All industries strive to be more productive. Bigger, faster, stronger. We want to be agile— quick to adapt to change, while producing more results more frequently, in turn delivering more value to our teams, our customers, and our businesses.
The above statement is never truer than in the ever evolving IT world. Sometimes, navigating new technologies and processes around us can be downright frustrating. In a world of ever changing technologies—it’s difficult to admit we may be outmoded in the way we conduct business, develop software or analyze data. Our desire is to be on the cutting edge of new technologies, constantly finding solutions to the pesky problems that plague us. We want to consider ourselves great thinkers, innovators, and problem solvers.
In the world of software project management, there are numerous methodologies available, and choosing one can be difficult. At the start of any project (well, hopefully, any project that is!), we know where we currently are, and what should be the final outcome. In short, the methodology we select will be a way of organizing the work that needs to be completed. Our chosen methodology will serve as blueprints that will take us from the beginning to final stages of any project. For the purposes of this article, we will further explore tips to consider when transitioning to an agile methodology. Agile is an iterative process, consisting of self-managing teams, which through continuous feedback bring to completion small products during an agreed upon, and relatively short time period.
The Six Tips to Consider:
1) Does the project require a traditional approach or can it be iterative?
Prior to changing your team’s process approach, it is important to first consider the “big picture.” Does your project require extensive documentation? Are project milestones unbendable? Can we break up the work into smaller segments or sprints to deliver smaller results more frequently? If so, following an agile process may help your team work more efficiently.
2) Who is on your team? What expertise do they have?
After all, you know your team best, which takes into account understanding their strengths and weaknesses. It is important to consider how your team works best in terms of style, environment, and expertise level. Are you adaptive? Is your team accountable to each other? Do you have adequate support from project sponsors? It is important to consider your team’s abilities when looking to change your methodology.
3) Practice Makes Perfect
Throughout this process, it is important to dedicate time to learning your selected methodology. Videos, webinars, trainings, and even seeking out professional assistance can help your team reach a successful outcome. When following one of the agile methodologies—whether it be Kanban, Lean Development, or Scrum, it is necessary to note that the more exposure your team receives to the new process, they will be collectively more efficient in their work.
Communication, communication, communication! While communication is always important, no matter the project, it is essential when transitioning your team’s approach to their work. Just as with learning anything new, some team members will adapt more easily than others—just as some will be first to offer feedback and bring new creative concepts to the project. It is important to work together to meet desired goals, which means communicating—whether it be through phone, email, in person, or in whichever method completes the project!
5) Maintaining an Agile Environment
It is necessary to maintain an environment where your selected agile methodology will thrive. For example, if your team has chosen to follow Scrum, adapting the Rituals into your team’s culture is crucial. Your team should adopt and use the vocabulary, concepts, and ideas to receive the benefits of the new methodology in your work.
6) Use a Methodology That Works for You
Finally, it is important to note that throughout the transition process, mishaps can and will inevitably occur—and that is okay. No matter what the methodology states, it is most important to understand that your team is unique. Therefore, it is most important to create a solution that works for your team. Whether that be according to the Agile Manifesto, or your team’s agile flavor—it is important to use a process that provides the most value for your teams, your sponsors, and your businesses.
Agile can be Beneficial
Agile can especially help your team adapt to change. The transition may not be easy, and there may certainly be bumps along the way. However, following the above tips can help you overcome what may seem like a daunting transition for your team!