Let us imagine you have the perfect small pilot project where you could use agile techniques. But it is the first time your organization will try using agile. If you tell management everything will be different, they're going to be very nervous, so, rather than create that nervousness Think about what is important to management and how you can provide that within the agile process. This will enable you, bit by bit, to move managements thinking from where they are now to where you want them to be. From my experience, there are a few things that are priorities for management.
Solving the business problem with customer satisfaction. Maintaining control. For instance, producing value within schedule and budget. And team morale. So let's look at each of these, and how you can demonstrate them with agile approaches. Let's start with solving the business problem with customer satisfaction. Before you start, make sure the customer or product owner is committed to active participation throughout the project. Without their input and collaboration and attendance at daily meetings, you'll probably not succeed.
The customer defines the product back log and prioritizes features that solve their business problem. As each feature is delivered or accepted by the customer, not only are their business needs being met, but the organization is receiving the business benefits faster, which should significantly impact customer satisfaction. Maintaining control involves relationship management and talking to management. Understand what reports and control measures they see as essential for them to feel comfortable. Most executives care about the triple constraints of scope, time and cost management.
If necessary, you can use many of the reports and control measures that are provided in traditional project management. With a slightly different format. For example, in scope management, you can still demonstrate a defined scope, managed with change control. However, instead of a change control board and documented change requests, you will utilize the customer's input from product demonstrations to add new items to the product backlog. For time management, a tool such as MS Project is still useful for producing a Gantt Chart with milestones.
You can show the features within each sprint, the dependencies between sprints for the entire project, and you can update this regularly for management review. To provide confidence in your cost management, demonstrate that your agile project has a fixed budget, limited to the availability of the people you have. Although you will not track and report actual cost to budget in a typical S curve used in traditional projects, you can show that both the customer and build team identify the cost of each requested feature, and compare that to the value added to the business.
As features are delivered, you assess how much money is left in the budget, using approved funds until nothing is left. Team morale with agile is often easy to achieve. Good agile teams that have the right technical skills and are comfortable with the concept of sharing project control. Typically operate as a high energy, supportive team. Seeing agile approaches allow the team to deliver business value quickly, morale usually is high early in the project. Ongoing success at feature delivery continues to reinforce and enhance that morale, and the team works more and more effectively as the project progresses.
So, as a project manager, if you take it slowly, and let the team learn as they go, most often, motivation will be high, and the team will take great pride in their achievements.
- What is agile project management?
- Selecting an agile project
- Scoping the project
- Designing your sprint structure
- Collecting requirements
- Running stand-up meetings
- Managing issues and risks
- Tracking lessons learned
- Responding to change requests
- Closing the project
- Spotting signs of trouble