As a project management leader, you’ve likely encountered the challenges of using multiple project execution methodologies (such as: waterfall projects, as well as collaborative and Lean-Agile work delivery). This process can be overwhelming for even the most experienced PMO, especially when supporting teams and their work methods of choice, but it doesn’t have to be.
Over the past decade, Joe Perzel, Program Manager for Surescripts, a non-profit healthcare technology company with approximately 650 employees, has successfully supported 26 teams using different project execution methodologies. Joe has learned quite a few things in the process. One of those things? The importance of having the right tools.
Surescripts has been using Planview® AdaptiveWork since 2017 to tackle issues like integrating varying execution methodologies.
Since then, Surescripts has improved its project and program communication around its intake, prioritization, resource planning, and enterprise reporting processes. Another result of utilizing Planview’s Project Portfolio Management solution has been the improvement around employee morale and engagement. Specifically, how teams are empowered to do strategic work instead of having to spend time on manual reporting and tasks.
Want to know how you can successfully use different project execution methodologies to deliver great outcomes for your organization? Read on to find out how.
Best Practices for Success: Navigating Multiple Methodologies
Over the years, Joe has worked with people who only believed in the waterfall method, and others who only believed in agile. Over time, he came up with a set of best practices for working with multiple project execution methodologies using Planview’s Project Portfolio Management solution.
One size doesn’t fit all
Each methodology has its own pros and cons, and multiple methodologies can exist in one project or program. You have to pick the right methodologies for your project, and the right tools that will support it.
At Surescripts, Joe often uses agile scrum and Kanban methodologies, while using an over-arching waterfall approach that allows him to incorporate other departments like finance, legal, marketing, and operations.
Whatever project execution methodologies you’re using, you’re almost certain to run into issues like silos, manual reporting processes, missed handoffs, overreaching, duplicated work, and missed communication.
To manage these challenges, Joe relies on Planview AdaptiveWork. With AdaptiveWork, he is able to combine traditional development practices alongside agile, adaptive and hybrid ways of working to provide a simple and flexible way to work across methodologies while enhancing visibility and control. It provides him the insight into his different teams and their various handoffs, so nothing gets missed along the way.
When different teams are working with different methodologies, you need to ensure that you’re speaking each of their “languages.”
If you’re speaking with a team using an agile project execution methodology, be sure to use terms like “stories,” “epics”, and “retros.” By the same token, if you’re speaking with a team using a waterfall methodology, use terms like “rolls up.”
When talking with different stakeholders—and especially upper management—you’ll need to be ready to speak to the specific details of your project. Tools like Planview AdaptiveWork will make it simple to pull the information you need for these discussions.
Organizational change management
Joe cautions that if you’re planning to switch teams’ methodologies and tool sets, it’s also going to take some dedicated change management.
When explaining the change, focus on how the stakeholders will benefit—they’ll want to know what they have to gain. Start early, build their trust, and remember to emphasize what’s in it for them.
Joe says that, when managing multiple project execution methodologies, you have to be a project leader, not a project coordinator. That means using your influence and sales skills with everyone from executive management to the PMO, and keeping a cool head when politics arise.
The Big Takeaway
Multi-methodology environments can and do work—Joe’s career is proof of that. Your job as a project manager is to deliver value, whatever combination of methodologies that it takes.
To succeed, you’ll need to wear a tool belt. Instead of relying on a single project execution methodology or tool, you’ll need a range of options to fix your specific list of problems. Planview AdaptiveWork can help you do just that.
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