Developing an agile project culture

Copenhagen Citizen Service and Implement Consulting Group

4 April 2018

Copenhagen Citizen Service handles a portfolio of approximately 40-50 projects each year. As projects did not necessarily follow the same design principles and were being managed autonomously, Copenhagen Citizen Service required a more agile project management setup that would help strengthen project execution.

Copenhagen Citizen Service wanted a framework for a more focused approach to projects to ensure that deliverables were being met on time and within budget. This would ensure improved execution of ongoing projects and generate more focus on project execution in general. This meant that Copenhagen Citizen Service wanted to add more content to each project, making the phases shorter with more frequent follow-up – what we refer to as ‘short and fat projects’. In addition, they wanted to apply the same principles to three pilot projects.


  • Four simple principles with great impact
  • Focus on classic project principles all the way
  • Short, intensive phases, each creating an impact
  • Many feedback loops where changes can be handled and planned directly

Project execution champions

Implement trained 20 people (project managers and members of the management team) in agile design principles. This included how to design “short and fat projects” and how to “speed box” projects. As a result of the training, project managers can now incorporate the known project principles (purpose, success criteria and deliverables) into their agile projects based on four simple principles:

  • Five main activities – to reduce ”disorder” in the process
  • Five clear roles – to ensure productive interactions
  • Five non-negotiable standards – to keep the effort focused
  • Five values – to achieve better teamwork

As a result of this process, Copenhagen Citizen Service finishes more projects on time, which means that it can spend more time following up and measuring project impact.

"Today, we have more focus on better resource utilisation, enabling us to complete more projects on time – and the projects create an impact" - Thomas Vinther, Head of Digitisation, Copenhagen Citizen Service

Faster, more agile, more impact

Copenhagen Citizen Service’s need for a more agile project culture was driven by a deep desire to ensure project impact from start to finish. Today, its project managers continue to apply the “short and fat” and “speed boxing” principles to every project, creating impact in five key areas:

  • Scoping and a disciplined approach to changes and review
  • Focused resource allocation and shorter time boxes
  • Genuine feedback – in each project and across the portfolio
  • More frequent and structured feedback/review
  • Synchronisation of milestones and design principles in projects and across portfolios

Now that the project managers have the freedom to work in short phases with frequent feedback loops from management and stakeholders, focus on impact is guaranteed from start to finish.

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