Different functions, different challenges

As one of the very few SAFe Program Consultant Trainers in the world, Eelco Rustenburg has become an authority on company-wide Agility. Here, he explores his intended keynote for Agile Munich on May 8th: a concise review of the specific challenges for several important supporting functions. PM/PO, Finance, and HR: to each their own hurdles to jump.


“Project management and planning organization is a key source of Agile momentum, in theory at least. A major part of company-wide Agility lies in the way people plan their projects – the short cycles, the iterative approach to testing and development, the multidisciplinary sourcing of humanpower…”

“So far that’s what several theories on Agility preach. But the archetype project planner, the brain most suited to working in PM/PO is not naturally an Agile personality, is what I’ve seen in practice. It’s logical: planning is a primarily sequential affair. One thing can only follow after another, and so it has been for millennia. To impact those minds such that they become pilots of Agility is a substantial challenge.”

“When PM/PO does embrace Agility it can most certainly be a key change agent. They’re also among those to benefit immensely from the new approach to planning. The inherent flexibility involved, the on-the-ball mentality… it just makes their job so much more fun.”



The Finance function is pivotal in scaling Agile to a company-wide scope because, emotional motivators such as team spirit and appreciation aside – money is what fuels work. Consequentially, if budgeting continues its annual cyclical monolith, the rest of the organization finds it that much more difficult to truly embrace flexibility.”

When budgets are bound by start-of-year and end-of-year, there’s hardly any room to prioritize over time. A budget manager can’t know, at the start of the year, which projects are going to be how important however. Moreover, nobody knows – but you have to plan and fix the annual budget anyway.”

“If Finance is included in the transformation scope early, the value created by Agile teams becomes visible sooner, which is an enormous motivational boost for all included. Moreover, Finance itself can budget more confidently, because it has room to prioritize.”


Human Resources

“The Agile way of working is delivered as a body of knowledge: approaches to planning, approaches to budgeting, approaches to value creation. But at the fundamental level, corporate Agility lives in the minds of your people. It’s their frame of reference. And that means your ease of adopting these principles and frameworks is greatly enhanced by how you hire, how you review, and how you promote.”

“The conventional, annual personal performance review: a stressful event, and often hopelessly late in the game. When Nick or Jane needs something said to them, usually everyone else quickly learns about it via informal channels – everyone except Nick or Jane. Why wait several months before you tell them? Agility in performance is a matter of weeks, not months.”


Come hear Eelco speak – at Agile Munich!

Eelco Rustenburg will deliver a keynote contribution at Agile Munich 2019 in the Münchner Künstlerhaus in Munich, Germany. Tickets for the event on May 8-10 are selling fast, so be sure to reserve your seat today!


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