Agile. Project managers have differing opinions and preferences when it comes to working on an Agile project, but there is no denying that this methodology is permeating a growing number organizations every day. This sweeping business trend can be disruptive and even threatening for those who don’t know how to work within its loose parameters. In essence, Agile flips process and order on its head. Unlike more traditional project management, which strictly adheres to a rigorous set of procedures, Agile focuses on the delivery of value to the customer, instead of focusing on planning out the steps required to get there.
Before launching an Agile project, here are a few things you should do:
- Get in the Agile Mindset
- Be prepared to accept the reality of project uncertainty, risk and cost, and abstain from arbitrary schedules and budgets
- Be prepared to accept and sponsor the intensive level of collaboration and involvement across teams and departments that Agile requires
- Be ready to trust your project team to be self-directed and experimental
- Be prepared to modify your measurement of success from your team’s ability to complete tasks to your customer’s satisfaction with the final deliverable
- Learn the Agile Way
In order to successfully evaluate your team’s current capabilities for an Agile project, you must first be familiar with Agile frameworks. It is important for key executives, senior managers and project leaders to learn about the Agile Manifesto, and the lexicon that surrounds Agile before implementing the approach.
- Build the Right Team
Since Agile teams are expected to be small, self-governing and self-regulated, there is a high expectation regarding the personal attributes of team members. They should enjoy the special challenges of working in an Agile environment, be prepared to forego personal recognition in favor of team accomplishment and enjoy working in a highly transparent environment in which their work products, creativity and diligence are visible to their teammates and customers.
Even though an Agile approach inherently lacks the rigid structure of more traditional project management, it doesn’t mean that preparation and organization should be thrown out the window. Be sure to do your homework before launching an Agile project so you can maintain control in a flexible environment and keep your customer’s satisfaction at the forefront of your scope.
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