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How Agile Methods Inspire Project Management - The Half Double Initiative


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Increased complexity in projects has forced new project management initiatives. In software development several agile methods have emerged and are today highly implemented in practice. Observations of general project management practice show how it has been inspired by agile software development, but very little research addresses the issue of agile project management. In order to understand and to provide suggestions for future practice on how agility can be incorporated in general project management, this paper provides an analysis which compares ten characteristics of agile software development (identified in theory) and the Half Double Methodology developed by the Danish Project Half Double initiative; a Methodology developed with practitioners and tested in seven Danish case companies. The analysis shows how the general project management to a great extent has been inspired by agile methods, but also that general project management may be able to find more inspiration from agile methods.
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International Research Workshop on IT Project
Management 2016
International Research Workshop on IT Project
Management (IRWITPM)
How Agile Methods Inspire Project Management -
$e Half Double Initiative
L. T. Heeager
P. Svejvig
B. R. Schlichter
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Recommended Citation
Heeager, L. T.; Svejvig, P.; and Schlichter, B. R., "How Agile Methods Inspire Project Management - 8e Half Double Initiative"
(2016). International Research Workshop on IT Project Management 2016. Paper 13.
Heeager et al. How Agile Methods Inspire Project Management
eProceedings of the 11th International Research Workshop on Information Technology Project Management (IRWITPM)
Dublin, Ireland, December 10th, 2016 43
How Agile Methods Inspire Project Management
- The Half Double Initiative
Heeager L.T.
Aarhus University, Denmark
Svejvig P.
Aarhus University, Denmark
Schlichter B.R.
Aarhus University, Denmark
Increased complexity in projects has forced new project management initiatives. In software development several
agile methods have emerged and are today highly implemented in practice. Observations of general project
management practice show how it has been inspired by agile software development, but very little research
addresses the issue of agile project management. In order to understand and to provide suggestions for future
practice on how agility can be incorporated in general project management, this paper provides an analysis which
compares ten characteristics of agile software development (identified in theory) and the Half Double Methodology
developed by the Danish Project Half Double initiative; a Methodology developed with practitioners and tested in
seven Danish case companies. The analysis shows how the general project management to a great extent has been
inspired by agile methods, but also that general project management may be able to find more inspiration from agile
Agile Software Development, Project Management, the Danish Project Half Double (PHD).
Recent ideas on management of projects introduce an abundance of approaches, i.e. by understanding the project as
a temporary organization, where learning, diversity, temporality, complexity, uncertainty and sociability are in play
(Winter and Szczepanek, 2009). The increased complexity of projects has led to the development of agile methods
and to the acceptance of the need for a contemporary organization of projects that not only mechanically executes a
process toward a narrow, product-oriented goal, but accepts projects as business-like and value-creating (Davenport,
2013). Agile methods are highly used in the development of software, based on a belief that a project in broad
understanding continuously needs to be adjusted based on the learning acquired during the process. The use of agile
methods in software development settings seems to have a greater impact on success factors than just pure efficiency
(Serrador and Pinto, 2015).
Traditionally a project has been seen as a tool applied to a single assignment, focusing on meeting time and quality
under the available resources. This single-track approach applies a logical and chronological way through a set of
(more or less) well-defined tasks. This approach has been challenged in the general understanding on how to
modernize project management, especially in the stream of research related to Rethinking Project Management
(Svejvig and Andersen, 2015).
But how can projects outside the software domain apply agile methods in practice in order to take advantage of the
proven strengths of these methods? Doing so is not trivial as some practices are easier to transfer than others, and
adopting agile methods in general project management settings requires a change from command and control
management to leadership and collaboration (Misra, Kumar and Kumar, 2010; Nerur, Mahapatra and Mangalaraj,
2005). This again requires a reorientation not only for the project team, but also from the management (Moe,
Dingsøyr and Dybå, 2010).
It is claimed that reorientation and construction of these above mentioned management models requires a deep
understanding of the “agility” construct in management practices (Conforto, Salum, Amaral, da Silva and de
Heeager et al. How Agile Methods Inspire Project Management
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Dublin, Ireland, December 10th, 2016 44
Almeida, 2014), which has been the inspiration for the present study and leading to the following research question:
How has Agile Software Development inspired the Half Double Methodology and what can general project
management learn from this? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, "to inspire" can be defined as "making
(someone) want to do something" or "giving (someone) an idea about what to do or create". So to inspire is to
influence someone else without enforcing your opinions or ways of doing on the recipient. Thus, in order to identify
agile project management practices used in industry today, we are investigating which ideas from agile software
methods the Half Double Methodology is building on.
