Agile project management in higher education: kick-off

Last week, the business informatics group was happy to invite Hugo de Groot, an agile coach at Cegeka, for a workshop about “Agile project management in higher education”.

In the context of an innovative education project that was earned by our research group, Marijke Swennen, one of our researchers, started in October 2016 with the introduction of agile project management at Hasselt University.

The purpose of the project is to apply the principles of agile project management in courses from different faculties of the university. The principles will be translated to an education context in order to make students more self-reliant and independent when working on  assignments, group projects or their master thesis. It now happens way too often that students stop their project at the moment they encounter the smallest obstacle or when a change in the context or the conditions occurs. “What should we do now?” is a common question in a lecturer’s mailbox. Teachers and professors also have no overview of who is doing what in a group project and if a student is working at the project at all.

As a kick-off for this innovative project, Hugo de Groot woke up around 4h30 in his home town Duiven in the Netherlands and drove all the way to Diepenbeek to introduce the participating professors and teaching assistants to the concepts of agile project management. In small groups, they already started thinking about how the principles could be applied and how their teaching approach should be changed to implement agile project management.


As a result, next semester, students from already three courses will be working with a Kanban board, they will have a (stand-up) meeting at the beginning of each session and most important, they will be responsible for their own progress and decisions.

At the end of the two year project, we hope to see students that surprise their promotor or lecturer with their progress and ideas for new topics and are actually ready for the fast changing environment they will enter after they finish education.

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About Marijke Swennen

Marijke Swennen is a PhD student at the research group of Business informatics since 2011. Next to teaching and performing research about process mining in the light of operational excellence, she recently started working on an education project titled "Agile project management in higher education". In this project, the principles of agile project management will be applied in different courses throughout Hasselt University.

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