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Why Agile Shouldn’t Suck in 2017 (Even For Enterprises)

If cascading down a Waterfall fails to impress your boss and you feel like MS Project Charts could Burndown the candle at both ends—Sprints using Sensei’s Agile tool for Enterprises may be just the thing you need to boost endorphins and productivity.

This week Microsoft released the What’s New list update for MS Project 2016 including enhancements for “Agile” projects. Here at Sensei, we have been serving the PPM pie in Agile flavour for quite some time. So, when I heard about the updates from Microsoft I was excited to compare the two and call out any differences between the new “Agile” enhancements in MS Project and the Sensei Agile tool and advisory practice that have been helping Enterprises do Agile successfully for some time.

Conventionally, MS Project leaned towards the Waterfall methodology of project management but with the new updates Microsoft has given customers the power to choose between Agile or Waterfall and, while using the tool they won’t feel hinged towards one or the other.

The Agile updates introduced a set of fields at task level that align with both Scrum and Kanban methods including Sprint, Board Status, Sprint Lengths and few more fields. These updates will help standardise plans which means customers won’t need to worry about creating custom fields to house the additional information required to align with Scrum. On top of these fields, Microsoft provides some useful views and filters. Plus, with a click of button in the top ribbon, Scrum masters can select Current Sprint Board and use it for stand up meetings.

So far, Microsoft is covering the MS Project side of Agile methodology. However, Sensei, following the reputation of industry innovator has the answers for Enterprises using Project Online. Just last week I configured an Agile solution for a large mining and metals company in Western Australia and personally, I think it’s pretty impressive.

We’ve thought about the entire process starting from Epics, User Stories and Assignment to Sprints—yep, it’s all covered in the solution. We carefully identified Agile best practices for Enterprises and translated it into different components at different layers. We’ve also introduced several enterprise custom fields to capture the details associated with user stories, sprints, and the entire process. We have the option to have custom views and reports available for consumption with a single button click in MS Project using a specially designed VSTO app.

The enterprise-level views and reports powered by Reporting Hub™ provide the details required at different stages of sprints. Scrum team favourite Burndown reports are also a part of the package that show a real-time picture of the sprints and work in the projects.

So remember people, Agile shouldn’t suck (even for large Enterprises); like a good pair of sneakers, it should boost your performance and feel smoother and easier. If it doesn’t feel this way for you, perhaps you need to try Agile, the Sensei way.

By Faraz Qureshi, Productivity and PPM Consultant at Sensei

Faraz is a passionate technical ninja who gets a kick out of solving complex problems around Office365, Project Online, Application Integrations, Data Analytics and Business Insights. Being PMP Certified and an active member in the PMI Sydney Chapter, he loves to help clients in PMOs and organisations using his experience and understanding of real PMO issues and solutions.


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