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Effective Governance of Agile Projects

Principles of Effective Agile Project GovernanceBuilding an effective Enterprise Governance model


Ask what roles are represented in the audience PMOs? PMs, Consultants, PMOs? IT managers, Business Managers?


So Governance?2 ATERNY Agile Services

Is this the way you see Governance?Show of hands what do you believe?Governance is essential for all projects in one way or anotherGovernance is not applicable in an Agile environment2

What do you believe?3 ATERNY Agile ServicesGovernance is essential for all projects in one way or another

Governance is not applicable in an Agile environment

Is this the way you see Governance?Show of hands what do you believe?Governance is essential for all projects in one way or anotherGovernance is not applicable in an Agile environment3

The Project Manager4 ATERNY Agile Services

Tell a story Axis project at AXA Commercial. Design problems, requirements not met, late delivery, many defects.

PM traditionally carries full responsibilityNow its the Scrum Master?Cant know everything, cant be responsible for everything only for process


Regulations & Standards5 ATERNY Agile Services

Companies operate within a legal and regulatory governance frameworkProject delivery has the means to affect that, and therefore should itself be governed. In an Agile way.Can we really expect a team to do that all by itself? Are they all covered by user stories or the Definition of Done?


Why Govern?Ensures strategic alignment of IT with the businessMinimise the risk of bad outcomes


Business-driven pipelineProject vision aligned with corporate strategyVision clear to allOutcome-based metricsIterative demonstrationsContinuous improvementStable teamsRoles and responsibilitiesProfessional disciplineActive involvementFirm FoundationsIterative development, integrated testingEarly, incremental deliveryRequirement prioritisationResponsive to change ATERNY Agile Services

Companies operate within a legal and regulatory governance frameworkProject delivery has the means to affect that, and therefore should itself be governed. In an Agile way.6

Does Agile need governing? 7 ATERNY Agile Services

Agile: small, cross-functional teams, no PM, no portfolio, no reporting, etc.Governance = bureaucracy, paperwork, interference, micro-managingWe have a PO and a story board, what more do you want?


Agile Projects Fail too8 ATERNY Agile Services


CharacteristicsOf Bad GovernanceDocument-drivenAutocraticProcess heavySubjectiveInefficientOften ineffective

Of Good GovernanceConsensus-drivenEquitable & InclusiveTransparentObjectiveEfficientEffective9 ATERNY Agile ServicesTrust, but Verify

Supports and uses Manifesto ValuesSupports good Agile practiceGuides project teamsEnsures appropriate accountability


The Framework10 ATERNY Agile Services

8 Principles1 Governor

Virtual Governance Authority3 Checkpoints

Governor could be the PMO, Portfolio Mgr, Head of Delivery etc. Beware of bias!10

The 8 Principles11 ATERNY Agile Services


1. Appropriate AccountabilityProfessional AccountabilityWho cares??

The Virtual Governance Authority under one Governor12 ATERNY Agile Services

Identify areas of risk areas potentially impacted by the projectIdentify authority for thoseAssign responsibility. The org needs to hold these people accountableTrain them in AgileStep back


2. Resource Projects adequatelyCommitment vs giving it a goEnsure reasonable chance of success13 ATERNY Agile ServicesStable teams Cross-functionalActive Business InvolvementAll required skills

Ever had insufficient people / skills / money / tools to get the job done?13

3. Scale the GovernanceThat governance is best that governs best with least. Eric Marks, CEO of AgilePath Corporation

Self-scalingEvent-drivenVirtual GroupNot staticNo regular meetings

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Governor to identify which areas of the org. will form the VGA.Train them, include project governance on their JDs, if applicableGroup is project-specific14

4. Ensure adequate contingencyRealistic contingency time, cost, or features?15

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5. Planning throughoutJust enough planningAre plans sensible?16 ATERNY Agile Services

VGA attend relevant stand-ups and iteration reviews

This can also be applied to DAD, SAFe or similar approaches16

6. Transparency17 ATERNY Agile Services

Process and progress

Tools for remote collaboration

VGA members attend

Of process and progressUse tools for remote teams to promote collaboration not inhibit itVisible to all stakeholdersVGA members attend stand-ups and reviews, check metrics17

7. Outcome-based reportingBeware an alternate realityReport value delivered, not effort or activityConsider the sourceThe convenience of iterations and user stories

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Have you ever been economical with the truth on a status report?The perils of RAG & milestone reporting alternate realityReport only facts, ideally from the tool used to control the work (JIRA, QTP, QC, TFS etc)18

8. Review viability frequentlyProject environment is rarely stableAre success factors still in place?PeopleScopeDesignNew constraintsUse Agile cadence for checkpointsRole of the VGA question, challenge, assist

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Review PAQUse the iterative nature of your agile approach

Steering Committees? Obsolete!


Governance Checkpoints20 ATERNY Agile Services

Important to ensure that VGA use the iteration events20

How Checkpoints work30-minute audio-conferenceGovernor asks questions of the VGA Checklist based, e.g.

21 ATERNY Agile ServicesFeasibilityAllArchitectureBusiness SponsorAllIs the business problem understood?Is there a viable solution?Is there a business case for this?Stop or Go?FoundationsProduct OwnerArchitectureIT SecurityComplianceAllHas the breadth of scope been captured?Have you cleared the technical design?Are security requirements captured?Are regulatory requirements captured?Is the Release plan sensible?DeploymentProduct OwnerArchitectureIT SecurityCustomer SupportSatisfied with the value and quality?Solution complies with roadmap?Solution tested as secure?Have staff been trained?

Note: the PM / SM is not accountable, except for the project processQuestions are asked of those who will be accountable for these issues in productionWe are assuring that they are addressed before that

Roles and Questions are industry and org specific21

Building the modelPeople and Interactions over Processes and Tools22 ATERNY Agile ServicesIdentify Governor and the VGACreate ChecklistsSchedule CheckpointsCollect MetricsPublish the modelReview the modelEmbed the process

Utilise the collaborative and iterative nature of Agile as the key to effective governance.A PMO is helpful if educated in Agile22

The Agile PMO23 ATERNY Agile Services

ConclusionAgile is collaborative and iterative

Agile Governance should be too24 ATERNY Agile Services


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