My experience in project management has been in the domain of academic and research libraries and institutions. On September 27, I had the privilege of attending an Association of Research Libraries/Coalition for Networked Information forum, "Innovation in Research Libraries." It was a chance to meet with colleagues whom I've worked with in my years in academic libraries, including graduate school at LSU; my NLM stint in the late 90s; and with colleagues from the Pacific Northwest.
The kickoff speaker, Bernard Banks, referenced this Ronald Jantz article in his remarks. From Jantz's article on the need for management-led innovation: "The library focus on service quality and adherence to rules and processes is part of the culture that can limit the ability to innovate." And continuing, the author describes attributes of many academic libraries: "Resistance to a new way of doing things and perpetuating established practices. This cultural inertia typically results in incremental innovations and only minor improvements to existing services."
In the project management context, the use of agile or adaptive approaches offers promise in terms of making service development more externally-focused. The Agile Practice Guide is a good starting point for thinking through the opportunities offered by agile approaches.
I have a couple of takeaways from this meeting.