DMSD Agile Foundation and Pracitioner

What it was

A week-long course with tests and certification in London, on Agile project management techniques. February 2017.

What I learned

This is a comprehensive introduction to the practices of project management as set out in the industry-standard DSDM (“dynamical systems development model”) framework – more commonly known as “agile”.

Born from bitter experience in the world of enterprise software development, “Agile” project management can be applied widely, but is most suited to scenarios where the final product is malleable and can be iterated, where requirements and estimates are fluid or unknown at the start, and where the project must respond quickly to business change.

These are scenarios where traditional PRINCE2 / “waterfall” project management approaches often fail.

Agile is broadly applicable to PR practice – in particular event planning, producing publications, web development, and evolving campaigns which respond dynamically to feedback and external change (e.g. social media campaigns)

The DSDM framework is complex and comprehensive and covers key roles, products etc but can be summarised into eight key principles:

1. Focus on the business need
2. Deliver on time
3. Collaborate
4. Never compromise quality
5. Build incrementally from firm foundations
6. Develop iteratively
7. Communicate continuously and clearly
8. Demonstrate control

Two key techniques in Agile are:
1. MoSCoW – this is a way of prioritising requirements into Must/Should/Could/Won’t so that the project focuses on delivering the “must” requirements, using the resource for delivering the others as contingency to guarantee that the “musts” – at minimum – are delivered. Thus agile projects, unlike other approaches, act to fix time, cost and quality but vary *feature set*
2. Timeboxing – this is a rigid discipline in which the project is divided into fixed time intervals of iterative delivery, with built in co-ordination, review, acceptance and retrospective sessions. Fixing the time frames of an agile project ensures that whatever is delivered is delivered on time, with no prospect of delay. Combined with MoSCoW this is a powerful tool for ensure projects deliver what the business needs, when it needs it.

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

I will seek to apply Agile methodology and techniques to my team’s working.