Nader K. Rad

Agile initiatives are not projects

2020-07-27

What determines whether something is a project or a program is not its size, but the nature of what we expect from it.

Agile initiatives do not have a detailed, upfront design, plan, and specification for their products. They interact with the environment, with the desired outcome they have in mind, to allow a suitable product to evolve. So, an Agile initiative is not about creating a particular output (product), but about creating a desired outcome.

According to a well-formed definition, a project is one that is focused on creating an output, and a program is one that is focused on creating an outcome. Therefore, based on this definition, Agile initiatives are programs, not projects.

For example, when you're building a bridge, the goal of your initiative is to create an output. There's a program somewhere else that has considered the outcomes and decided that this output is necessary. There's nothing similar in Agile initiatives.

So, let's not compare Agile methods with project methods, and let's also, have a more critical look at PRINCE2 Agile®.

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