3 min.
Rigor and agility: the paradox of good project management?
1L’art de la gestion de projet2Un projet à succès commence par une bonne gouvernance3Cascade, agilité, demandes de changement?

Rigor and agility: the paradox of good project management?

Business Strategy Project Management

How change management and project management methodologies affect the success of your project by focusing on agility and rigor.


Last week, a file on project management on change management, agility and the paradoxes associated with performance criteria appeared in the newspaper Les Affaires. As a practice leader in project management, I won't hide from you that seeing this topic that fascinates me covered in the media inspires me to share a bit about the approach we favor at Adviso.


In the file, although taking into account the holy trinity of project management, namely  scope ,  time  and  budget , the comments put forward relate more to the importance of understanding the needs, not only of the project. , but also individuals who will then have to work or interact with a solution, and therefore, properly address  change management . The paradox faced by some projects is that to fully understand the whole, it takes time and money. Otherwise, it is impossible to properly dissect the scope of the project. The content thus summarizes the thing through two distinct roles: one to  manage the project  and the other to  manage the change .

Our team strongly believes in merging these two roles, where the project manager must be an agent of change.

Isn't the raison d'être of a project to respond to change? So what can be done to keep this change management a priority while ensuring that the project's performance criteria are met?

A project manager has a whole arsenal of frameworks. From cascading methodologies to the multitude of agility models, Les Affaires paints a portrait that tries to demystify this famous "agility" which is still very trendy with organizations that are trying to follow new practices and integrate new ways of working, deliver more in less time, with more value to better serve their customers or consumers. The quote from Frédéric Moreau in the article explains well the dilemma of agility where “many improvise agilists”. He defines it in two facets:  doing agile , an IT project delivery method, and  being agile , a philosophy that can be applied to any field.

We share this philosophy. It's what allows us to work with an approach of continuous improvement and innovation in everything we deal with at Adviso, but above all to adapt to realities as diverse as our clients. But what secret weapon is hidden behind this success, while ensuring rigorous performance?


Excellence in project management emanates from his understanding of the  big picture , a refined business acumen, understanding of frameworks and his adaptability in integrating best practices that match the project, the expectations of its client and its management method, as well as the project teams dedicated to delivery success.

Across all industries, and especially in digital, decisions made on a project don't just affect what happens on the web. They have widespread repercussions on strategic business orientations, operational processes, even consumer purchasing decisions and the sustainability of certain activities. We are seeing the emergence of a need for professional profiles that require  the qualities of a project manager .

We talk about the art of project management because we must quickly understand and interpret a multitude of information at all times in order to make decisions or advise our clients on the impact of their decision on their products, services or business. Even though we know our services and the types of projects inside out, each client project is unique and we must constantly adapt to its ambiguities.

At Adviso, we promote project management as a vector of success for our clients, including interpreting their management methods and processes to adapt to their reality. Risks must constantly be identified, monitored, controlled and measured . Our curious and proactive nature is put forward in a continuous but abstract way, a quality quite intangible on a daily basis but how advantageous to reassure our customers in their quest for success.


Having worked on several large-scale digital projects at Adviso, it goes without saying that the complexity of projects is not limited to resource constraints or the risks through which we must navigate daily, but more to the understanding of the humans who are at the heart of the project. By human, we mean all the stakeholders , the individuals directly linked to the project (the  sponsor, the client, the team, etc. ) but also all those other people who are indirectly affected by the change brought about by the project. The senior management at our customers are not always an integral part of the project, just like the end users, but must absolutely be considered under the guidance of the project manager who exists to facilitate their understanding and acceptance of the project. Where do we start then?

Identifying a  sponsor  or project champion is key. This person represents the change that the company wants to implement and plays a pivotal role, hand in hand with the project manager. The  sponsor  makes sure to report to the management on the progress of the project, to raise the needs in terms of commitment of the company and to support the decision-making. The project manager acts as the main advisor for the sponsor, to help in decision-making and in understanding the impacts. Together, this duo is able to mobilize the necessary resources , both from a production and political point of view.

It is true that the efforts invested in ensuring sound project governance can eat into the budget upstream, but just like good planning, the integration of these governance principles can  save you not only dollars, but also several headaches. .


Author Anne-Marie Luca mentions that “all the specialists in this file agree that effective project management is tailor-made,” and oh that's true!

In recent years, we have adopted a so-called hybrid model, where we base ourselves on the standards established by the  Project Management Institute , while adapting their frameworks to our reality, and especially to that of our clients and the needs of the project. . With methodological rigour, we maintain a philosophy where  agility is a state of mind.

If a project responds to a need for change within an organization, it remains in itself a rollercoaster of changes, of accumulations of information, where each new element requires decision-making. In a hybrid model, our comfort in working under uncertainty, understanding and integrating demands for change allows us to keep up with the speed of our industry, but also to evolve with our customers who are also carried away by the bad weather of this digital revolution.  

A turnaround can happen at any time, have you foreseen the risks? Do you know your real risk tolerance? Know how you will react? What leeway do you have to address this unforeseen event? In any case, you will always have to deal with all kinds of changes, all kinds of issues. I challenge you to be agile in the face of these changes, but not at the expense of planning rigor and empathy towards your stakeholders.