Are your Projects ready for Agile?

Are your Projects ready for Agile?

As a Project Manager working in the Software Development industry, I hear statements like "We want our projects to be Agile" and "We need our teams to be more Agile" all the time. Agile has become a massive buzzword in the IT world. We all know we want to be agile but what we need to be asking is "Are we ready for Agile?" and "How Agile should we be?"

The Agile Manifesto sets out the key values and principles behind the Agile philosophy and is there to guide us. The first line of the Manifesto states: "We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it." which supports the Idea that agile needs to be free to adapt and grow with the teams & companies that adopt it.  

Agile exists on a spectrum and it's important to understand that different environments will benefit from different levels of agility. Therefore, it's important to evaluate and analyze how ready you are to adopt Agile in your day-to-day practices and to what level you will implement Agile in your projects.

Prince2 Agile framework discusses a blended approach to Agile and guides how to tailor Agile to best fit your project. 

The Agilometer is used to score how ready the Project environment is to implement agile delivery methods. Even if you don't make use of the full Prince2 framework the Agilometer makes a great addition to any Project Management toolkit.

How Does the Agilometer Work?

The Agilometer is made up of 6 key areas that can be evaluated with the following questions.

  • Flexibility on what is delivered. - Agile Projects are based on Adaption, does the environment allow the scope to evolve with each iteration?
  • Level of collaboration. - With each iteration feedback is required, does the environment provide feedback iteratively?
  • Ease of communication. - Communication is required to give effective feedback. Does the environment allow for easy rich communication?
  • Ability to work iteratively and deliver incrementally. - Agile requires iterations to be delivered in increments, Does the environment allow for iterations to be developed & delivered in increments? 
  • Advantageous environmental conditions. - This area accounts for everything that does not fit in the other areas.
  • Acceptance of Agile. -Not everyone will accept Agile, how willing are people to engage with Agile?

Each key area is evaluated between 1 (worst) and 5 (perfect), The score should be constantly re-evaluated throughout the life cycle of the project. Low scores indicate areas for improvement & adaptation. The scores will in some cases reflect an environment that is not ready for Agile, in this situation the scores will need to improve or one will need to abandon the use of Agile methodologies.

 At the end of the day, Agile is an effective way to manage Project Teams, but it does have organizational constraints that can make it ineffective in certain situations. Many organizations have their versions of Agile and many do not make use of Agile altogether. It is important to understand the value of Agile and use it where it will be effective and not just use it because it's a trend in the Tech Industry right now.

Devon Hayes