I just returned from the 2006 Project & Portfolio Management Summit. Its an event that is put on by Gartner every year where they roll-out their annual analysis of the PPM market. Since this is Pacific Edge Software's primary market, it was critical that we made a good showing. And since were a small company in this market (CA, IBM, Microsoft, Compuware, Mercury and others have acquired their way in over the last couple years), we decided we wanted to look and feel different from the others.
So I presented "Worlds Collide: Agile Development meets PPM." PPM advocates tend to have a traditional project management and methodology focus. I was expecting my talk to be a bit on the controversial side as PPM-types tend to focus on change control, well defined business processes, approvals, and lots of other things that repulse most agile types. I was pleasantly surprised.
I basically structured my presentation as a case study on Pacific Edge. We are a hardcore agile shop with respect to product development, but apply many Project and Portfolio Management best practices as well. One of the surprises was the amount of attendees that were familiar with Agile development. When I queried the audience, it was well over half. I had several approach me after the presentation to discuss how they could incorporate more agility into their PPM processes. While the perceived informality of agile approaches is perceived as a problem with the tactically oriented, its value in making quick, good-enough decisions outweighed the risk with most.
For me, this is a clear sign that agile is well on its way into the mainstream. When CIOs of large organizations are discussing the details of Scrum, we have truly arrived!