May 26, 2017

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Considering Agile? 12 Agile Principles

Over the years a number of articles on Agile Project Management have been published. You will find:

A Closer Look at What Agile Project Management is

Are you considering Agile Project Management?

 

Today I would like to share a good graphical representation of the 12 Agile Principles.

12 Agile principles

A credit to Knowledge Train, the designer of this 12 Agile principles infographic.

Find an Infographic of the Agile Manifesto here.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Agile vs Waterfall

By Kevin Lonergan

Agile and Waterfall are two very different project management methods.  They both have clear pros and cons.  Some people argue that you can mix the two but others say: “you can’t be half Agile” and I have a lot of sympathy for this view.

Waterfall projects cascade through a series of phases with a requirements phase very near the start.  Developers then take this ‘statement of requirements’ and go through design and development.  Waterfall projects are usually delivered in a ‘big-bang’ way.

Agile is different. For more on Agile, read the Guide to Agile Project Management.

Agile does not attempt to define requirements in one go.  Instead, Agile produces the deliverable on an incremental basis and confirms the detail of the requirements around each increment.

Agile-Project-ManagementAgile encourages many practices that are really useful on projects, like:

  • face-to-face communication
  • constant involvement of users in the project
  • close co-operation between developers and users

Some of these things could potentially be used on virtually any project but not every project can produce the end-product incrementally.

To read the full article that expands on these statements and provides a detailed explanation of the most important pros and cons, read the Comparison of Agile versus Waterfall methods.

Chaos to Chaos: The age of agile incrementalism

By Sakhile Malinga

Agile - changeAs globalisation snowballs, organisations continue to enter the exciting age of complexity, a chaotic business landscape which is different from the two prior eras in strategy development.

The Eras in Strategy Development

#1 Era of grand design and systematic planning

The desire to over-elaborate the planning was made redundant by constant strategic drift. IBM and the mainframe was the king of the castle. Management approaches included detailed strategic plans with limited support from a changing internal and external environment. The analysis of SWOT (Strength Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) created historical context with a strong sense of hubris if the previous period was successful. Remediation if challenged.

#2 Era of Strategic Positioning

The era gave us value chain analysis, which created the technology giants such as Microsoft, IBM and Cisco. This era capitalised on large enterprise solutions that were meant to facilitate delivery in a Porter Value chain, looking at the 5 forces as a key driver of value (threat of substitute, new entrance, bargaining power of suppliers, bargaining power of customers, intensity of rivalry), with clear distinct variations of stratagem, which was focus, differentiate and cost leadership.

#3 Era of Complexity (Chaos)

The new era of a connected business world, with organic rather than hierarchic tendencies has led to the rise of social architectures that gave rise to the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype and cloud computing. This era is where agile incrementalism raises to the fore. A complex construct with too many unknowns, where change is welcomed and not feared and ownership is shared not assigned.

Leadership in Agile Incrementalism

Agile quoteThe main change is primarily from transactional to transformational leadership. 1

Transaction emphasises contingent rewards, and managing by exception. Transformation exhibits charisma, developing a vision, engendering pride, respect and trust, inspires and pays attention to the followers needs.

Agile incrementalism is transformational and it is incremental and not iterative, the fundamental difference is it does not predict what you want, just builds it better and quicker.

The key principle is the fact that individuals and interactions are preferred over process and tools. Chaos if not thought through. Customer collaboration is preferred over contract negotiations. Responding to change is preferred over following a plan. Working product is preferred over comprehensive documentation. Chaos if underestimated.

Agile affects strategy

  1. Capital Planning – The financial returns on investment of software projects becomes more about “fixing of the problem” rather than finding a solution package.
  2. Productivity – A general prediction of 25% boost in productivity 2 in software delivery.
  3. Minimum Viable Product (MVP) vs Scope, you deliver what matters first and might not deliver the entire scope. The focus is working software.
  4. Resources – Agile has people and not resources. The approach is more about predictable change and less stress in introducing change.
  5. It’s about the Customer5– The time to respond to competition is swift and exciting as this becomes the focus of the team.

Agile

Software is a massive contributor to competitive advantage and any organisation that links it to an emerging strategy3 will dominate its market.

The challenges of Agile

  1. You will lose a sense of control, trusting the judgement of the teams to deliver. Allocated capital to solve a problem rather than to deliver a predefined thing will require maturity.
  2. Executive support and buy-in, for the existence of teams not business or IT. The concept of IT and business becomes archaic. The lines cannot be drawn, this becomes objective driven teams.
  3. Requirement will not be required. This translates to business needs; the business will need to have specific needs to be solved.
  4. Scope is variable; hence the power lies not with “completion”, but completing enough to enable the business.
  5. Change will not be welcomed; agile environmental changes will lead to resistance. Chaos does that to people. Training will be necessary for the teams.
  6. Different language, different delivery. The key to delivery will be a common language, whatever you call a thing, let it be a thing.
  7. Embracing Failure – accepting this faster than later in the process is what makes it acceptable.

The age of chaos is exciting, it’s every day that you wake up and expect Apple, or Facebook, Snapchat, Google and Twitter to release a new feature. They use agile, one day we will all use it.

Conclusion

Using any method to achieve an outcome is a good reaction to environmental changes, however locating the reason why a particular method is the right method; helps clarify why the procedures and techniques are vital. Software Agile approaches are methods designed bring a logical approach to a chaotic world.

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About the Author:

Sakhile Malinga is a leader with a strong affinity to all things involving strategy, projects and digital. His purpose is to build stuff and people.

