Making agile work for you - Myth vs. Reality

Part 2: Key Points from the Intelligent Projects Forum, 11th June 2014

The big picture:

  • Pravina felt that success depended significantly on managing the culture change, breaking down traditional business/IT barriers and roles (recognising that it is not just a tech/development process), and allowing people to make decisions/get on with the job.

  • Agile is not just a software development methodology, it needs to be seen as a way for the whole organisation to work and can be used for non-IT projects (I think someone mentioned installing a new bathroom?)

  •  Business has buy into the approach – e.g. Marketing Director will not get a Project Plan and IT commitment to dates in the same way that they would in gated projects. They need to understand how the process is designed to work and the potential benefits.

  • Most Corporates supress risk (avoidance, passive management through reliance on process etc), Agile exposes risk and (in theory) empowers the team to manage it.

  •  Invest in learning about Agile before you start – the wider organisation needs to be involved from the beginning, not just a development methodology. You will make mistakes – learn from them and actively manage the necessary improvements.

Some of the challenges:

  • Need to flex Agile to meet business expectations – e.g. (a) it is not acceptable to slavishly follow methodology and close a Sprint when the real business need is for a coherent set of features (from a business perspective) to be released as a single drop, or (b) sometimes the backlog will need to be changed mid-Sprint, development needs to find a way.

  • PMs role changes when Agile is implemented – they are uncomfortable with the comms. The direct line from the Scrum to the Product Owner means that the PM cannot manage the propaganda. Some PMs can transition to the Scrum Master role and they are valuable in bringing IT change management skills into the development environment (for example ensuring operational procedures are done, supportability aspects, etc).

  • Tools are important to ensure the right level of collaboration - e.g. Kanban, JIRA/Confulence, Skype, Instant Messenger.

  • Working with third parties who do not use Agile – need a strategy to deal with this.

Alice BuddAgile