Definition of agile – ‘able to move quickly and easily’
Nowadays everyone claims to be agile but what should you expect when embarking on a project that takes an agile approach.
Here are my top 4 things to look out for from a company or project manager claiming to be agile:
1. Focus on return on investment from an early stage. It is important that from the very first engagement the project manager is considering the options that will drive the best value for the customer. Often this can be achieved by prioritising user stories that are known, or can be known quickly.
2. Deliver working software early and often. Undertaking the practices of Test Driven Development (TDD) and Continuous Integration (CI) within a top end development environment enables the developer to deliver production quality code on a regular basis. Iteration lengths and release frequency are agreed upfront so everyone knows what to expect.
3. Value customer collaboration over contract negotiation. Obviously contracts are important but long term relationships are built by communicating clearly and often. This ensures that both parties fully understand the requirements, address any risks and continually review the plan. Distant or adversarial relationships do not work.
4. Respond to change over following a plan. One things for certain, the scope of a project at start-up is never the same at closedown. To deal with that effectively I agree wholeheartedly with General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States (1953-61) who stated that “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Effective planning means that you are prepared and ready to react as change occurs.
Good luck with your next project!