IPMA International Project Management Association
13 September 2018 / 12:36

The IPMA Agile Leadership Expedition

You can’ t have missed it, but the Agile development has had an indelible impact on project management. You may have wondered why IPMA has remained silent for so long? Maybe you’re questioning yourself whether an association for project managers has anything to say about Agile at all. Well, we kept silent until we really had something to say that would make a difference and we have it now. The agile philosophy has a number of flaws and we wanted to make sure our ideas could fix them. That is why it is now time to make them known worldwide.

Whenever an organization fails to really work agile, we blame it for the lack of the right culture. Or, as the hard-core agilists say, the Agile Mindset. We fully agree. But that is not enough, because most agile literature comes from software development, and let’s be honest, that industry doesn’t have such a good reputation when it comes to projects. I hope my colleagues from IT will forgive me for this inconvenient truth. There is an increasing need for Agile insights that transcend software development. IPMA has decided to develop a generic philosophy that is cross industry.

This is a learning trajectory and I am glad that I can be an IPMA Expedition Leader there. Something I don’t do alone but with a team of agile experts who are willing to think beyond their boxes. One of my guiding principles is to unparadigm myself, if you don’t have a box you don’t have to think out of the box either. I myself started this expedition for IPMA Netherlands in 2017. We succeeded in setting up an international working group in 2018. Members from Croatia, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands met in Zagreb and wrote Key Competence Indicators for an Agile World. Grateful the team used the Dutch mindset stories we had developed in the Netherlands the year before. We delivered our minimum viable product, the IPMA Reference Guide ICB4 in an Agile World.

The Counsel of Delegates taking place in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, voted Saturday, September 8th unanimously to proceed to the next increment. The original team will be expanded with members from Finland, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and more. The Agile Fire is burning strong. In the next six months, we will extend the reference guide with measures that will tell the story what it means to be(come) an Agile Leader.

Let me tell you what we mean by this. To become Agile you need to do more than simply get a SCRUM or SAFe certificate. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, it won’t really make you Agile. It is much better to work on the right mindset and that is exactly what the Agile Leader Certification of IPMA will achieve. The process of becoming certified demands you to reflect on your behaviour. That you think about the impact you make. How to build the bridges between the classical way of organizing and the Agile way. After all, it’s not about the piece of paper you get in the pocket proudly. It’s about converting the insights you gain during the reflection into changed Agile behaviour.
The certification we develop in this expedition gives clients the assurance that they are dealing with agilists who have proven to be competent. Competent people, not certificates! We have already proven that IPMA is good at this for project, programme and portfolio managers. We’re going to repeat that now for Agile. The great distinguishing feature of IPMA is that we are framework independent, we are a non-profit organisation. You pay for competence instead of for the profit of a commercial organization that grants you a piece of paper.

The next step in our expedition will take six months and in those months I will keep you informed of our progress. Some of the IPMA Member Associations have already started the marketing. Inform in your own country and keep following these blogs. Hope to see you next time.

John Hermarij, IPMA Agile Leader Certification Expedition Leader

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John Hermarij

Author of this post

John Hermarij is a visionary on leadership and is a well-known speaker around the world. He inspired project managers from Belgium; Egypt; France; Greece; Hungary; Italy; Lithuania; Netherlands; Nigeria; Oman; Switzerland; Turkey; Syria; United Kingdom; and the United States.

He is the author of “Better Practices of Project Management” one of the world’s most comprehensive handbooks about IPMA’s competences on project management. He is also trainer in project management and adaptive leadership.

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