PM to Agile Coach: The artifact is not the end-all

When you work in the traditional PM world, it’s easy to slip into the thinking that the artifact is the thing – the end in itself.  Let’s look at a typical artifact, the risks and issues log.  In this world, it’s OK to capture risks and issues one week, document them the next, then update them once a week after that.  A PM would call this “managing risks and issues.”  And it’s a job PMs get kudos for doing because it feels like a value-added service for someone to manage risks and issues, but what they’re really managing is the log.  And neither of these are truly value-added, anyway.

How long do you think it takes an Agile team to realize that the goal is not to manage a list but to kill the things on the list before they become impediments? 

Probably about a half a sprint.  The glorious, built-in time pressure of the sprint causes a team to focus on knocking down risks and issues, not building them up on a list.  What a wonderful world it is!

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