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Project management gets agile

Agility, the ability to move quickly and easily, is a term that is sweeping the project management field and is now being adopted across various industries. We have all experienced working on projects and having something come up, good or bad, but mostly bad, that throws off our initial plan of action. Agile project management allows companies to respond to issues as they come up during the course of a certain project. Needed changes can then be made to ensure that a project will be completed successfully on time and on budget.

project-management-(1).jpgAgile project management was originally established in the IT Industry. Project managers discovered that when implementing large software systems, which could take up to five years to complete, many factors would change such as customer requirements and technology. Agile methods were then put into place to be more responsive to these changes and reduce inevitable project failure. It did not take long for other industries to catch on and implement Agile project management in order to adapt a project to meet the changing needs of their client and/or industry.

A “traditional” project manager leads a team using a command and control style. Agile project management starts with a high-level plan created by the project manager that will fulfill basic requirements and acts as a vision for a solution. An Agile project is then completed in increments or “iterations.” The project team, not just the project manager, creates a plan for each iteration. This allows project managers to create, adapt, and validate any requirement changes that may come along during the life span of a project.

We got a chance to talk with Alicia McLain, certified Scrum Master, PMP, and the Agile Community of Practice Chapter Representative for PMI San Diego, about the new elective Agile Power Practices she will be teaching at Extension this spring.

Tell me about the class? What are the highlights?

This class is an informative walk through the origins of Agile practices, through the important events, artifacts, and roles of one of the most commonly used Agile methods.

What do you hope students will get out of your class?  

alicia-mclain.jpg Alicia McLain

Students will walk away with a solid understanding of how the power tools of Agile practices can build high performing teams and how they can facilitate this transformation.

Do you see a growing need for the use of agile project management?

Yes! In my view, the shift from command and control management to a more servant leader style is greatly facilitated in environments that employ Agile practices.  The project manager that has these methods mastered will have developed a highly sought after skill set!

You’ve recently been a key presenter at PMI events. What swayed you towards the classroom?

I am a hiring manager and I find it challenging to find candidates who understand Agile practices and the nuances of building high performing teams via these methods.  I am passionate about sharing the combination of my 15+ years of teachings in leadership with key aspects of Agile methods to help build successful Agile project managers!

Agile Power Practices will teach students about the origins, methods, events, artifacts, and roles that are important in the field and explore ways to include this into their work practices.  In the course, students explore some history to understand the origins of the most widely used Agile practices today and show how these methods can transform teams, departments, divisions, and companies.

Check out Agile Power Practices and other Project Management courses that start this spring. To learn more about the project management field and profession, join an upcoming Careers in Project Management information session on Wednesday, March 27th, 5:15—6:30 p.m. at the UCSD Extension University City Center, Room 116. Instructor Jim Franklin will lead the session and answer questions.
Posted: 2/8/2013 12:00:00 AM by UC San Diego Extension: Business | with 0 comments
Filed under: Agile, Careers-in-project-management, Pmi-san-diego, Project-management, Ucsd-extension


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