Science has finally approved it: Forecasting complex projects is a deception. Moreover, forecasts hinder innovations. Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize Winner in Economic Sciences and psychologist verified in many cases, that forecasting of complex projects is impossible. Yet still, we keep losing time trying to do exactly that. Beyond Budgeting (see e.g. came empirically to the same findings and offers a concept for controlling corporations without budgets. Additionally Beyond Budgeting provides advice for controlling even long-term complex projects. Agile methodologies generally recommend developing a long-term plan on a coarse-grained level only and coming up with detailed short-term plans iteratively. I'm working on large and complex agile projects for 20 years. However, learning about the work from Kahneman and Beyond Budgeting helped me a great deal in better understanding how planning, estimating, and budgeting relate and why the traditional approaches don't work.

In this session I want to analyze the latest scientific research and explore possibilities of combining Beyond Budgeting and Agile principles so that even complex projects remain controllable.


Outline/Structure of the Workshop

  1. Welcome and working agreements (20min)
  2. Set the stage - individual and common goals (30min)
  3. Defining the context (30min)
  4. Finding out what (in the participants context) has supported or hindered for planning / estimating / budgeting projects and what was difficult along the way (60min)
  5. Sharing and understanding participants' challenges and decide in groups on the top ones (30min)
  6. Explanation of new possibilities by presenting the findings (e.g. Kahneman’s and Beyond Budgeting) (60min)
  7. Understand in detail what these findings mean and how they can address the top challenges. (90min)
  8. Share the new understanding (30min)
  9. Applicability in own environment (70min)
  10. Discussion of possible next steps (30min)
  11. Debrief and Wrap-Up (30min)

Learning Outcome

  • Understand why forecasting complex projects is impossible
  • Become acquainted with the core ideas of Beyond Budgeting
  • Develop strategies for the application of Beyond Budgeting in Agile projects

Target Audience

Program Managers, Executives, Portfolio Managers, Project Leads, Coaches, Consultants

Prerequisites for Attendees

Familiar with agile concepts. Project and management experience at best on large and complex projects.


schedule Submitted 5 years ago