Organizational Agility: A Retrospective

“If your project is successful you aren’t going to say that it is all thanks to Scrum.” – Collin D. Ellis (PMI Organizational Agility Conference 2018)

On Wednesday, September 12th PMI held an online event called the Organizational Agility Conference. I worked during that time, but I was able to listen in and even rewatched some of the videos from the conference. There was a lot of interesting information presented. Some of it was new to me, some of it was a bit of a refresher in Agile practices.


The Keynote Address

I think I liked the keynote address the best. Probably because it aligned a lot with what I think about Agile and the organizations that claim to be Agile but do nothing that would make them Agile. Organizations can’t just have a 15-minute daily status meeting and be Agile. (*Agile doesn’t even require a daily status meeting, Scrum does)

An interesting topic in the keynote address by Collin D. Ellis at the PMI Organizational Agility Conference, he discussed Agile and the belief by organizations that it is a quick fix-all to everything. They announce that they are going Agile and expect that it will fix everything.

Then, those projects go bad, and the executive managers blame Agile. The problem with organizations is that they just say they are going to do Agile and think that is enough. Or they apply Agile frameworks to everything. Sometimes a one size fits all framework isn’t the best choice.

My own opinion is that ultimate agility is not some framework. It is about making the best choices for particular situations. If you are using a project, sometimes a predictive model is the best choice. That doesn’t make you less Agile, it actually makes you more Agile. you are choosing the best path forward. Sometimes the best path forward isn’t an Agile framework or methodology.

You don’t have to choose a framework to be Agile. You have to adapt to changing situations. Adhering blindly to a framework despite outside influences can be prohibitive to adaptation.

You have to change your culture, as Collin stated. The only way to achieve ultimate agility is to change how people look at things. Scrum is a tool. It can be helpful and useful, but it may not always be the best choice.




From John Daly’s Presentation: Future Skillset Needs for Project and Program Managers

The idea of adaptability was stressed over and over again during the Organizational Agility Conference.

Erika Flora presented on planning projects in Agile and covered the idea of planning the details just far enough in advance to be able to move forward –“Adapt and re-plan rather than blindly sticking to the plan.” 

John Daly covered the idea of adapting your skills as the world changes. Continuous learning on an individual level and an organizational level is needed. While this was focused on project managers, it could really apply to everyone and every organization. Not adapting to the changing world and changing situations is what causes a lot of problems and a lot of failures.



There were lots of great presentations. It was informative and definitely valuable. If you have PMI membership you can still watch the on-demand presentations here: PMI Organizational Agility Conference.



PMI Organization Agility Conference 2018




Categories: Agile, Leadership, Project Management, Uncategorized

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