We pursue to answer the research question by drawing on the Half Double Methodology developed by the Danish
Project Half Double (PHD) initiative an industry-driven initiative by a consultancy firm involving several private
and public organizations including three universities (Svejvig and Grex, 2016). The Half Double Methodology
consists of three core elements: impact, flow and leadership; the methodology is inspired by similar work about a
new mind-set for management (Hamel, 2009), but also highly inspired by agile thinking (Schwaber, 2004) and is
today tested in seven Danish case companies. This methodology is therefore a great representation of how current
project management is done in industry. PHD has a profound desire to change the practices in projects and project
management much in line with the agile manifesto (Beck et al., 2001). Project Half Double is overall conducted as
collaborative research (Mathiassen, 2002; Van de Ven, 2007) where practitioners and researchers share ideas and
are involved in activities to co-produce knowledge about the PHD initiative. In this paper we use comparative
research where literature about agile methods is used as a theoretical lens to understand and explain aspects of the
Half Double Methodology.
The remainder of this paper is organized as follows: section 2 presents a brief summary of the characteristic of Agile
Software Development. The research setting and approach are then described as well as data collection and data
analysis. The paper continues with a section presenting the empirical data, followed by the comparative analysis
presenting similarities and differences between Agile Software Development and Project Management Practices of
the Half Double Methodology, providing knowledge on how Agile Software Development has inspired general
Project Management Practices. The paper ends with concluding remarks and suggestions for further research.
Although the roots of agile methodologies go way back (Highsmith, 2002), the agile manifesto published in 2001 by
a group of practitioners set the wheels rolling on agile methods. The manifest constitutes four values and a set of
practices for agile software development. The four values are: 1) individuals and interactions over processes and
tools 2) working software over comprehensive documentation 3) customer collaboration over contract negotiation 4)
responding to change over following a plan (Beck et al., 2001). Adhering to these values, agile methods suggest a
way to deliver software without excessive cost (Boehm and Turner, 2004). Several methods fulfilling these agile
characteristics have emerged. Table 1 summarises well-known agile methods.
Agile Method
Dynamic Systems
Development Method
DSDM focuses on people and on the needs of a business
delivering software solutions as quickly as possible.
(Stapleton, 1999)
Adaptive Software
With the use of adaptive cycles ASD is highly iterative
and tolerant toward change.
(Highsmith, 2013)
Feature Driven
FDD uses cycles which are customer and feature-
centered. The first step is to discover the list of features
to implement and then implement it - feature-by-feature.
(Palmer and Felsing, 2001)
XP offers a range of practices and principles to apply in
order to focus on close customer contact and flexibility
in responding to change.
(Beck and Andres, 2004)
The Crystal family of methods provides methods
corresponding to the size and criticality of the project.
(Cockburn, 2006)
Kanban is an approach to introduce change to an existing
(Kniberg, 2009)
Scrum is an iterative and incremental method which
emphasizes project management values and practices.
(Schwaber and Beedle,
Table 1. Seven Agile Methods and their features
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Agility is a multidimensional construct (Lee and Xia, 2010). To further understand the basic characteristics of agile
software development, we draw on the definition of agility developed by (Conboy, 2009):
“the continual readiness of an ISD method to rapidly or inherently create change, proactively or reactively
embrace change, and learn from change while contributing to perceived customer value (economy, quality and
simplicity), through its collective components and relationships with its environment.” (Conboy 2009, p. 340).
The definition shows how accepting change as an inevitable part of projects is vital. This is done while focusing on
the customers and their values (referring to features of the product). It furthermore involves the collective elements
and relationships (individuals and interactions from the manifest). This shows four important cornerstones of agility:
1) Change acceptance
2) Team focus
3) Customer focus
4) Product quality
Practices of Agile Software Development
In order to compare agility with the Half Double Methodology, the four cornerstones of agility are unfolded to
identify the practices used in agile methods. In this section, 10 practices identified through a literature study of agile
software development are presented. In Figure 1 these practices are mapped to the four cornerstones of agility.
Figure 1. The cornerstones and practices of agile methods
1) Short iterations of learning: Agile methods propose iterations that include all phases of the development process
(Cohn and Ford, 2003). The goals of the iterations are to create flexibility and possibilities of adapting to changes.
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The focus on accepting change is essential in several papers investigating aspects of agility; the existence of
uncertainty and complexity in environments is evident (Nerur and Balijepally, 2007). Changes can be both technical
and new business opportunities as well as the fact that the people involved are learning throughout the project
(Lyytinen and Rose, 2006). Dealing with changing requirements is imperative in software development (Lee and
Xia, 2010). Iterations or cycles are heavily used in agile methods: XP, for example, introduces the concepts of
weekly cycles (to plan work a week at a time) and quarterly cycles (to reflect on the work every quarter) (Beck and
Andres, 2004), whereas Scrum implements the sprint in which the developers work without interruptions (Schwaber
and Beedle, 2001).
