#Agile and the #Winnipeg Mayoral Race

Recently in the race for Winnipeg Mayor two candidates addressed an issue in two very different ways. It reminded me of the different Project Management methodologies that we see on Software Development projects.

The Issue

The issue that was being talked about was integrity. Recently there have been some alleged situations in civic politics in Winnipeg that have raised concerns about the integrity of our politicians and whether there are conflicts of interest. The issue is an important one. What really caught my eye was how two candidates addressed the issue differently.

In the Agile Corner

We have Brian Bowman. His response to the issue of integrity was one of brutal visibility. We need to open up the City of Winnipeg’s books 100%. Let the public have full access to conflict of interest statements, expenses, meeting minutes, and voting of all politicians and committees so nothing can be hidden. Publish a schedule ahead of time to encourage citizen participation in council meetings. This reminded me of the brutal visibility we often implement on Agile projects so that  everyone can know the status of the project at any time. With the brutal visibility of Agile projects, it is impossible to hide issues as the charts will always tell the true story.

Brian Bowman’s proposal also included a component to “End discretionary exemptions for the release of information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act”. Now that is brutal visibility. Everything the government does could be released publicly.

You can find the proposal by Brian Bowman here.

 In the Waterfall Corner

We have Judy Wasylycia-Leis. Her response was to create a role of ombudsman. This would be done by expanding the role of the city auditor. The concept was that the city auditor could then investigate issues based upon the request of council, citizens, or their own accord. (I wonder which requestor takes priority?) Judy’s response to the issue of integrity was to create a new role that would oversee and manage the integrity issues. But who then manages the manager?

You can find the proposal by Judy Wasylycia-Leis here.

I see.

This reminded of the Waterfall approach of implementing levels of control and management to provide only the appearance of better control. Instead of providing visibility of what the velocity of the developers are, let us put a manager in place to manage the developers and report the progress. These levels of management end up providing less communication and only the appearance of control as it mainly allows for the controlling of the message, not the controlling of reality. Ultimately this manager is also managed and will take direction from their manager. Whom may choose to promote the publication of some issues and the silencing of others.

These managers usually result in better looking status reports and worse off projects.

Adding layers of bureaucracy rarely improves anything but the unemployment numbers. 🙂


I thought these were two interesting and opposing takes on an important issue. And it also provides insight into the psyche of the candidates and whether they want to improve the system or control the system.

Me, I’m voting for Brian Bowman. The Agile choice.


Author: Terry Bunio

Terry Bunio is passionate about his work as the Manager of the Project Management Office at the University of Manitoba. Terry oversees the governance on Information Technology projects to make sure the most important projects are being worked on in a consistent and effective way. Terry also provides leadership on the customized Project Methodology that is followed. The Project Methodology is a equal mix of Prince2, Agile, Traditional, and Business Value. Terry strives to bring Brutal Visibility, Eliminating Information islands, Right Sizing Documentation, Promoting Collaboration and Role-Based Non-Consensus, and short Feedback Loops to Minimize Inventory to the Agile Project Management Office. As a fan of pragmatic Agile, Terry always tries to determine if we can deliver value as soon as possible through iterations. As a practical Project Manager, Terry is known to challenge assumptions and strive to strike the balance between the theoretical and real world approaches for both Traditional and Agile approaches. Terry is a fan of AWE (Agile With Estimates), the Green Bay Packers, Winnipeg Jets, and asking why?

2 thoughts on “#Agile and the #Winnipeg Mayoral Race”

  1. I idea that opening up the internal operating of City Hall (or any government institution) is absurdly optimistic.

    Not only is Bowman’s idea completely lacking specifics as to how he would go about providing this accessibility to the public but its a borderline extremist approach to a cultural problem –not a data problem.

    Ultimately Brian’s idea isn’t actually “brutally transparent” its brutally naive.


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