Applying Agile Project Management Methodology to Natural Disaster Projects
The increasing volatility of our global environment is proving a major challenge for governments, aid and private organisations in delivering effective and efficient post-disaster relief and recovery project management (PM). When disasters strike, especially when consequences become catastrophic, demands on all resources and capabilities in the affected countries exceed supply. The traditional PM decision-making system is impeded by overly bureaucratic and political issues, and in addition there is a lack of local knowledge and ability to diffuse problems. Therefore, it is essential for the disaster management (DM) community to consider alternative methods to enable more effective PM and assist those affected to transition from post-disaster chaos to smooth recovery.
DM projects, especially post-disaster relief and recovery projects, are not well represented in PM literature. These projects, managed by international organisations in beneficiary countries, have a poor success rate. Key challenges and deficiencies identified in best practices PM are in the areas of consultation, communication, collaboration, cooperation, lessons learned, decision making, roles and responsibilities, flexibility/adaptability and leadership. Empirical data obtained through interviews, eight case studies and a survey, followed by data analysis of data confirmed that PM was not applied consistently, professionally or even semi-professionally and confirmed the literature.
Based on the findings, an agile framework for post-disaster projects was developed and proposed utilising key skills and attributes.