Welcome to the New Year – even today I am still faced with the dilemma of when it is appropriate to adopt an agile approach to project management and when it is best to use a classic approach.
When I looked at the ‘Monitoring und Controlling’ (© PMI) phase, I thought it seemed virtually akin to spying. With SCRUM this doesn’t seem so bad because it is talked about in terms of reflective, joint progress controlling (even if at the end of the line there is usually some kind of final controller who then documents and communicates this).
However, with the burn-down-chart according to SCRUM, it is unfortunately the case that exhausted budgets are still not taken into account. It merely shows the current state of progress based on completed stories from the ‘big pot’. On the other hand, it is not like there is no planning with SCRUM. You have to put together at least a rough plan, e.g. with various releases/interim results. At the beginning of the project, you also analyse what is in ‘in scope’ from the current point of view, otherwise there wouldn’t be any storyboards. There is also some hope of knowing how many teams we will be forming and with how many people.
You can now take this basic planning data and calculate the number of planned manpower days that will be required. The rest is old school.
- Don’t forget overheads, travel expenses and material costs
- Controlling objects e.g. per release/SCRUM cycle
- Employee time reporting
- Monitor target-actual comparisons
- Deal with deviations
(note: these might even be requested by the customer, in other words you need to control contractual changes. If the team is responsible for causing price increases, you need to respond here with countermeasures such as exchange/training etc., as usual.)
As you can see, there are many things that don’t need to be re-invented by the project controller, but the project controller is certainly required to react more flexibly in certain situations. This once again brings us to the inevitable chain-of-command question: “And how do I explain this to my manager?” Now we are back to the core challenge that both the customer/client and the manager need to recognise and understand the procedure and put into daily practice.
Based on the current state of information, I should add that depending on how the economy develops in 2012, we will be required to react flexibly in both our business and our private lives – ergo “agile”.