how-to-blend-agile-into-your-methodology

Responding to KPMG’s 2017 survey, 85% of Dutch companies stated that in the coming years most organizations will operate in a hybrid environment. The results suggest that business experts will blend Waterfall, Critical Chain (CC), and other PM practices with Agile to respond proactively to up-and-coming innovations. As Agile is expected to become the leading methodology in project management, we’ve compiled recommendations on how to find middle ground between extremes.

 

Short Guide to Fostering Agile Values

If you intend to deliver projects through the prism of innovation, quality, and a volatile business environment, you shouldn’t disregard what lies at the heart of the Agile manifesto:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Accepting this value in Waterfall would mean a focus on the next level of resource management – continuous face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder collaboration with your team. This does not mean, however, that you should adopt a completely tool-less approach, confining yourself to a dashboard and a few stickers. There are perfect project planning tools with high-end features that show you how to optimize capacity in real-time and prevent overload from appearing on the horizon. Opt for the best PM software and leave enough space for prioritization meetings.

Read more: How to Prioritize Like World-Class Leaders

Working software over comprehensive documentation. This is your rescue from a mess of papers. Ask yourself what’s more important in your industry: product quality, planning accuracy, or both? The purpose of integrating this agility into the development cycle is to reduce the thousands of hours required for collating planning lists, providing documentation, getting approvals, and so on.

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation. Driven by this value, you can reduce many uncertainties. Following up with your clients along the way enables you to instantly modify projects based on new requirements. You can also get rapid feedback on products and easily shift priorities without unnecessary meandering based on intuition.

Responding to change over following a plan. Imagine you’ve finally developed a long-term construction plan after investing thousands of planning hours in a project. You thought your plan would create perfect flow, expecting your team to sparkle with productivity and your business to perform efficiently. But your plan is now falling apart at the seams because of two, three, or ten uncertainties you couldn’t predict because you were relying too much on intuition. The issues continue with re-planning – endlessly and inevitably – unless you blend agility into your approach. Agile methodologies leave space for changes and improvement.

Also explore these project management techniques that have proven effective with hybrid methodologies.

 

agile-principles-for-construction

 

Universal Agile Principles for Every Industry

Some of the overarching principles behind Agile apply to any business. In History: The Agile Manifesto, Jim Highsmith states:

We embrace modeling, but not in order to file some diagram in a dusty corporate repository. We embrace documentation, but not hundreds of pages of never-maintained and rarely-used tomes. We plan, but recognize the limits of planning in a turbulent environment.

Here are some insights collected after studying industries other than software development:

Agile Principles
How-to Guide
Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done.Provide your employees with priorities so they work efficiently.
Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.Use the less-is-more principle, simplifying and optimizing your environment.
The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.Give your team local freedom to make qualified decisions.
At regular intervals, the team should reflect on how to become more effective, then tune and adjust its behavior.Monitor your team’s historical progress to learn from experience.

Troubleshoot project problems to avoid them in the future.

Get rid of planning overdose.
Satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery.Split your project steps into the development of functional systems and pass them through testing and operation once they’re ready.
Businesspeople and developers must work together daily throughout the project.Define key project roles and people responsible for communication with the client.
Agile processes promote sustainable development. Sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a consistent pace indefinitely.To maintain focus and pace, you may schedule deadlines, predict bottlenecks, and create sequences of tasks, thus blending an Agile approach with a traditional PM approach.
The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.Encourage your team members to communicate and share progress to boost their performance.
Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.Train your employees in new skills when they have spare capacity so they can reach project excellence.
Working software is the primary measure of progress.Measure progress based on the client’s expectations, time, and costs.
Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference for a shorter timescale.Involve the client continuously to add real value.
Welcome changing requirements to harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.Look for space where changes can be optimally integrated.

The Journey to Agile in the Midst of Development

There’s an intelligent business performance tool, Epicflow, that can integrate all of the above principles without knocking your planning paradigm out for good. Epicflow perfectly suits many types of industries – shipbuilding, construction, manufacturing, finance, software development – especially if they operate with multi-project environments.

Our flow project management tool helps you answer all the questions that await you at the PM door.

Epicflow is a unique tool to help you with multi-project resource scheduling. Backed by years of research into PM challenges, this software provides you with clear task and project priorities and predicts resource bottlenecks. It helps you face the uncertainties and prototype a solution to react immediately. You won’t need to replace your PM system as Epicflow integrates with MS Project, Jira, Primavera, and Clarity and is easy to implement even if you’re in the midst of development.

Sign up below for a free demonstration and we’ll do our best to cure your methodology with innovative practices.

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