I realised this after delivering our recently launched Agile Programme Management™ training event to several senior managers who all had similar challenges in implementing an Agile framework.
They voiced their main stumbling blocks, specifically: very limited involvement from the customer side; a poor understanding of Agile, even from the implementer; confusion around the Agile flavour to use; and Agile extremism, i.e. implementers and some project managers who fanatically support supposed “pure Agile” and reject waterfall approaches.
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The Agile Programme Management (Agile PgM™) model not only addresses these challenges, it also gives you the starting point for your Agile implementation adventure.
It drives change through iterations of capabilities and the embedding of benefits as early as possible, with a sensible, small set of key roles including a dedicated Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator tasked with, among other things, getting the customer properly involved. No customer, no Agile. Agile PgM happily supports a hybrid model, where Agile and non-Agile projects can work together within the programme. And why not; there are some projects that are best run in waterfall mode, and many teams/depts/divisions that are not Agile mature enough but still need to deliver within a large change programme.
Feature and requirement prioritisation is embedded with the model in a user friendly, very Agile technique that all parties should find acceptable. Remember that being Agile means being on time while sacrificing low priority features and functions. In Agile PgM everything is evolved, including plans, deliverables, and the business case. Decision making is delegated to the lowest possible level, encouraging a culture of empowerment and project autonomy, while addressing governance and quality through frequent reviews at multiple levels, from Sprints to Tranches, as well as emphasising escalation techniques, top to bottom accountability and communication.
Becoming an Agile organisation is a major business transformation. Agile Programme Management ™ is the best approach to implementing major change and gives you all the steps and techniques you need to be successful in your Agile quest. The first step is to implement incrementally. Yes; just do a little Agile and see how it works!
Here are some keys for success:
• Apply change management. For example, Kotter’s 8 step model works well within a programme approach.
• Engage senior management – they must support it.
• Do not throw away your current waterfall, you’ll need it.
• Educate all stakeholders.
• If it’s not Agile, don’t call it Agile.
• Be flexible; continuously improve your Agile way.
• Don’t get fixated about a single Agile flavour; adapt, but adopt the Agile Manifesto and Agile Programme Principles.
I’ll end with the Steve Messenger’s (DSDM Consortium Chairman) opening comments on Agile Programme Management. “AgilePgM™ offers an approach that provides the governance along with the agility and flexibility organisations demand today, and can be used either stand-alone or combined with the other recognised programme methods.”