Agile methods and tools lend themselves most appropriately to systems and projects in which accurate estimates, stable plans, and predictions are often difficult to attain in the early project stages. Agile development favors an adaptive, iterative, and evolutionary development approach. Using agile tools and techniques can help to:
- Self-organize and plan.
- Communicate (within the team and with the rest of your organization)
- Continuously improve the way you work.
- Get support from management.
- Introducing Agile Tools and Techniques
This guide describes some of the common agile tools and techniques that teams use. Others can be used depending on the project and team. Agile teams may also adopt unique combinations of techniques to support their framework and methodology. Examples include:
- Dedicated teams
- Relative estimating
- User stories
- Burndown charts
- Definition of done.
A few techniques typically used on agile projects that directly contribute to accelerating the time to delivery and the increased quality of the product being delivered include:
- Frequent inspection of the product and adaptation to the changes and input during the project
- Aligning development with customer needs and organizational goals
- Colocation of resources to the same workspace
- Self-organization and accountability
- Becoming a team player
- Elimination of “waste” and “ceremony”
- Empirical demonstration of results
- The customer is always present.
- Focus on key planning events: product planning, release/feature planning, iteration planning, sprint review, and stand-ups.
Common setbacks to adopting Agile project development.
While there are many benefits to adopting Agile project development, transitioning to a new project management methodology can be challenging. The 2020 State of Agile report found that the most common setbacks companies face when adopting and scaling Agile methodology are:
There is a general resistance to change across the organization.
- There is a lack of leadership participation in Agile.
- Processes and practices are inconsistent across teams.
- The organizational culture is at odds with the values of Agile.
- Management support and sponsorship are inadequate.
- There is a lack of skills/experience using Agile methods.
- Training and education are insufficient.
- The customer, business, or product owner is not available enough.
- Traditional project methods are too entrenched within the company.
- Data and metrics are fragmented, providing an incomplete “big picture.”
Many of the struggles businesses face in implementing Agile are the same as those of any broad organizational change. The setbacks are often not Agile-specific but rather the result of poor change management.
When considering implementing Agile project management, you must incorporate consistent Agile guidelines and best practices of change management.