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Successful Agile Implementation Strategies

Agile project management plays a key role in the ever changing functional and technical requirements, by keeping the focus on business value realization and delivery. This makes agile fits perfectly with organizations’ Portfolio Management, Project Management Life Cycle and Software Development Life Cycle. In Agile software development framework,   requirements and solutions evolve through the collaboration and self-organization of the project teams.

Statistics shows us that one of the top reasons why organizations fail in agile implementation is improper employees’ training in advance to embrace the change. Employees learn agile techniques, on the job with projects in hand. Lack of preparation of organizations’ systems and environment is another big reason of agile projects’ failure.

Making organizational structure agile friendly should be the main management priority before starting the agile journey. Organizational structure needs to be changed and all initiatives need to be properly communicated to the team members. Some upfront initial agile modeling to identify the reasonable architecture and the scope of effort is advisable.

The key to success for large scale projects is strong relationship between three key agile team roles that include program/project manager, delivery owner, and scrum master. Project manager in an agile program management settings is responsible for a large number of key activities including project planning, budget planning, status reporting and governance, risks and issues management, and communications management. Agile project manager maintains Epic plan, monitor milestones, creates estimates and resource allocations during initiating, opportunity or proposal stage of the process.

During delivery and operating stage, PM attends daily startup meetings, when possible. The PM role is responsible for status reporting and governance by monitoring time and project burn.  If organizational structure allows other roles within project team, Scrum Master’s role is responsible for Scum Team meetings and spring execution activities. Product Owner represents the stakeholders and is the Voice of Customer. Product owner and delivery owners’ roles manage product backlog and risk and issues logs. They ensure the smooth transfer of status information to Agile PM.

During initiation or sprint 0, the delivery owners creates the documents covering all capabilities and features by priority and release. The purpose of this plan is to record the minimum viable product outcomes and align with the sub-capabilities or EPICs. The product backlog contains rough estimates of both business value and development effort. These values are stated in story points and estimates help the Product Owner to gauge the timeline and impact ordering of backlog items.

The development team is responsible for delivering the shippable product increments at the end of each increment. This team needs to be trained to be self-organizing, even though it may be managed by organizational PMO or PM role.

Conclusion:

Managing the project elements like, backlogs, plans, schedules, capabilities list, EPICs, stories and tasks could be overwhelming, if not managed with planning and right tools.  It is always a good idea to develop a tool where not only these elements could reside, but also provides various performance measurement reports to help monitor program health and control progress.

There are various tools available for successful implementation of Agile initiation and planning process. These tools are only successful if used in coordination with the team roles.

 

Amir-SmallMr. A Jamil is a 20-year veteran of technology and business companies in North America. Mr. Jamil has been involved in various large scale technology projects in various organization in USA. He has led various project teams in all domains including financial service, healthcare, insurance and manufacturing. He received his MS in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from University of Toronto. He works as a senior consultant and advisor for AZS Teknologi Konsultan, an Indonesian technology startup company specializes in a wide range of technology implementation services that help organizations develop and operationalize their technology and business goals. Contact us for more information.