Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

What Agile Methods Mean to Your Process, People and Products

~ By ExecutiveBrief

Businessman hurdling on a running track

Studies show that most successful projects were those that followed agile principles, proving that model-driven methods are not always the best when it came to managing changes, fast-paced project implementation, or even meeting market demands.

The concept of agile development is not new. However, many technologists still stick to the age-old notion that software development can be easily designed and the outputs predicted without giving much thought to the more dynamic factors of projects, such as communication lines, people, and change.

Project managers eventually realised that a lot of projects failed because of rigid requirements, faulty design, and the inability of project teams to adapt to change. For the most part, clients or end-users' requirements changed through the course of development life cycles, that by the time applications were ready for deployment, the end products were a good degree different from what was initially planned. This would have been alright, except that towards the end of the development lifecycle, time and financial resources have overshot initial estimates by a good measure.

Instead of pointing their fingers at development teams or clients, project managers learned to allow adjustments in their methodologies. In fact, many studies have shown that the most successful projects were those that followed agile principles, proving that model-driven methods are not always the best when it came to managing changes, fast-paced project implementation, or even meeting market demands.

But before adopting agile practices, project sponsors and managers should ask how agile methods could impact their products, internal operations, and people.

Impact on People and Their Roles

A key agile principle, "individuals and interactions over processes and tools," emphasises communication and collaboration of project team members. Instead of defining the roles of team members, more importance is given to how well they can perform tasks as a team and create a working version of software. Teamwork cannot be overstated in agile processes, as each member can play the part of the end-user, leader, and engineer. To be truly successful, project managers should allow team members to wear cross-functional hats, communicate freely, and focus on team goals instead of individual, or role-based-functions.

While it has been initially believed that agile method worked best with co-located teams, experiences of outsourcing service providers proved that this also worked, and perhaps better-with the offshore outsourcing development models. In the first place, collaboration and free-flowing communication is the norm, and not the physical set-up of the workplace.

Impact on Process

Processes take secondary priority in agile methods. Instead of going through particular stages of the development lifecycle, rapid and short iterations move the project forward, allowing for flexibility in changing the course of the project. Moreover, instead of drowning in documentation as dictated by requirements and design, most documentation is in the form of information exchange among project members. Design and actual product are often inconsistent until the deployment stage.

Impact on Product and Quality

Instead of delivering software that has all the knots and bolts in place according to its original design, the highest priority is satisfying the need of the customer with a simple but working version. The adage, "in perpetual beta" also applies to agile method; software improves with every iteration until all the "nice to have" features are in place. Simplicity allows for more flexibility in change requests, especially because end-users and sponsors or clients eventually discover new requirements along the way.


ExecutiveBrief, the technology management resource for business leaders, offers proven tips, techniques, and action plans that companies can use to better manage people, processes and tools - the keys to improving their business performance. To learn more, please visit: SoftServe United Blog


Advertisement


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
1500
Enter the fifth word of this sentence.
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

Tracking a Risk

Dial showing three levels of risk management

Risk management is a vital part of project management. Learn four key steps to help you evaluate and mitigate any risks on your project.

How to Deliver Project Status

Close-up of a businessman's hand with a gilded pen writing a document

This article recommendations how to deliver project status to management and the project team that you will hopefully find to be very effective.

Helping Project Teams Succeed

Business team brainstorming using coloured labels on a table in an office

Project teams will be successful when the right environmental conditions exist; sadly this is not always the case.

Introduction to Scrum

Rugby scrum in a big push

Scrum is one of the simplest agile methodologies and is proven to be highly effective for software development and more general product development.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Yulanda commented on…
Project Leader or Project Manager, Which One Are You?
- Thu 4 February 5:28am

Alex commented on…
12 Tips for Accurate Project Estimating
- Mon 1 February 8:25am

Shaun Storbakken commented on…
Pareto Analysis Step by Step
- Sun 31 January 11:02pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Re: PRINCE2 - Is it worth it? https://t.co/dNTOSwc4Xy #pm #projectsmart about 1 day ago

General Project Management • Re: Tools to Manage Schedule, Leave and Timesheet https://t.co/libdurgwsu #pm #projectsmart about 1 day ago

General Project Management • Project Resource Capacity Planning https://t.co/OnbD15VpmQ #pm #projectsmart about 1 day ago