2) Teams working closely together: This practice supports the cornerstone of change acceptance, since reducing
the cost and time of exchanging information between people helps the team respond more effectively to change.
This is done by placing people physically closer together (Cockburn and Highsmith, 2001). It also supports the
cornerstone of team focus. Various agile methods offer guidance on how to support close team work. The Scrum
team is the developers and testers and other people working on the software. In order to ensure that the team works
closely together, the teams are small (Schwaber and Beedle, 2001). XP advocates that the team sits together on a
daily basis and use team activities such as pair programming (Beck and Andres, 2004). In Scrum the team is
supported with a product backlog (controlled by the product owner) from which the team agrees and commits to the
tasks included in each sprint backlog. These artefacts hereby support the work of the team (Schwaber and Beedle,
3) Self-managing teams: The overall management styles in agile methods are leadership and collaboration (Misra et
al., 2010). Even though this practice is placed in the cornerstone of team focus, it has an indirect influence on both
change acceptance and product quality. Agile teams are self-organization teams; hence teams that are able to
organize in various configurations and meet challenges when they arise (Cockburn and Highsmith, 2001). Such
teams are important in order to create flexibility and responsiveness to change (Nerur and Balijepally, 2007) and to
create a high quality product (Chow and Cao, 2008). The manager takes a facilitation role. The scrum master is, for
example, mainly in charge of ensuring that the scrum practice is followed and that the team gets to work focused
during the sprint (Schwaber and Beedle, 2001).
4) Person-to-person informal coordination and openness: The agile methods rely on person-to-person
communication and knowledge sharing and advocates openness; in the terms used by (Hansen, Nohria and Tierney,
1999), the agile methods primarily rely on a personalization strategy. The frequent meetings (in Scrum: stand-up
meetings, planning meetings and retrospectives) proposed by the agile methods serve as ways to informally
communicate and share knowledge (Chau and Maurer, 2004). Information on the project and its status must be
provided in the open space, this could for example include various artefacts created by the teams, such as task
boards and burn down charts (Cockburn, 2006).
5) Motivation through collective ownership: In agile software development, all team members are responsible for
reaching the goal of the iteration. Ideally, every team member is able to work on any task assigned to the iteration.
Working in self-organizing teams with common responsibility for tasks (Schwaber and Beedle, 2001) and code
(Beck and Andres, 2004) enhances team motivation and collaboration. Committing to the goal of an iteration as a
team is also a way of boosting motivation and team spirit (Heeager and Rose, 2015).
6) Focus on People: As the first value of the manifest suggests, agile methods focus on individuals over processes
(Beck et al., 2001). The agile methods focus on the social aspects of software development and people issues are at
the heart of the agile movement (Galal-Edeen, Riad, and Seyam, 2007). Both the team and the customer are essential
and this practice is closely connected to the practice of self-managing teams and frequent customer involvement.
This focus on people and less focus on processes poses new requirements for the qualifications of the project
members, such as: talent, skill and communication (Cockburn and Highsmith, 2001). Attention therefore needs to be
given to people-related factors such as staffing and communication (Boehm and Turner, 2003).
7) From visual user stories to the product: Agile methods break with the traditional term requirements, and
instead they rely primarily on user stories written by the customer in a plain business-like language (Cohn, 2004).
This practice primarily supports the cornerstone of product quality as user stories are implemented in order to make
sure that the product fits the user. The practice also indirectly supports change acceptance and customer focus. User
stories involve the user to a high degree as the system will be built based on their descriptions. User stories
furthermore invite changes to a greater extent than traditional requirements that symbolize something mandatory
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(Beck and Andres, 2004). In Scrum, stories are collected in the product backlog and prioritized by the product owner
(a customer representative) (Schwaber and Beedle, 2001). Stories are to be displayed on large boards placed in the
work area, called information radiators (Cockburn, 2006).
8) Frequent continuous customer involvement: This practice supports the cornerstones of product quality and
customer focus. The customer plays an essential role in agile development by introducing heavy customer
involvement as a means for striving for high quality of the product and at the same time, frequent customer
involvement also feeds back to the customer on the implications of their choices (Cockburn and Highsmith, 2001).
A strong customer involvement has been identified as an essential success factor for agile projects (Chow and Cao,
2008). XP suggests real customer involvement, as the customers are the ones you seek to please (Beck and Andres,
2004), while Scrum uses the role of a product owner who officially is responsible for the project, and ideally this
role is filled by the customer (Schwaber and Beedle, 2001).
