My Agile Life: The Project Doesn’t Matter

(This column is posted at, Steve’s LinkedIn, and Steve’s Tumblr)

More on my use of “Agile” and Scrum in my life!

So this is going to sound weird, but one thing I realized in Agile practice, and my own use of the Agile technique of Scrum (with a touch of Kanban), is that the Project isn’t the most important thing.

Yes, I know, heresy. Projects are books, right? Projects are art, true? Projects are games, correct? I talk Projects all the time.

No. A book, a piece of art, a game is a product. Products deliver value to the customer and that’s what matters.

Projects are ways to get things done, to produce products, a useful conceptual tool, but that’s it.  The idea of a Project helps you complete a Product that has value.

Yeah, let that sink in. All your planning, all your schemes, everything are secondary to the result. Think it’s hard for you? I’m a guy with a ton of certifications on the subject of Project Management. In short, I actually have certifications on the second most important thing.

Except this is liberating. I don’t have to take Projects seriously or any other organizational tool.  All that matters is if this concept, this idea, this tool, this idea helps deliver value.  That’s it.

This is where Agile as a mindset shines. It’s outright saying that your goal is a result.  That’s it.  Everything else is just a tool on the way to the result.  You only have to care so much.

This is where Agile techniques shine, they’re tools to help you find blockages and get to the results – but like any tool you don’t have to be attached to them. Scrum this year becomes Kanban. This level of Project Breakdown is replaced by another.

I still use the term Project.  It’s useful.  I just don’t have to get invested in it.  It’s all about results.

By the way if you’re focused on Projects and not results – why?  Are the results even worth seeking?

(By the way I do plenty of books for coaching people to improve in various areas, which may also help you out!)

– Steve