Easing Into Agile

Posted by: Timm J. Esque | Posted on: April 24th, 2013 | 0 Comments

As CBPM was evolving in the late 1990’s, it was encouraging to see other methods emerging with similar principles to address similar issues in the project environment. Visionary software developers in particular were recognizing that they did not need to stay within the confines of PM practices that had evolved to produce skyscrapers and nuclear submarines. The flexible nature of software created demand for – and the opportunity for – changes to the final product throughout development. But traditional PM practices were hindering the ability to react effectively to customer inputs and putting unnecessary constraints on team communication and coordination. Out of this recognition came Extreme Programming, Agile Scrum and other agile methods.

These methods are encouraging and exciting for all of us who appreciate team and organizational effectiveness, but they are somewhat specific to software environments, and require an up front commitment to organize differently to get the work done. Outside of software, most projects cannot do weekly or monthly builds, and even many software environments are daunted by the notion of making the leap to Agile. Even in the software development space, most software is part of a larger deliverable, so how do you maintain agility while coordinating with the non-software parts?

Fortunately, there are many aspects of being agile that can be accomplished without choosing to Scrum. For example, it is possible in every project environment to keep plans flexible throughout the development process. We refer to it as “horizon planning.” A high level plan is created at the outset, but the details are filled in (by the team and with input from other stakeholders) as more and more information becomes relatively certain. roulette betting

Timely decision making is absolutely required to be agile. Decision making is about information flow. In order to make timely decisions based on reliable data, every project contributor needs to understand when they are and are not on track to the goals, and trust that when they ask for help, they will get a supportive response from the team and its leadership. In other words, all team members need to be operating in self-control throughout the project. In CBPM we accomplish this by focusing all planning and coordinate conversations on outcomes rather than activities (deliverables vs tasks), and then shifting the language we use to turn plans into personal commitments.

These are just a couple of examples, the point is you don’t have to be developing software, and you don’t have to commit to Scrum to become more agile. If you see the benefits of an agile approach to projects, but are not able, or maybe just not ready to make the leap, consider easing into Agile with a commitment-based approach.

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