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Be SAFe: From Fragile to Agile
Erika Southey

Be SAFe: From Fragile to Agile


PMBoK certified back in 2006, I was fortunate to see various adoptions of project management (PM) methodologies in different companies as I progressed through my career.


Fellow colleagues and I in the PM space were involved as ‘project managers aka technical co-ordinators/engineers/technical assistants’ before Project Management became an officially recognised discipline and a buzz word in the business world. I’m talking early 1990s.


I bet some of you probably felt the hair standing up on your neck with my reference to the word ‘methodology’ in the same breath as the article title.


Fast forward to the present; I can say that Agile is the best way of working to deliver successful projects and keep teams focused.


Throughout my PM journey; a common, and the number one frustration shared among my clients, team, stakeholders, myself and other project managers were some projects failing to meet deadlines despite careful planning, cost and time estimations.


The second biggest frustration was the amount of time spent on getting documentation in place, long reports and going through the motion of just ticking boxes. Let’s just say; the project had to fit the methodology and not the other way around.


It left projects and a team feeling frazzled and fragile. I adopted Agile (Waterfall) to meet the project management office framework requirements, but still adopted a larger form of agile to get projects delivered on/under time and in/under budget using the available tools.


Fast forward to the point of my article - once you go Agile – you will never go back.


Landing my current contract with a well-known and established partner company; I felt like I finally made it to my project management mothership let alone that they operate in the four key spaces of where my interests lie namely: Cloud Hosting, Machine Learning, App Building and Data Analytics. Talking about hitting the jackpot.


This company whose framework is bedded down so well and based on Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe); showed me how well their particular way of work ensures delivery, having something to show after sprints, and most importantly ensuring that the product aligns with customer expectations. As most know – change is inevitable, and one needs to pick up on it very quickly. Agile is a prime example of managing change. Hard, fast and cost-effective.


I got properly acquainted with the Agile tools that track project progress such as JIRA and Tempo (time logging) that cut down endless hours of reporting; checking planned vs actual and getting resources allocated to my projects.


JIRA automatically provides key charts to give stakeholders an immediate view of where the project stands and if estimates align. Project reporting on steroids. Confluence makes data management easy.


Team feedback on progress can take 15 minutes and not run overtime. I was sceptical at first until I saw it in action by means of the scrum master applying the tools and using the apps to their full capacity.


A team working together and having collective responsibility with a Scrum Master (my new title) pulling it all together.


The cherry on the top is; using Google that allows communication with Google Services and their integration to other services that makes my day-to-day experience seamless and efficient.


I have the advantage of having experienced most of the PM angles. One thing is for sure – Agile beats even COVID-19 to the punch.


Change is inevitable, and Agile best aligns with humanity’s drive to move into the future better and faster.


Dump feeling fragile - become Agile.


(Want to carry on with this conversation, follow me on LinkedIn)