9) Test first through use of automated testing: Test-driven development has become increasingly popular within
the agile community (Nerur et al., 2005). In XP, for example, testing is a core practice; it is not only suggested that
test cases are written before the software, it is also more importantly suggested that all parts of an increment are
tested and that completion is determined by the increment passing all tests (Beck and Andres, 2004). Due to the
heavy reliance on testing, agile methods focus on automating the tests. XP aims at reducing the cost of testing by
implying that all tests are automated (Beck and Andres, 2004) and in practice it is also acknowledged that automated
tests are necessary in order to complete short iterations (Jakobsen and Johnson, 2008).
10) Early focus on the product: One of the agile principles is: “working software over comprehensive
documentation”. Although agile methods do not focus on documentation, they do not cast all documentation aside
(Baker, 2005). Agile methods cut away unnecessary documentation for a greater focus on the product and seek to
have at least a part of the system/product ready early in the process (Theunissen, Kourie and Watson, 2003). In
Scrum the product is released as often as possible (Schwaber and Beedle, 2001).
This paper is focused on comparing the Half Double Methodology with the agile research stream. The specific
research design for this paper is qualitative comparative research (Bryman, 2008, pp.: 58-61). The primary data
collection methods included participation in workshops and meetings from February 2014 to October 2015 with
pilot organizations, the Danish Industry Foundation and a consultancy company. The workshops and meetings are
documented by written material, videos and field notes taken by the authors especially a report covering the
preliminary results for phase 1 of PHD has been important for this comparative analysis (Svejvig et al., 2016).
Informal talks with members of the PHD network have also broadened the understanding of PHD thinking and how
practitioners relate this to their lifeworld (Berger and Luckmann, 1966; Schutz, 1967). This paper builds and extends
on earlier studies about the Project Half Double (Heeager, Svejvig and Schlichter, 2016; Svejvig and Grex, 2016;
Svejvig and Hedegaard, 2016).
The Half Double initiative was started in 2013 as an informal network of committed people at different levels of
Danish industry who discussed how to develop project management in the light of the apparent high failure rate of
projects e.g. CHAOS Reports (Hastie and Wojewoda, 2015; Standish Group, 2015) and other studies claiming high
failure rates, and with the ambition to manage projects in a radically different way. The initiative was centered on
the “Implement Consulting Group”, a Scandinavian-based management consultancy company with more than 450
consultants on board, and with a global reach to help organizations change. The initiative matured and began
gradually to formalize during the spring 2014, and the work manifested into 10 leading stars which have been
developed and discussed at four workshops from February 2014 to January 2015 with a broad representation from
areas such as manufacturing, finance, insurance, IT, public administration, management consultancies, universities,
and the Confederation of Danish Industry. The 10 leading stars have later developed into a more carefully prepared
Half Double Methodology focusing on impact, flow, and leadership during 2016. The formal project kick-off took
place in June 2015 where seven pilot projects from seven industry organizations have tested the methodology until
the end of June 2016 (Svejvig et al., 2016).
Heeager et al. How Agile Methods Inspire Project Management
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Project Half Double was initiated with a clear mission to succeed in finding a project methodology that could
increase the success rate of projects while increasing the speed at which new products and services were developed.
PHD was convinced that by doing so it could strengthen Danish competitiveness and play an important role in the
battle for jobs and future welfare. The core elements, principles, methods, and tools are presented in their current
form in Figure 2 (Svejvig et al., 2016, p.: 10):
Figure 2. The Half Double Methodology
The intention in this paper is not to unfold the Half Double Methodology in detail, but instead to emphasize
important characteristics of the methodology details can be found elsewhere (Svejvig et al., 2016).
Core element impact: The principle is “stakeholder satisfaction is the ultimate success criterion”. No project exists
for the project's own sake. All projects are initiated to create impact. Identifying and focusing on impact right from
the start is the key. Impact changes the dialogue from being centered on technical deliverables to how to ensure
stakeholder satisfaction throughout the project’s lifecycle. The following methods are used to realize impact in
Heeager et al. How Agile Methods Inspire Project Management
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Dublin, Ireland, December 10th, 2016 49
(1) Use an impact case to drive behavioral change and business impact. Projects should be driven by impact rather
than deliverables. An impact case should be formulated that lists, prioritizes, and visualizes the business and
behavioral impact which the project is set out to create together with key stakeholders and subject matter experts.
(2) Design the project to deliver impact as soon as possible with end-users close to the solution, and move away
from the premise that projects only generate value at the very end of their lifespan. Seek to create early insights
through fast prototyping and generate impact during the process faster.
(3) Be in touch with the pulse of key stakeholders on a monthly basis. Acknowledging and working actively with the
dynamic nature of projects is a key to succeed. Interests and focus change rapidly, so there is a need to gain insights
and facilitate a dialog among the right people on an ongoing basis to ensure engagement and continuous focus on the
right impact.
