The PMI-ACP pilot has concluded and the Agile Certified Practitioner certification is officially one month old. The numbers are in! Per PMI Today, January 2012 concluded with 542 PMI-ACPs. Not too shabby for its first month. The PMP is still PMI's shining star, at 4047 new PMPs. What surprised me were the numbers of PMI's other certifications. Only 11 people got the PMI-SP in January. It makes me wonder, what is the PMI-SP certification's value and longevity in the PMI ecosystem? I ask because the PMI-ACP reached a number in one month that took the other certification a few years. And so it begins. Will PMI-ACP be the next PMP? What do you think?
This evening I attending the monthly Agile Leadership Network event. I noticed a very familiar slide on Waste In Software Projects. It looks familiar because I have it in my training deck as well! Yes, my Introduction to Agile class has a slide that credits the Standish Group Study reported at XP2002 by Jim Johnson, Chairman. In reviewing software systems, Jim Johnston, Chairman of the Standish Group, determined that in systems defined and delivered using a traditional / waterfall style approach almost half of all features developed and paid for are never used. The question this evening was, for the 45% of the features that were never used, what was the cost incurred? Well, I can tell you it's probably a lot more than 45% of the budget! What if the features that were never used were actually the most costly as well? The rule we should learn here is we should eliminate the waste at the source, before it makes it all the way to the Production environment. If a feature or product is never used, it's waste. But, since XP2002, have we learned our lessons? Are we still delivering features that customers will never use? I figured I would create a quick Google Doc that would collect some data. After giving it some thought, I decided to remove the link to the Google Doc. The collection of data was just a distraction from the actual blog post. Thank you to those to participated.
As my tenure with the PMO comes to an end, I've had an opportunity to reflect on the last two and a half years. What I realized was how much the PMO was like the U.S. Congress. If I imagine the organizational structure of the PMO I've been supporting, I can imagine the CIO as the President and the PMO Program Director as the Speaker of the House or the Senate Majority Leader. Beneath the Program Director are the Division Directors (Committee Chairs) and then members of the PMO (Congress in general). What I've found interesting is many (not all) have their own agendas and motives. Gridlock, not collaboration, is the norm. Now, am I talking about the PMO or Congress? I'm not trying to paint the PMO or Congress in an unfavorable light. To the contrary, these people are all SMEs in their respective areas. But they've seemed to have forgotten the common goal. They've forgotten who the customer is. In both cases, it's the American people. From my perspective, when you're trying to deliver value, you need to consider all of the options, regardless of your convictions. I was the sole Agile evangelist in the PMO. Think of me as a lobbyist representing the American people. I did what I could to help the Government understand and to be receptive to new ideas. But what the PMO failed to grasp was Agile is much more than a way to deliver software products.
I think Michele Sliger put it very well:
Being agile means that teams are working in ways that allow for change in order to better work together and provide a more useful and meaningful product to the customer.
My final days with the PMO will be like a long retrospective. What went well during this engagement? What could be improved in the next engagement?
HT: Michele Sliger
Back in August (2010) I wrote about attending a $17,904 meeting. It was painful to watch the PMO have a 3 hour meeting every month that seemed to cost so much but deliver so little value. As a follow-up post, I wrote about the value proposition for the expensive meeting. I am happy to report that the meeting in question has been cancelled indefinitely. In one year alone, the cost savings is $214,848. Wouldn't you like to have that kind of money added to your budget? I want to be clear that I'm not being a hater of meetings. I'm being a hater of waste. Time and money are precious and I strongly believe we need everyone to communicate more. But it's about communicating effectively. I can facilitate the communication of more strategic information, without saying a word, by using a enterprise level Kanban. I can facilitate the communication of more tactical information, by having Daily Scrums or Stand-ups.
Though the cancellation was months in the making, I commend those who finally made the difficult (but necessary) choice. It's easy to complain about things but accept the status quo. It's hard to ask why and then act on it appropriately.
Drawings by Pictofigo
The Agile Manifesto is a set of team-based principles...