Collaborative and Agile Project Management

by Dan Sullivan


Project management is increasingly difficult as IT project portfolios grow, projects employ multiple technologies, and personnel take on multiple responsibilities. In the past, a single project manager with desktop project management could coordinate a development effort. The complexity of today’s projects demands more collaboration for success. This Essentials Series provides an outline of project management challenges, dispels myths about conflicts between agile development methodologies and project management, and describes how to move from project management to project execution.


Article 1: Top Five IT Project Management Challenges and How to Solve Them

IT project managers face a range of challenges. Fixed, organizational structures do not always align with the way organizations create and manage project teams. Developers, systems managers, database administrators, and other IT professionals often have both development and support responsibilities that are difficult to manage. Managers also need to be aware of organization-level management considerations such as resource management, portfolio prioritization, and project synchronization.

Project management tools can help address these challenges. Two overarching requirements are the ability to provide a consolidated view of project activities and resource availability and support for communication and coordination between project managers. With those requirements met, project managers will have support for meeting the challenges outlined in this article.

Article 2: Myths About Agile Development and Project Management

The flexibility and adaptability of agile development methodologies addresses significant shortcomings of waterfall methodologies. Unfortunately, this flexibility and adaptability also contributes to misunderstandings about agile development and project management. Agile methods are not suitable for all projects, and organizations do not need to use agile methods in all cases. The flexibility that is embraced by agile methods does not eliminate the need for project management, both within a project and across a portfolio of projects. Deadlines are a key feature of project planning—-that does not change when the software development methodology changes. Fortunately, project planning practices and software development methodologies can integrate without compromising on the benefits of either.

Article 3: Moving from Project Management to Project Execution

Project management tools are evolving to become more supportive of collaborative management. The benefits of this advance include improved information sharing, reduced risk of miscommunication and misunderstanding, and collaborative problem solving. To appreciate the importance of this move to a more collaborative approach to project management, it helps to understand earlier, less collaborative methods. All of these topics will be explored in this third article of the series.