Core element flow: The principle is high intensity and frequent interaction to ensure continuous project
progression”. Pursue to create flow in the project. The whole project group should be busy at the same time not
just selected individuals in the project team. However, important project working hours are often lost in
coordination, retrospective project reporting and shifts between multiple projects running simultaneously. Focus on
the flow of the project and use simple methods to intensify project work, ensure the project progress every week and
deliver results - faster. The following methods are used to enhance flow in practice:
(1) Allocate a team +50% and assure colocation. Reduce complexity in time and space to free up time to solve
complex problems. At a portfolio level there is a best practice approach aimed at ensuring “short and fast” projects
meaning fewer projects with a more intense resource allocation.
(2) Define a fixed project heartbeat for stakeholder interaction to progress the project in sprints. A fixed project
heartbeat creates higher energy, higher efficiency, better quality and ultimately faster development speed.
(3) Increase insight and commitment using visual tools and plans to support progression. When operating in a
project mode with high intensity and many touchpoints with both internal and external stakeholders, it is important
to find an efficient way of communicating progress and solutions as well as progress and traction.
Core element leadership: The principle is “leadership embraces uncertainty and makes the project happen”.
Revolutionize the way projects should be lead with less bureaucracy, less formal steering committee meetings, and
less contractual focus. More commitment is needed - and less compliance. Leaders have to cope with turbulence,
conflicts and people. Leaders should focus on the human aspects, work closely together with the project team on a
regular basis, handle issues and complexity in joint force and know the project in its core. The following methods
are used to enhance flow in practice:
(1) Be an active, committed and engaged project owner to support the project and ensure stakeholder satisfaction.
Research suggests one common denominator across all successful projects; an active, committed project owner who
engages directly with the project on an ongoing basis.
(2) Be a collaborative project leader (not manager) with a “people first” approach to drive the project forward. It is
no longer enough to be a trained technician who can follow detailed procedures and techniques prescribed by project
management methods and tools. Collaborative project leadership is about leading a complex system of human
beings, embracing the inevitable uncertainty and making the project happen.
(3) Customize to the uniqueness of the project. Projects are unique and hence one size does not fit all. Each project
needs to be customized to the specific governance and local best practice models to succeed. The customization is
the first step in the local translation of the Half Double Methodology to fit the context.
Mobilize the Half Double mind-set to assist the local translation: The Half Double Methodology is an approach
to leading projects that requires rethinking current practice. It requires a change of mind-set and a change of
behaviour. Implementing Half Double is implementing change.
It is a two-way street. On the one hand, there is a need for aligning and tailoring the Half Double Methodology to
the situation at hand that is organizational structures, cultures and to the local nature of the projects. There is no
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“one-size-fits-all” and the project, the methods and tools must be designed to fit the local conditions. On the other
hand, the organization also needs to be adapted to be in alignment with the Half Double mind-set. There must be
executive level commitment and willingness to think differently (the presentation of the Half Double Methodology
is an extract from Svejvig et al. (2016, pp.: 9-16).
This section presents the comparison between the practices of the agile software methods and general project
management as practiced by the Half Double Methodology. It is important to emphasize that the two methods were
developed for two specific and distinct domains; thus some translation has been necessary to perform the
comparison, shown in Table 2 and described shortly below.
Agile Practices
Influence on the Half Double Methodology
Short iterations
of learning
Deliver impact as soon
Fixed project heartbeat.
Teams working
closely together
Pulse check of the
project team (partly).
Colocation design.
Collaborative project
leader (facilitating a
people process).
person informal
and openness
Colocation design.
Fixed heartbeat (formal
meeting facilitates
informal dialogue).
High intensity and
frequent interaction.
Allocate a core team
+50% and assure
colocation => Fertilizes
the ground for
motivation and
collective ownership.
Be a collaborative
manager with a “people
first” approach.
Focus on people
Pulse check.
Be in touch with your
key stakeholders.
Be a collaborative
manager with a “people
first” approach.
From visual
user stories to
Visual planning through
mock-ups and fast
prototyping (partly).
Be in touch with your
key stakeholders (pulse
Heartbeat for
stakeholder interaction.
Customer = Project
Owner, at least three
hours of biweekly
Test first
Early focus on
the product
Impact case focuses on
early impact (value),
creates a focus on the
development of the
Table 2. Comparing the practices of agile software development with the PHD Method
The analysis showed how several of the agile practices (five of the ten) are fulfilled by the Half Double
Methodology; furthermore four of the agile practices were partly fulfilled, whereas only one agile practice was not
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fulfilled. The analysis also showed how all three core elements: impact, flow and leadership have found inspiration
from the agile methods. Thus, the Half Double Methodology has up to a point been influenced by all four of the
agile cornerstones and nine of the ten practices.
