sizes and varying complexities of projects, and created a base framework matrix that we could then apply when starting a new project (or transitioning one) with PRINCE2. Parts of the framework could then still be added or removed for each individual project, but it meant that we could always have expectation of what was going to be required from the start.
- “Focus on the products”
We try to keep focused on the desired end-result, and more specifically how the products and work packages are delivered. Some of the main products we deliver are websites, web applications, and apps. We have decided to keep our work packages in an agile environment. This is mainly because the agile development process gives us a fast and transparent feedback loop between us and our clients. This is critically important for ensuring that we are developing the right product for our clients and end users.
- “Learn from experience”
While we saw the benefits of adopting PRINCE2, this was not something that we got right first time (although we were pretty close). It took us some time by tinkering and tailoring the process, but making mistakes led to important and valuable lessons, which were shared and acted upon during the life of a project. Sharing this knowledge between teams has been extremely valuable for us to get into a smooth rhythm and ensured that we continued to deliver great software using PRINCE2.