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Agile Australia 2011 Series - Agile Governance

If you are in an industry that is heavily into governance you need some structure and process around your projects or you could find your Agile projects getting usurped by the culture of command and control. So it’s important not to shy away from the topic but to work with the entities that enforce and monitor governance. In this way you can create something that is fast and easy and not laborious to work with.

I work for an Apra regulated organisation and we made keenly aware of our obligation under Apra to evidence documented change when audited. However in all organisations I’ve ever worked in, there are boundaries that bend quite a bit, ways to change things and ways to get by that satisfy governance process without crippling your agile process.

There’s almost two alternating schools of thought here which are ‘work within process’ and ‘decide to change the process’.

It’s actually pretty easy for my team to work within process. Project approvals, mandates and PIDs that are important to enterprise project offices, happen at a PMO level which is pleasingly another layer away from my hot software development team. Whilst I’m astonished by the lack of information and substance by which you can get a project approved, I’m also grateful that the process is clear and uniform and is something that can support the way we approach our project delivery. This is also where I think a nifty picture can paint a thousand words, I’ve included mine here. This picture has been a great ‘talking board’ for how we execute our mandatory PMO governance at the project level. Note: it’s meaningless without the chatter that goes with it; you will need to go and speak to your project ‘governators’ as a first step.

Deciding to change the process altogether is an approach that requires senior exec buy-in to agile, and not just a buy-in but a deep appreciation of the differences between agile and waterfall delivery. Ask yourself if you really want to go and poke this bear, if you are not supported by your senior exec.

Finally in order to be believed and trusted by senior exec and PMO’s and not raise the hackles to the point that you demand closer inspection, it’s always a good idea to be achieving good predictable delivery and great results for the customer. How can you argue with a process if it’s churning out good predictable results again and again?


Benjamin Cain said…
They are the people who feel like growing or in the same way agile consultants are good enough with their own ways.

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