Sources:

  1. Bass, B. (1990). ‘From transactional to transformational leadership: learning to share the vision.’ Organizational Dynamics, (Winter), 19–31.
  2. http://www.deltamatrix.com/why-are-agile-teams-25-more-productive
  3. Johnson G. Managing strategic change—strategy culture and action. Long Range Plan 1992; 25(1):28-36.
  4. Ghobadian, A and O’Regan, N. “ John Lewis Partnership lessons in logical incrementalism and organic growth: A case study and interview with the Chairman, Mr Charlie Mayfield’ Journal of Strategy and management (2008).
  5. Anderson JC, Kumar N, Narus JA. Value Merchants: Demonstrating and Documenting Superior Value in Business Markets. Harvard Business School Press.

A Closer Look at What Agile Project Management is

Many project managers prefer to use Agile project management for software development projects or on projects that are too complex for the customer to understand and specify before testing prototypes. This article will explore Agile Project Management to understand what it is, how to receive training and how to become certified.

What is Agile Project Management

According to Mark C. Layton in Agile Project Management for Dummies, Agile focuses on continuous improvement, scope flexibility, team input, and delivering essential quality products. Agile project management methodologies include scrum, extreme programming (XP), and lean.

According to Wikipedia:

Agile is an iterative method of determining requirements for engineering and information technology development projects in a highly flexible and interactive manner. During Agile development deliverables are submitted in stages. One difference between agile and iterative development is that the delivery time in agile is in weeks rather than months.

The 12 Agile Principles

The 12 Agile Principles are a set of guiding concepts that support project teams in implementing agile projects. Please have a look at the Agile Project Management Cheat Sheet for the details of the 12 Agile principles.

A typical Agile project will consist of 7 stages:

  1. Stage 1: Product Vision
  2. Stage 2: Product Roadmap
  3. Stage 3: Release Plan
  4. Stage 4: Sprint Planning
  5. Stage 5: Daily Scrum
  6. Stage 6: Sprint review
  7. Stage 7: Sprint retrospective.

An Agile project also consists of specific roles, namely:

  • Development team: Group of people who create the product
  • Product owner: The person responsible for bridging the gap between the customer, business stakeholders, and the development team
  • Scrum master: Also called project facilitator who supports the development team and keeping the agile process consistent.
  • Agile mentor: Someone who has experience implementing agile projects and can share that experience with a project team.

Agile Project Management Organisations and Certifications

There are several representative organisations for Agile practitioners. Agile Alliance, the original global agile community, with a mission to help advance agile principles and practices.

Scrum Alliance is a nonprofit professional membership organization that promotes understanding and usage of scrum. The following professional certifications are offered by them:

  • Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
  • Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)
  • Certified Scrum Developer (CSD)
  • Certified Scrum Professional (CSP)
  • Certified Scrum Coach (CSC)
  • Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)

PMI Agile Community

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is the largest nonprofit project management membership association in the world. The agile section of PMI’s website provides access to papers, books, and seminars about agile project management. PMI supports an agile community of practice and a certification, the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP).

Agile Project Management products

For project managers who want to become PMI-ACP certified, there is a good product from Cornelius Fichtner, the President of OSP International. It is called the Agile PrepCast.

The Agile PrepCast™ is a Video Workshop that you download to your smart phone, table or laptop and watch whenever and wherever you want. It’s a podcast/videocast with in-depth video lessons for your PMI-ACP exam prep.

After completing The Agile PrepCast™ and passing the Final Exam you will be able to print a 21 Contact Hours Certificate and use it to apply for your PMI-ACP® exam. OSP International is a PMI® Registered Education Provider.

Agile Certified

 

Project Management Announcement: PMI Launches AGILE Certification

Agile is a topic of growing importance within the project management industry, and more project managers are embracing Agile as a technique for managing their successful projects including PMI who is launching an Agile Certification.

Growing Demand For Application Of Agile Practices

A recent statistic which emerged from PMI’s latest Pulse survey is that standardized project management practices result in better project performance. Many project managers who use Agile techniques for managing projects have seen the value of quicker delivery of projects to clients.

PMI research has revealed that 68% of organizations using Agile practices would find value in an Agile certification for project management practitioners. In addition, 63% of hiring managers would encourage their project managers to pursue an Agile certification.

Organisations have reported that the use of the Agile techniques have resulted in the following:

  • Early and continuous customer feedback – because the customer is continuously involved during development, resulting in an end-product to their satisfaction.
  • High visibility and influence over the project highlights problems earlier in the project.
  • Early measurable return on investment – allowing for reporting on defined deliverables early during the process.

Who Should Obtain PMI Agile Certification?

All PM Practitioners currently applying Agile practices in their projects or organizations who are adopting the Agile approach to project management are all excellent candidates for the PMI Agile Certification. Earning the Agile Certification could:

  • Demonstrate their level of professionalism in Agile practices to employers
  • Increase professional versatility in both project management tools and techniques
  • Show their project management leadership capacity by holding a more credible certification than training-only or exam-only based training

PMI serves the project management profession by providing practitioners with a toolbox of selected tools and techniques—and Agile is one of those tools. For example, those who have the PMP® and are working in an organization that is using Agile techniques, the Agile Certification provides an applicable knowledge base of Agile principles and concepts.

Important Dates For Agile Certification Launch

  • May 2011 – Candidates for the Agile certification will be able to submit an application for the pilot.
  • August 2011 – Pilot testing is scheduled to begin.

If you have questions that cannot be answered by the information on PMI.org/Agile, please contact PMI Customer Care based in your region:

North America/Latin America at customercare@pmi.org

EMEA +31-320-239-539 or customercare.emea@pmi.org

AP+65 6496 5501 or customercare.asiapac@pmi.org

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