The Half Double Methodology uses a fixed project heartbeat, early delivery of impact and pulse check of the
collocated team which corresponds to the iterations and the close teamwork proposed by the agile methods (Practice
1 and 2). This shows how the Half Double Methodology has been highly inspired to introduce flexibility and change
The heavy focus on the team by the agile methods has, however, only been partly adopted by the Half Double
Methodology, as it focuses on collocation, facilitation and collaboration (Practice 3-5). Still, teams are not labeled
fully self-managing, no guidance on how to support communication strategy based on personalization and openness
is provided, and the motivation and collective ownership of the team is only supported indirectly.
Like the agile methods, the Half Double Methodology has focus on the people aspects (Practice 6), both
stakeholders and the project team. The frequent, continuous customer involvement (Practice 8) has been fully
adopted in the Half Double Methodology and influences all three core elements of the methodology. User stories
(Practice 7) are a specific artifact in software development and as such not a part of the Half Double Methodology,
however creating visibility through mock-ups is part of the method. The Half Double Methodology has therefore to
a great extent been inspired by the customer focus of agile methods.
The product focus is however more indirect in the Half Double Methodology. Since it is designed for general project
management, tests and automation (Practice 9) have not been given focus. Yet, it does focus on early impact
(Practice 10), and through this practice a secondary focus on the product is found.
The comparison between agile methods and the Half Double Methodology is at a rather high level, and an analysis
at a more detailed level might give more fine-grained similarities and differences, but this high-level comparison
does in itself emphasize that agile methods from software development certainly have diffused into general project
management practices at least in this specific example of the Half Double Methodology. Other studies support the
same tendency (Conforto et al., 2014; Serrador and Pinto, 2015).
This paper aims to open up the discussion of introducing or maintaining agility in general project management. In
this section we discuss the degree to which the agile methods have inspired project management as practiced by the
Half Double Methodology and what implications this has for future project management practice.
With the agile methods in software development, the domain witnesses a shift from the traditional methods. This
shift has come from several project failures and the acknowledgement that not all change can be avoided
(Abrahamsson, Conboy and Wang, 2009). During the last 15 years, since the agile manifest was published, the use
of agile methods has increased rapidly (Lindvall et al., 2002). Within the field of project management there has also
been a break with the traditional way of doing projects. This has given rise to the literature stream of rethinking
project management (Svejvig and Andersen, 2015; Winter, Smith, Morris and Cicmil, 2006). Agility has also been
given some focus within project management, the literature on the topic is however very scarce.
This paper answers the first part of the research question: How has Agile Software Development inspired the Half
Double Methodology? By identifying how the ten practices of agile software development have influenced the Half
Double Methodology, what can general project management then learn from this? It appears that most of the
practices are mirrored in the Half Double Methodology (see Table 2). The analysis presented showed how the Half
Double Methodology to a large extent has been inspired by agile methods, but also how there is room for increasing
agility in the Methodology. Tripp, Riemenschneider and Thatcher (2016) suggest that agile practices can be divided
into two primary categories: 1) practices related to the software development approach (such as different types of
testing) and 2) practices related to project management (such as iterative delivery). The majority of the ten practices,
which we have identified in this paper, can be categorized as project management practices (practice 1-6, 8 and 10),
whereas only a few are more specific software development practices (practice 7 and 9). It is not very surprising that
the software development specific practices: "From visual user stories to product" and "Test first through automated
testing" were scarcely addressed. However, the analysis also showed how some of the people-oriented practices:
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"self-managing teams"; "person-to-person information and openness"; "motivation through collective ownership"
are scarcely addressed even though they can be characterized as project management practices.
The paper also answers the second part of the research question: How has Agile Software Development inspired the
Half Double Methodology and what can general project management learn from this? Based on the analysis, we
derive five lessons learned (illustrated in Figure 3), which are the main contribution of this paper. No other paper has
explicitly documented the agility of Project Management Practices as practiced in today’s industry.
Figure 3. Lessons Learned
We dare to suggest that by focusing on Impact, Flow, and Leadership, agility can (partly) be conceptualized and
applied in general project management in a useful way, conceptualized using the last four Lessons Learned. But it
also seems that the lessons learned tell us that in some areas, more effort is needed to fully take advantage of the
agile principles. More focus is especially needed on team collaboration and motivation as well as a more direct and
contextualized focus on the product to be produced as a result of the general project management.
This conceptual mapping opens a set of interesting avenues for further research. Among these we may look deeper
into specific aspects of the Half Double Methodology and how this can be mapped into an agile approach or we may
look deeper into more specific types of agile development, such as XP or Scrum. The above mentioned issues are in
line with an executive report where (Highsmith, 2003) presents nine principles, five stages and their corresponding
tools and also in line with (Boehm and Turner, 2003) who discuss people issues for agile software management.
