Category: The Agile Mind
A fundamental truth in life is that there’ll always be more to do than we’ll have time or money to do.
And although projects are (arguably) a part of life, some Project Managers/Customers/Clients still believe they can defy this fundamental truth by introducing Agile – and then using it as an excuse to make unrealistic demands from delivery teams/suppliers.
However, the goal of Agile is not to deliver everything that the customer wants…
…the goal of Agile is to deliver the most important things that’ll give the customer the greatest value and earliest return-on-investment. In so doing, Agile aligns with Pareto’s 80/20 Principal i.e 20% of the things we do will give us 80% of our results.
So with that in mind, the next time you’re faced with a set of requirements that do not fit within your projects times and/or budget constraints, prioritise the important ones for delivery now; and defer the least important ones until a later date.
In an ideal world, things would always go to plan – but since we don’t live in an ideal world, they don’t; hence why the best-laid plans of project managers often go awry.
More often than not, detailed plans laid out on neat charts projecting months (even years) into the future, tend to describe a fictional reality; and perfect plans tend to describe fictional realities perfectly. Because no mattermuch time, effort and care goes into planning sooner or later, some s likely to deviate from the plan
That’s not to say we shouldn’t plan – we should.
But instead of trying to create a ‘perfect plan’ in detail upfront, it’s better to start with a plausible plan and refine that plan throughout the lifetime of the project; because when you refine your plans to reflect reality (rather than trying to get reality to reflect your plans), you’re more likely to achieve your project objectives.
The growth of Agile in the public and private sectors has led to many cases of dysfunctional Agile – where organisations are mechanically going through the motions, but are failing to realise the benefits Agile has to offer.
At best, those companies that fall foul of the dysfunctional Agile trap are finding it frustratingly hard and costly to transition to Agile; at worst they’re losing significant market share.
And when this happens, ‘Agile’ gets the blame.
A common problem I constantly encounter with people and organisations struggling to get Agile to work for them is this…
They’re focusing on the wrong things – whilst ignoring the key fundamentals that make Agile work.
Now, if your goal is just to slap a few ‘Agile’ labels on what you’ve always been doing, and you have no desire to reap the Agile benefits of higher profits, lower costs, improved quality and quicker time to market, then I wish you well…
…Just remember that Einstein defines madness as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
But if you recognise that in today’s fast paced, highly competitive business world, agility is not only essential for retaining market share and business survival, done properly, it can also give your company a significant competitive advantage, lower risk exposure and earlier return on investment, then watch this video…
Being this was not a software development related event, my response was met by blank faces; until one of the group I was speaking to (who I’ll call ‘John’ for the purpose of this post) commented that “agile is a project management methodology used in software development.”
Feeling this was not the time to be pedantic, I agreed that agiles’ roots can be traced back to software development – adding that agility has since become a strategic approach for cutting costs, getting an earlier return on investment and gaining a competitive advantage, widely used across many industries.
John then asked if we could catch up later to talk ‘agile’ as his organisation was considering adopting it.
“Sure” I said, “Let’s do that.”