Transition towards urban sustainability through socially integrative cities in the EU and in China


1. Purpose(s)

Agile project management facilitates a dynamic, non-linear and adaptive project implementation process. This process generally entails a sequence of structured and iterative steps such as visioning phase, project start in a broad direction, continuous adaptation to the context and conditions of the project and an incremental implementation. Agile project management enables timely response to issues as they arise. The flexible and dynamic nature of this approach to project management provides space for adjustments when necessary throughout the project implementation process. It empowers all project participants to jointly adjust to changing project environment, context and conditions. Central to agile project management and implementation are trust and mutual empowerment among the project team and related stakeholders, as well as a collaborative and flexible project working environment (i.e. association for project management).

Key Words: agile; project management; process; adaptation; iterative

2. Relevance and Impact

Agile project management increases the level of ownership and commitment of different actors involved in the project implementation process, as well as contributing to socially integrative and dialogue-based practice in project development and implementation.

The tool was tested in an online workshop with Chinese experts. In the case study cities, agile project management was used as a tool in London and in Vienna. It has been shown that this tool is particularly effective in combination with other instruments such as Monitoring and Evaluation and Citizen Involvement.

3. Strenghts

Agile project management matches the non-linear nature of urban development and implementation projects that require multiple feedback loops and alignment steps among diverse stakeholders, actors and citizens involved to a varying degree in the project implementation. This approach to project management enables a continuous improvement and adjustment of implementation process throughout the project life cycle and promotes an ongoing release of innovative ideas for solving any potential arising issues.

4. Weaknesses

Agile project management approach is often misinterpreted; it contains a risk of being reduced to technical tools, such as scrum, etc., which can (but does not have to) be applied in the process of project implementation.

5. Good practice examples

Vienna (map): Smarter Together

Agile project management has been successfully applied in the planning and implementation of ‘Smarter Together’ Project in the City of Vienna, Simmering district. This EU Lighthouse Project enabled collaborative and innovative partnership between the Cities of Vienna, Lyon and Munich. Each city designated a specific area that implemented and demonstrated a range of integrated measures, such as sustainable mobility, building refurbishment, data platform development, citizen involvement and community building measures and actions. The project team in Vienna has applied agile project management from the very start of the project in two different ways. On the one hand, digital technical project management tools were used for agile communication with different groups of stakeholders and partners. On the other hand, the process itself was also agile; therefore, a quality management process called ‘Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)’ was used. That means that after each implementation step feedback loops were drawn and these insights were incorporated into the next steps, also known as PDCA cycle – Plan-Do-Check-Act.

6. References

7. Author(s) of the article

Hans-Martin Neumann