Project Governance In An Agile World – The finally

by | Mar 26, 2021

With all the excitement of launching, I lapsed in getting the last part of this series out as expected.

Now on this the final part of this series. We are going to discuss the last two chapters, Integrated governance models and the summary.Now we are looking at integrating governance from portfolio to program to projects through models and different organization roles. The closest agile framework that resembles the model is SAFe© with release trains and the increasing different roles from teams to portfolios.

Over the years, agile delivery has received many commentaries that it is failing and doesn’t work. Over this series, we can see why it doesn’t work. These traditional governance models have a stronghold on delivery because of prolonged use. It is second nature. Agile delivery requires a lot of behaviour changes across the board with regards to governance. It doesn’t mean there is no governance with agile delivery, just a different view.

Institutional theory

Here is something else that could cause issues with governance, command and control and agile projects. Muller details that this theory uses Legitimacy as part of governing projects.

Paraphrasing Suchman in 1995 details that it is about desired actions within a system of norms. This understanding could be the root cause of why agile transformations and delivery struggle. If the standards are not changed, remaining behaviours and actions, then agile delivery will go against it and will not achieve the total value it can provide.

The 14th Annual state of the agile report shows 5% of organizations are succeeding at being agile, so we know it works. There are just a lot of obstacles in the way.

Project governance is everywhere, whether it is developing software or planning a large social gathering. They use a framework to get it done, whether waterfall or an agile framework or something else has it. The frameworks are tools, and governance depends on the legitimacy component of the Institution theory, which is the why.

That is the key: the why. If the book started with the theory first, then looked at governance through traditional and agile delivery in mind, it would all make things easier to work through. The ideas in place are sound, just that they have a very traditional slant towards them. Although there is some agile discussion, it does not detail how it all ties together. Maybe his next book will take a tighter look.

After so many years, going through this book has helped me gain a better understanding and confirm some of my theories as to why agile delivery fails and what to avoid.


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