In a recent conversation I was asked about PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) and its applicability to measuring an Agile project manager’s effectiveness. While I did not know much about PMBOK and its measurement approaches I was curious to understand the problem. As it was explained to me, the problem was along these lines… When following a PMBOK approach to measuring a project manager’s effectiveness, one of the things you would look at is on-time delivery. If the project was delivered exactly on time the manager would get a rating of one. If the project was delivered ahead of plan then the manager would get a rating of less than one (based on how much ahead) and vice versa if delivered late. However, when following the OutSystems approach to Agile application delivery we define a project timebox and even if we deliver all features early, we will then fit any additional backlog items into the plan and keep working until the timebox is complete. Thus, you never finish early – you always finish on time and in most cases you just exceed your customer’s expectations on how much you deliver!
So, off I went and did some research on PMBOK. What I learned is that the OutSystems Agile Methodology, while based on SCRUM, incorporates lots of extra management concepts that align with PMBOK. (BTW – If you are not familiar with the OutSystems Agile approach here’s a white paper.) I will leave the convergence of Agile and PMBOK for a later discussion, but in my opinion, there are lots of PMBOK practices that are applicable to running Agile projects in Enterprise IT shops.
What I am interested in is the following – What is a good measure of an Agile project manager’s success?
In the conversations on Agile and PMBOK I’ve had over the last couple of weeks I have come to the conclusion that the best measure for an Agile project manager’s effectiveness is not based on on-time delivery, staying within budget, etc. But rather a measure of a new application’s adoption by the business! Everyone I have talked to on the topic agreed with this notion of adoption but none have really offered a concrete technique for measuring adoption. In most of the discussions the notion of return on investment came up as a solution. However, in drilling into ROI we always came to the conclusion that while ROI is important it is not necessarily a good measure of your project manager’s effectiveness.
So my quest for a good measure of an Agile project manger’s success continues. Everyone agrees that application adoption could be it but I have yet to find anyone with a good definition on how to measure it. Your thoughts?
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