~ By Adam Alami
Time to market and remaining competitive are amongst the drivers of Agile adoption. New breeds of project execution processes have been proposed recently as lightweight alternatives to the traditional phased approach. These so-called lightweight processes fall under the umbrella of Agile methodology. Agile advocates recommend executing projects based on the philosophy of iterations, incremental development, collaboration and adaptation.
As one of my assignments, I was asked by a client to evaluate a project adoption of Agile. I'm sharing this experience with the project management community. Note that permissions to use all data anonymously were granted by the company and all individuals who were subjects of this study.
This case study was conducted to evaluate Agile adoption on a project that has to update an obsolete enterprise data warehouse. The team members have never collaborated with each other, and the project was their first Agile experience.
The project used the Scrum process to implement Agile. The data gathered on this case study originates from three focus groups, each of whose conversations were recorded, scribed and analysed. Though there were various conclusions, the main findings indicate that the Agile method requires meticulous and thorough planning prior to the transition.
There was a mixed evaluation of the experience. Participants mainly raised issues regarding the lack of planning in the implementation of the Scrum process. They praised the collaborative and dynamic aspects of the process.
You can easily get caught up in the details and miss the big picture.
Some aspects of the experience were praised and appreciated by the team.
What can be gauged from this case study is that in order for the Agile process to be effective, the following is required:
Engagement and collaboration are the foundation of the Agile platform. However, Agile is a generic framework. Its adaptation is not an easy process. Additionally, projects and organisations frequently fail to define Agile adoption benefits prior to the transition.
In contrast to the simplistic and partial views undertaken by organisations, Agile adoption is influenced by a number of factors. Most of these factors arise as a direct result of the nature of the organisation. Thus, self-knowledge is critical when making an organisational process change.
A pre-evaluation of Agile suitability must be conducted to ensure it is a right choice prior to implementation. In such an evaluation, various parameters must also be considered and acknowledged prior to the transition to Agile:
Agility is not a one-dimensional concept. Organisations tend to have deep-rooted methods of project execution, and the present degree of agility needs to be accounted for before switching to Agile.
The management of the transition from the current style of project execution to Agile affects the large-scale realisation of Agile benefits. This transition needs to be gradual and well-managed rather than abrupt and sudden. A warm introduction to Agile through a change of management plan can facilitate the overall transition.
Ultimately, Agile is a difficult-to-master concept. Rolling out a process does not necessarily mean the end of the journey. The process maturity level is enhanced by the implementation of a process improvement capability that supports projects and promotes the key concepts and practices of the methodology - helping to ensure Agile adoption is a success.
Adam Alami is a seasoned, versatile IT consultant with over 18 years of experience revolving around major business transformation projects. Business analysis and project management are his passion. He has a wealth of cross-industry experience with tier 1 businesses in major projects in the areas of enterprise transformation, integration, migration and systems modernisation.
He has a track record of academic achievement. He holds a Bachelors degree in Software Engineering from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) and a Master degree in Computing from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).
Adam is passionate about research. His research interests are IT offshoring, banking technology, business analysis, global project management, information technology and culture, enterprise innovation, and business solutions. To find out more, contact Adam by email or visit his website Adam Alami