I’ve heard of so many projects recently that say they are ‘agile’ when really, they are just paying lip service to the concept.

Agile isn’t just a trend, it is here to stay and yet project leaders seem to be taking a few of the agile concepts, adopting them into the cycle of their project and saying “yep, we’re agile”. If you are carving up the design phase into agile sprints, having daily stand-ups without the product owners or just recording your backlog in a tool, then you may be missing the point.

Mindset and culture

Put the process book away and start by getting your mind around why agile is a good thing. The business engagement is more consistent, rather than at the start and end of a long release cycle; the benefit (product) is delivered incrementally to the business rather than in one go at the end and fundamentally those two things reduce risk of delivering the right outcome.

If you buy into this approach, what can you do to change the mindset around you?

Build the onion inside out:

I’m reminded of a big re-platforming programme in a bank a few years ago. Each of the big releases was large, complex and took huge amounts of resource. Interdependencies with existing systems meant the design work just spread more tentacles… however, someone came up with a new idea – build the onion inside out. Get the new packaged, unconfigured platform into the live environment not connected to anything – two weeks, done. Open a savings account and add £1 – one week, done. Change the customer’s name and address and add them another account – one week, done. Build a link to the existing statements system and send them a statement – two weeks, done. You get the idea, the approach becomes much more about mindset than the method.

Recruit agile!

There are many really good people with great experience of agile delivery. When you are recruiting people, are you demanding that they have agile experience or do you view it as a nice to have? Agile now permeates so much more than just software development; you can ask for agile experience and across many different job families.

Showcase your exemplars

The easiest to apply of these three ideas but often overlooked in a busy world. If you have a portfolio of agile projects, find their project leaders, those that are truly operating and thinking in an agile way and get them to talk to other project groups. Training courses are great, however real-world experience can’t be replaced.

In summary, giving yourself a little space to get your mind around the agile mindset you need, will mean that your business takes real benefit out of using agile. Would you like to know more about the practical application of agile? If so, please get in touch…

POSTED BY: Gordon Forsyth - Account Director

CONTACT: gordon.forsyth@projectone.com

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