By Melanie Franklin
I did wonder what the big issue of the start of the year would be, when people come back after the holidays and re-engage in all of the projects they have to manage and the objectives they have to meet. If the conversations I have had across a range of industries this week are anything to go by, an important issue is the need to understand what Agile is all about and whether or not it is the right approach for individual pieces of work.
The key things you need to know about Agile are:
It turns the scoping and planning of any initiative on its head – instead of starting from a list of requirements, you have to ask ‘what do we want to end up with?’ All of the effort needs to be about what capability do we need to create, what benefits do we need to realise. Exactly how that is achieved is discovered through a series of experiments, evaluating what works, not working from a fixed list of requirements.
Planning is continuous, to reflect the results of these experiments. However, it is not uncontrolled, but planning within a pre-agreed timescale and budget. So instead of planning the work and then telling senior managers how long it will take, you have to clarify the key dates that are relevant to the work you are doing.
The project team is a collaborative effort between project professionals and those who are going to be most affected by the outcome. This collaborative effort means that those wanting the project outcomes need to give up much more time to evaluate the early deliverables, providing the feedback that helps the project team identify what to do next. It puts a big pressure on those with a ‘day job’ to find the time, but it also requires more sharing of interim progress from project team members who can find it difficult to share ‘work in progress’ for fear of criticism as it is not yet perfect.
This post could go on forever, so if you want more information have a look at this Overview of Agile Working.