Is agile populistic?


Lean thinking and Agile (adaptive) methods such as Kanban, Scrum, XP and all the hybrids in between, seem to be here to stay. Planning moved from Gantt-charts to post-it, and now to digital Kanban-boards and social collaboration tools. Not only within IT, but also within hardware development and construction. PMI has introduced the PMI-ACP certification that covers the above. Yet, within some corners of the Agile movement, there are voices saying project management is no longer needed. Instead agile is considered an own branch of “getting things done”. Preferably by solid teams delivering continuos value, sometimes assisted by agile coaches or scrum masters.

As I see it, an organization is as unique as any project. Project management standards provide a platform of processes and tools to chose from. If you work within a large organization you might want to have some control over the progress of your programs and portfolios. You might also easily want to see the overall status which is supported by the toll gates in your project steering model. Perhaps you work within an government organization financed by tax payers. Budgets might then be mandatory. Or, the fast growing start-up that initially had good money flow and new innovations launched weekly, might be challenged by strong competition, and need to start prioritize future goals.Non of this however, as I see it and if communicated and implemented correctly, limit the possibilities of working agile within projects. Not even if that project have balanced goals (constraints) considering budget, scope or time.

So my question(s): is there a contradiction between agile work and project management? Is agile work per definition projects, just disguised in “populistic” terms? Has some corners of the agile movement missed the point of project management, as agile methods is just methods for project work, among other methods used within your organizations defined (or undefined) project culture? Dave Thomas is asking us to stop using the term Agile, should we?