What’s Stopping You from Adding Agile to Your Project Mix?

More companies are considering adding Agile to their project management strategy, and for good reason. Given the increasingly quick pace of business today, a blended approach can bring valuable flexibility to complex efforts. Teams are better able to incorporate testing or iterative releases, for example—activities that are sometimes difficult to forecast or schedule a long time in advance—while still working toward firm interim and final deadlines. Even PMs that have relied exclusively on a traditional Waterfall approach in the past are seeing positive impacts from the use of Agile.

Adding Agile

The application of Agile, however, can seem like a daunting prospect. Fears about the unknown and a lack of familiarity with a hybrid strategy often stand in the way of implementing real change. Another factor that could stop PMs from leveraging Agile’s principles is pushback from stakeholders who don’t understand why the current approach isn’t always the best for the organization’s evolving needs.

If you’re having trouble figuring out how to gain the benefits of adding Agile, you may be running into some of the challenges listed below. An experienced project management consulting firm can help move your team past these roadblocks and provide your team with the knowledge to successfully blend multiple project strategies.

Your executives have heard rumors they’ll lose reliable project completion target dates. Horror stories about poorly managed Agile projects may have made their way to your senior staff’s ears. Without an understanding of how the strategy really works, they’re likely to balk at the idea of nebulous project scopes and fluid timelines that ignore business commitments and competitive pressures. The good news is that, with the right use of Agile as part of a blended approach and a skilled implementation of its principles, your executives will still be able to trust the time component of your project.

Your team is worried about a lack of dedicated resources. Though many projects managed under the Agile strategy rely heavily on single-focused staffing support, the elements of Agile can benefit your project even if your employees or external personnel aren’t allocated solely to your project. Driving an effort to success without dedicated resources calls for careful workflow management but it’s both feasible and often highly cost- and time-effective.

Key stakeholders aren’t familiar with Agile. Don’t let misunderstandings or the fear of foreign concepts halt your consideration of adding Agile. A project management consultancy with a background in utilizing blended strategies can conduct the training necessary to give team members and sponsors better insight into how the approaches work. It will also provide them with the tools and techniques they need to successfully navigate a hybrid environment.

Some sub-groups don’t want to use Agile.Part of the power of an expertly-blended approach is that it isn’t necessary to push all of your cross-functional teams over to the Agile framework if they prefer not to merge it into their established methods. Instead, you can work with stakeholders to determine which principles from each strategy would be most beneficial to them, and then how best to incorporate the applicable components into their workflows. PMs can also use the opportunity to identify potential advantages each group might gain if they add Agile.

You don’t have the relevant experience to make Agile work alongside a more traditional framework.When the Waterfall strategy has historically dominated your project landscape, it can be difficult to change gears or envision a different way of doing things. Fortunately, with a supportive project management partner in your corner, your team will have access to seasoned guidance and knowledge about the most effective methods for updating your efforts.

 

PMAlliance offers project management consulting, training and portfolio management services.

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