Agile and Monitor and Control
With Agile, Every Day is a Review Day
The constant reviews of status of the project activities via daily Agile sprint meeting, provides the mechanism for the latest state of the project. This includes the scrum master and product owner apprised of the situation. I like the analogy of a pilot making course corrections. If the pilot waits until significant part of the trip is concluded before measuring where they are, a vacation trip to someplace warm can end up in someplace really cold. These daily discussions also help ferret out the risks to the project as well, specifically, the question regarding impediments. An impediment is an obstacle to our objective and therefore it is a risk. This constant directing of the team attention to the immediate task at hand and measuring is the exact opposite of distraction.
Agile and Stakeholder Management
Unlike in conventional projects where the sponsor of the project informs the team of what they want and then runs off, agile puts demands on the product owner to participate. This scripted inclusion of the stakeholder is helpful as any question the team may have regarding implementation is more readily answerable.
The Hype / Myth of Multitasking
One of the downsides of conventional projects can be the lack of focus. Seldom will we see daily meetings to monitor progress in conventional projects. In fact, this type of monitoring will only happen when the project is in a bad state. Daily meetings to discuss status after we are already way behind do little to help as once the project is late – it is late. Conventional projects also can distract the team by presenting a constant barrage of work upon which the individuals must focus as the individual may carry multiple roles within a project. Experience also suggests, we diffuse the capability of the team member by assigning them to multiple projects. Long periods between monitoring and multiple projects make hyper focus on the immediate task at hand for a specific project all but impossible. Couple this with cell phones, YouTube, nonproductive but required meetings and the myriad of other daily obstacles, and it is easy to see why projects fail.
Multitasking is not something to be lauded. This is one of the biggest damages to productivity and creativity in my opinion. It is at times necessary, perhaps, however the long term negative consequences are much worse than any small benefit.