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We acknowledge the limitations of the present research and understand that the conceptualization must be
challenged further by applying it on more cases and by analyzing both the small discrepancies and how the actors
understand and apply these agile principles in their daily project practices.
The authors would like to thank the Danish Industry Foundation for funding this work, and acknowledge
contributions from Danish organizations involved in the Project Half Double and the Implement Consulting Group.
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest regarding the funding agency and other parties involved in
the Project Half Double.
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... The development of agile project management as an iterative methodology came from perceived weaknesses of traditional project management (Spundak, 2014;Heeager and Schlichter, 2016). Leybourne (2009) commented agile project management dismantled traditional project management in favor of experimentation. ...
... The development of agile eventually culminated in the Agile Manifesto in 2001, a set of guidelines for software development (Lindstrom and Jeffries, 2004). These principles include valuing individuals and interactions over processes and tools, valuing working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over negotiation, and responding to change over blindly following a plan (Heeager and Schlichter, 2016). ...
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This non-experimental correlational study extends previous research investigating the relationship between project management methodology and reported project success, as well as the moderating variables of industry and project manager experience. The sample included North American project managers with five years’ experience, 25 years of age or older, and experience with multiple project management methodologies. The survey instrument consisted of 58 questions, utilizing a 5-point Likert scale to record responses. The survey contained three sections, including demographic information, questions related to a successful project, and questions related to a less-than successful (failed / challenged) project. 367 usable responses were received. The examination of the constructs included Pearson’s correlation coefficient as well as linear regression to determine the impact of moderating variables. Results indicated that project management methodology has a weak correlation with reported project success, and this correlation is not moderated by industry nor project manager experience. The results did not align with previously conducted studies, illustrating a need to continue the study of methods impacting success including investigating additional moderating variables.
... [8]). Consequently, the community of software engineering and IT project management has begun to research these problems in-depth and agile approaches have spread in the general PM community; agile ideas and concepts are deployed beyond IT projects starting first with innovation and new product development projects, but now also leading to experiments where some of the principles of agility are applied in construction or engineering projects [17,31]. The strong interest is accompanied by challenges such as scalability or distributed work teams [17]. ...
The 'project' is a prevalent form for organising endeavours of construction, innovation, IT development and organisational change. 'Projects' involve coordination and cooperation between colocated and distributed actors, and are relevant for CSCW (computer supported cooperative work) research as a particular kind of cooperative work. A survey of CSCW publications only identified 26 papers that explicitly address project management (PM), of which most primarily focus on IT development. We argue that CSCW's conceptual and methodological tools can make significant contributions to PM research, practice and its computational support. We point to four issues of relevance for future CSCW research on projects: continue to sophisticate the empirical and conceptual understanding of projects, broaden research beyond IT projects into other domains, develop agile approaches beyond IT development and focus on computational support for project work and management. In all, we argue that CSCW can advance our understanding of project work and management and the design of adequate computational support.
Agile software practices are widely used in a great variety of organizations, and the shift from traditional plan-driven approaches entails a redefinition of processes in these organizations. Intrafirm knowledge transfer of agile software practices between projects is a key concern in this redefinition. While knowledge transfer is essential for an organization to develop or keep its competitive advantage, it is also both difficult and time consuming, due to a wide range of barriers. Transferring knowledge on agile practices is even more complex due to there being a high degree of tacit knowledge. Research on knowledge of agile practices focuses on adoption of agile practices within a single team, thus extant research lacks focus on intrafirm transfer. Through a case study, this article investigates the intrafirm knowledge transfer of agile practices. With a starting point as the theory of barriers to knowledge transfer, we modify and extend the framework to transferring knowledge of agile practices. This framework is subsequently applied for interpreting and analyzing the case study data. The analysis shows how these barriers (e.g., the organizational culture, time and resources, knowledge strategy, and motivation and willingness) are related and that they cannot be understood in isolation. The barriers and their relations are brought together in a conceptual model and its relevance is discussed.
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Agile software-development advocates claim that an important value proposition of agile methods is that they make people more motivated and satisfied with their jobs. While several studies present anecdotal evidence that agile methods increase motivation and satisfaction, research has not theoretically explained or empirically examined how agile development practices relate to team members’ feelings about their work. Drawing on the management and software-development literature, we articulate a model of job design that connects agile development practices to perceptions of job characteristics and, thereby, improve agile team members’ job satisfaction. Using data collected from 252 software-development professionals, we tested the model and found a positive relationship between agile project-management and software-development practices and employees’ perceptions of job characteristics. Further, we found direct effects between agile development-practice use and job satisfaction. Finally, we found interaction effects between the use of agile project-management and software-development approaches and the perception of job autonomy. With this study, we contribute to the literature by theoretically explaining and directly evaluating agile development practices’ impact on individuals’ perceptions about their job characteristics and on their job satisfaction.
