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Nimble Approach to Project Management

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 7/30/2009

This article describes the Nimble Approach to project management.

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    What is the Nimble Approach?

    Donna Fitzgerald created the Nimble Approach to Project Management. The Nimble Approach, like Scrum, relies upon a precise project methodology. One feature of the Nimble Approach is that project managers view each project as unique in some way, and success depends upon working with uniqueness of a product. The project plan is also viewed as constantly changing, and the view of success depends upon how well this changing course is navigated by the team.

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    How does it Work?

    Like all project management approaches, the Nimble Approach follows a specific system. The most important part of having a successful Nimble Approach team is to ensure that all team members are comfortable with change. The Nimble Approach views the team as being an adaptive system – able to maneuver successfully through any curve ball that may be thrown at the project plan.

    Once a team has been constructed, then the project can be constructed according to the nimble approach framework.

    First, the team must have a guiding vision. This guiding vision is concrete and realized through words and actions of the team. The team works with the client in order to produce this guiding vision.

    Second, teamwork is vital to the Nimble Approach. Teamwork is facilitated through communication and building relationships among team members. It is important for the team members to bond and treat each other as a community. This is to encourage all members of the project management team to come forward with problems and to encourage collaboration. Every day, opportunities are given for the members to become familiar with one another – from potluck lunches through nickname giving.

    Third, the team ought to have a set of rules that govern team practices. These are simple rules that can be followed by every team member. Again, this facilitates the feeling of community among members, because everyone uses the same system.

    Forth, all information should be open. Place team members adjacent to one another to encourage conversation and collaboration. Managers schedule status meetings daily. The important thing is that everyone is informed and everyone communicates.

    Fifth, whereas other project management methods (Six Sigma, for example) require that there be an enormous amount of control, the Nimble Approach requires only as much control as necessary to foster order. This is because nimble project teams see the project as ever-changing, and so they must change with the project.

    Finally, the project team must constantly monitor the project and adjust their activities where necessary.

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    Will it Work for You?

    The Nimble Approach will work best with those who have no problem with change and adapting to change. It is not for project managers who require a more rigid adherence to the plan. It is great for software management, because it recognizes that just because something is on paper doesn’t mean it will work.