by Nicola Caswell-Thorp

Agile Project Management for Government

Book Reviews

Agile Project Management for Government by Brian Wernham
Agile Project Management for Government by Brian Wernham

Agile Project Management for Government by Brian Wernham


In Agile Project Management for Government, Brian Wernham refers to three main agile approaches for best practice, providing examples of how combining these produces a rounded guidance to how governments should work. He claims this is the first book of its kind and, by demonstrating successes, hopes to change the minds of those leading Government projects to a proven approach.


By working closely with global project management leaders and sponsors, Wernham has successfully managed to convince me that an approach which delivers the earliest benefit, receiving honest feedback on what actually works and changing as you go along – rather than sticking to rigid process – can yield a much more realistic benefit to large and complex pieces of work. Another key element is not being afraid to close down projects or parts of projects which simply will not be delivered or have become – or by the time they are delivered will become – obsolete. The book is broken down into three parts: Stories of Agile Success in Government; The 9 Agile Leadership Behaviors; The 6 Barriers to Agile Success. There are 23 chapters containing real case studies and various aspects of approach such as change, leadership, organisation and contracts.


For those new to agile, this book gives a good overview and easy to understand description of what agile is and why it can play a key role in successful delivery. I particularly liked the chapter on ‘work face-to-face’, which broke down the different elements of communicating in a physical sense and concluded with someleadership exercises which could be utilised in the government environment but, practically, these could be used in any organisation.


It’s more than just a book about agile, it’s an essential piece of learning kit. I think the writing style is easy for anyone to get to grips with, which makes the content easier to embrace also. The author has really taken time to consider elements of projects and explain how they were a success, without moving away from the fact that – regardless of any approach – leadership is the basis of any triumphant release.


Everyone working within the IT project management domain will benefit from reading this book, especially those who have had little or no exposure to agile. Agile Project Management for Government is a must-have for IT project management professionals – a book which you can keep close to hand as a reference when starting up new projects (and indeed identifying projects which need to be closed down). It’s definitely worth picking up to read and returning to over time.

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