Agile Manifesto and Principles for Better Communication
This post will emphasize some advantages of the Agile manifesto & principles when communication within a project reaching toxic levels. Included in this post is a document with the Case description and the rest of the post is based on the content of the given Case and its difficulties. Throughout this post the following questions are answered or roughly touched relevant for solving some toxic problems in the given Case.
First of all I want to say that the given case of the Vigilance Project is a perfect example of how important communication is and how badly it is often executed by team managers and project managers. The introduction of the Agile principles were a result of similar cases in the first place and rightly so.
The case is about conflict and mainly about conflict between management and team members. Basically it is a conflict about communication or absence of communication and conflict about how management is approaching and interpreting this communication. To be honest: for me this is a well known and often encountered situation in many organizations and the biggest problems is the project management methodology used and in this case the project manager's role and position in the organization.
The distance between the team should not be a problem and the last years I only have worked with teams where its members were spread around the world. Approaching it with the given project management methodology and the way it is executed NEVER worked in these projects I participated in and hence my role was created in the early 2000: the Agile Coach. We as Agile coach in ALL cases try to clean up the mess left by the situation, project management methodology and project manager described in the given case.
Often we start by eliminating the project manager and in several cases I just didn’t accepted the job when this was not done. The given case is a case I often encountered and still encounter and when certain flattened out transparent communication lines can not be set up and implemented: the project is a failure before it starts and when already a failure, it can not be repaired when these communication changes are not adopted, period.
Let me express for you the Agile manifesto and principles again, from where I will answer the discussion questions. Why am I using this approach? Well, experience tells me that both the Agile manifesto and principles are useful elements for the toolbox of Agile coaching cleaning up the mess of previous hierarchical waterfall bad communicated projects where autocratic project managers made a real mess out of beautiful opportunities.
Overall what is needed is training in the above principles and especially communication skills and the dimensions behind it and why they are necessary to save the project. When staffing the project these qualities of communication, emotional intelligence, cultural intelligence, empathy, transformational leadership qualities, servant leadership and situational leadership should all have been part of the considerations when approaching people and assigning them roles in the teams of this project. Especially the management layers and the project managers should have been senior people aware of all the previously mentioned qualities and techniques.
This project still can be saved but only through previously mentioned implementation of the Agile elements with emphasizing the communication qualities needed and with down principles in mind. Short text is added to these principles to relate them to the given case.
Jaap Zwart, MBA, MA, MSc, BIT