Dean Pattrick, PMP,
Nokia, Espoo, Finland
focused teams that can be reprioritized based on
changes from the customer or the competitive landscape. As an example, we recently had to create a
demo consisting of completely new features—and
completed it within 10 days. For me, that illustrates
the power of Agile.
The end game
is that Agile is
to allow it to
THe MObIle phone market
moves fast, forcing industry players to
keep up—or go under.
Three years ago, that need for speed
and innovation prompted Dean Pattrick, PMP, to move mobile giant
Nokia to an Agile project environment.
“It was a painful journey,” says Mr.
Pattrick, head of the company’s program management office (PMO) for
its music division. but the result is a
technology group that can now produce production-grade code within two-week sprints, giving the company an edge over its rivals.
Describe Nokia’s approach to project management.
Three years ago, we were faced with an important
technical decision of implementing a new set of
requirements onto one of our existing store platforms. After some initial planning using the waterfall
method, the project looked like it would take a year.
At the same time, a few of the developers were
discussing the advantages of moving to a more Agile
way of working. They argued that using Agile, they
could build a completely new platform from the
ground up, including the new set of requirements, in
the same amount of time. We missed the deadline by
only 20 hours—not working hours, total hours—and
that was due to stakeholder calendars.
What’s the PMO’s role in Nokia’s Agile environment?
PMOs are certainly not the management fad everyone thought they would be. Within Nokia, the
PMO adds tremendous value to the business.
The PMO had to figure out how to mesh Agile
with a culture that still expects a certain type of long-range waterfall approach to reporting. We have three
huge divisions—markets, devices and services—that
interact with each other. One cannot exist without
the full support of the other two. The end game is
that Agile is embedded into the corporate culture,
with the necessary meshing with other ways of working to allow it to survive and flourish.
What advice would you offer other organizations
looking to transition to Agile?
Consult with people who have lived through it,
who have an understanding of the pain that turning
resistance into acceptance can cause at every level in
the organization. Having someone who has experienced it first-hand can help you make better, more
One major undertaking is to offer training to
everyone, especially managers, so that they can
understand and appreciate the ramifications of the
change that you are all embarking on.
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How did the company make the transition to Agile?
everyone from developers to senior management
The team was realigned. There were major
changes to the working environment, with walls
taken down to create completely open workspaces
and boards mounted to the walls. One major impact
was the different type and style of reports: Gone was
the monolith waterfall approach to reporting, and in
came the product backlog and burn-down charts.
What advantages have you seen?
looking back, the final benefits completely outweigh the initial risks. We know how to create
Is there anything you would alter about the way
Nokia approaches project management?
Nokia fully embraces project management methodologies. It understands the benefits of project managers and offers training and support. If I could change
one thing, I would influence some key people within
the marketing organization to undertake some formal
training in project management. I see this as a huge
opportunity not only to the business but developing
team members. PM