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Agile methods are widely used and successful in many development situations and beginning to attract attention amongst the software maintenance community – both researchers and practitioners. However, it should not be assumed that implementing a well-known agile method for a maintenance department is therefore a trivial endeavour - the maintenance operation differs in some, important respects from development work. Classical accounts of software maintenance emphasise more traditional software engineering processes, whereas recent research accounts of agile maintenance efforts uncritically focus on benefits. In an action research project at Aveva in Denmark we assisted with the optimisation of SCRUM, tailoring the standard process to the immediate needs of the developers. We draw on both theoretical and empirical learning to formulate seven heuristics for maintenance practitioners wishing to go agile.
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The Agile project management methodology has been widely used in recent years as a means to counter the dangers of traditional, front-end planning methods that often lead to downstream development pathologies. Although numerous authors have pointed to the advantages of Agile, with its emphasis on individuals and interactions over processes, customer collaboration over contracts and formal negotiations, and responsiveness over rigid planning, there are, to date, very few large-scale, empirical studies to support the contention that Agile methods can improve the likelihood of project success. Developed originally for software development, it is still predominantly an IT phenomenon. But due to its success it has now spread to non-IT projects. Using a data sample of 1002 projects across multiple industries and countries, we tested the effect of Agile use in organizations on two dimensions of project success: efficiency and overall stakeholder satisfaction against organizational goals. We further examined the moderating effects of variables such as perceived quality of the vision/goals of the project, project complexity, and project team experience. Our findings suggest that Agile methods do have a positive impact on both dimensions of project success. Further, the quality of the vision/goals is a marginally significant moderator of this effect. Implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed.
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This research paper presents evidence from an exploratory survey on the use of agile project management (APM) practices and the presence of APM enablers in 19 medium- and large-sized companies from different industry sectors considering innovative projects. The results show that these companies are possibly struggling to use their current management practices in the face of different project challenges. Additionally, the presence of some APM enablers indicates opportunities to adapt the APM theory for different companies other than those in software development. Future research should explore the correlation between APM practices and enablers in order to develop “hybrid” management models for different industries.
Project Half Double is an industry-driven initiative with the purpose to develop a new and radical project paradigm to increase the competitiveness of the Danish industry. The research part of Project Half Double will assess the degree to which the new project paradigm is more successful than traditional approaches, which calls for an evaluation and comparison framework. This paper describes the design of such a comparison framework consisting of the five elements context, project, mechanism/practices, output and impact based on the open systems view. We illustrate the use of the comparison framework for front-loading projects in Grundfos and the specific evaluation criteria used here. The design and use of comparison frameworks have some implications, such as it being challenging to define relevant and meaningful evaluation criteria, it is difficult to collect complex evaluation data and some organisations lack the project maturity to take advantage of the frameworks.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to analyze the similarities and differences between the Danish rethinking project management (RPM) initiative named Project Half Double (PHD) and the RPM research stream. The paper furthermore discusses how PHD and RPM can inspire each other in research and practice. Design/methodology/approach This is an empirical paper based on collaborative research between industry and researchers. PHD has developed principles and practices driven by industry consisting of ten leading stars and the impact, leadership and flow (ILF) method. The ten leading stars and ILF method are compared to RPM research. The comparative analysis is then used in a broader discussion about how the research-driven RPM initiative can enrich the industry-driven PHD initiative and vice versa depicted in a theoretical understanding of translations between global ideas and local implementations. Findings RPM and PHD share a focus on value creation, social processes, learning and complexity while PHD also focusses on lean thinking, agile thinking, front-end loading and leadership, which are largely topics beyond the RPM research stream. Originality/value The paper presents how stakeholders from Danish industry interpret the actuality in projects and how they want to move forward with a radically different project paradigm. This is expressed in the ten leading stars and ILF method, which is compared and contrasted to the existing RPM literature providing a foundation for further development of both RPM and PHD.
This paper presents the results of a structured review of the rethinking project management (RPM) literature based on the classification and analysis of 74 contributions and in addition takes a critical look at this brave new world. Through the analysis, a total of 6 overarching categories emerged: contextualization, social and political aspects, rethinking practice, complexity and uncertainty, actuality of projects and broader conceptualization. These categories cover a broad range of different contributions with diverse and alternative perspectives on project management. The early RPM literature dates back to the 1980s, while the majority was published in 2006 onwards, and the research stream appears to be still active. A critical look at this brave new world exhibits the overall challenge for RPM to become much more diffused and accepted.