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Myth #2 – Projects are the only way to get things done

I recently overheard a conversation that ended by one guy stating to another: “and then we will do this in a professional manner, set up a project”. The other guy agreed: “otherwise it will be just, you know, coffee drinking meetings with no real results”. Both guys were nodding happily and cursing sloppy behavior.

But are projects really the best way to get things done?

Projects provide a good structure when there is none. If there is no other structure a project might provide focus and help to get things done. However, any medicine turns to poison when overdosed: when there are projects over projects the complexity of development is again increasing, not decreasing.

Project thinking always starts as if we had an empty table. However, when that table is full of work, organizing for continuous flow is a better option.

How can continuous flow then be achived?

We work with Scaled Agile framework that has proven to be an extremely efficient and easy way to introduce and maintain flow. The point of scaling agile is to remove the organizational complexity for gaining more speed. This is done by time boxing, prioritization and dividing work into small batches.

The intent in Scaled Agile Framework is to create that continuous flow, as it is one of the four pillars in SAFe House of Lean. Yet quite often the first SAFe Agile Release train is formed from an existing project as a pilot.

There is nothing wrong in piloting – but at some point, organizations should have the courage to organize for flow instead of projects.

We created a brand new myth video in order to encourage that change. Let us know what you think and which myth you would like us to bust next time!

To learn more, enroll to one of our courses in – Oppimisen verkkokauppa!

> See also how we busted Myth #1 – Workforce needs control


Maarit Laanti

Maarit Laanti is the Head Coach of Nitor. She has done her dissertation on large scale agile transformation. Maarit is one of the contributors of SAFe methodology and is the first certified SAFe program consultant trainer in Finland.