I just finished teaching a 3 day class on agile project management to a group if PMs in Cairo, Egypt. The class was one of the outcomes of an agreement signed between the Egyptian Government and the PMI IT & Telecom SIG last year. I’m approaching 10 years of volunteer service with the SIG.
One of the points we spent a lot of time discussing is when to apply agile. I spent some time talking about the sweet spot for agile…projects that don’t have clear requirements, are not huge, have strong user involvement, and have higher risk. New technology projects are good examples.
The idea of the Enlightened PM is one that knows the right tool to use for the project they have in front of them. While there are some that would disagree, I don’t think agile is the right approach to every project. I still think there’s a place for waterfall. I also know there are projects that will work well using more radical approaches such as Kanban.
One of the discussions revolved around an SAP implementation. Our conclusion was that you could do the initial implementation of SAP using their ASAP methodology (disclosure: I helped SAP develop the project management practices that go with ASAP). However, when you start working on enhancements, you can use agile, or even Kanban to manage those changes.
One of the participants in my class was in the construction industry. While I wouldn’t recommend agile for building a house, it can be used for designing a house.