We now know that innovation is the key: innovation in products, services, in the way of working; we no longer accept phrases like “we do as we always have” and “Agile” seems the magic word that can help us. Especially in the world we live in today, with a ongoing global pandemic, we are living in a fast changing business world. Traditional approaches do not improve flexibility and are limited in offering help to current uncertainties. Is Agile the answer?
What is Agile?
As the volatility of our business environment increases, organizations seek to respond to these changes effectively. One of the answers is the introduction of Agile methods. This approach is considered more suitable for uncertainty and change than traditional approaches. Agile is not a ‘one size fits all’ and offers you different frameworks to apply to different situations.
Agile has its roots in the world of software but has now developed far beyond, involving the world of project and service management. Agile is more than a set of methods, practices and behaviors. Agile is transforming the world of project management and is radically changing the way in which business and IT work together to successfully face change. It is increasingly accepted that businesses need to be Agile to succeed, and that Agile approaches are best suited to today’s fast-changing world.
Innovation requires a change in culture for many organisations as embracing new ways introduces high risk, including the risk of failure. Agile is about delivering value for an organisation, however that value might be defined.
Agile project management
Agile project management provides that projects can be managed and implemented in small work packages. Agile projects bring value to the business through frequent product deliveries called ‘features’.
In a traditional waterfall methodology the requirements for the project should be documented in advance. Only later (the design) is the design of the entire solution completed, followed by product development, testing and finally implementation. If this whole process takes a year to complete, the business sees no tangible value until the end of the project.
Within an Agile project, however, the items are created in small work packages called sprints. Agile is an excellent method to use when the business needs frequent changes or wants to receive the benefits of the product (s) first. With Agile you can focus on the needs of the business at the present moment and, if the requests change, they can be easily inserted in the next sprint.
Any project can use Agile if deliverables can be produced and implemented in a short period of time: do Agile projects create build capabilities? one piece or a few pieces at a time.
5 features of a successful Agile project
- Sprints (or iterations) last from 4 to 12 weeks
- Direct communication has greater weight than documentation – you want to produce a product, not the product documentation
- Team members work in the same environment or use virtual tools to be together
- A sponsor 100% dedicated to the Agile process is necessary
- The changes to the requirements are expected and accepted
There are other features necessary for the operation of Agile projects that do not differ from traditional projects:
- Have a vision for the end game
- Follow a universally accepted project life cycle
- Requirements must be understood
- Use a shared and managed program
- A dedicated team
- Communication with stakeholders is essential
Ready to go Agile but not sure how? QRP organises a FREE webinar with expert Kim Delgadillo to explain you about the different Agile Frameworks. Register here.