Organisational Change Management Volume 1

Framework 54 Agile

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Introduction

This methodology was developed in the software divisions of the ICT industry in response to traditional methods that were seen as bureaucratic, slow and inconsistent with the ways that software developers actually perform effective work.

It is an adaptive rather than predictive approach as it adapts quickly to changing realities. A predictive approach knows what its outcomes are in advance and finds it hard to change direction.

it is a iterative approach where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams that are accountable; the business approach aligns development with customer needs and organisational goals

It builds on concepts such as lean manufacturing, project management, chaos theory, complexity theory, action learning, Six Sigma, TQM, etc

Principles (manifesto)

Preferences are

- individuals and interactions over processes and tools

- working software over comprehensive documentation

- custom collaboration over contract negotiations

- responding to change rather than following a plan

Some principles involved include

"...- customer satisfaction by rapid, continuous delivery of useful software

- working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months)

- working software is the principal measure of progress

- even late changes in requirements are welcome

- close, daily cooperation between business people and developers

- face-to-face conversation is the best form of communications (co-location)

- projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted

- continuous attention to technical excellence and good design

- simplicity

- self-organised teams

- regular adaptation to changing circumstances..." Wikipedia, 2010

NB The concepts stress error proofing, eliminating waste, creating flow, adding customer value and empowering workers

Approach

The project is broken into small incremental parts with minimal planning; iterations usually last a couple of weeks.

Each iteration involves a team working through a full software development cycle (planning, requirements analysis, design, coding, unit testing and acceptance testing). Then a working product is demonstrated to stakeholders.

The short time frame allows for minimizing risk and quick adaptability to change.

Multiple iterations may be required before new product/features are released.

The self-organizing, cross-functional teams formed must free of constraints and restraints from existing corporate hierarchy and organisational roles of team members. The team members, themselves, allocate and take responsibility for tasks and outcomes.

Frequent verbal communications, such as face-to-face, videoconferencing, phone, etc are preferred to written documents.

Most teams work in a single open office (this helps with communications); limit number of team members so that communications and collaboration are easier. Sometimes larger development efforts require multiple teams working separately but they work towards a common goal.

It is axiomatic that all teams must contain a customer representative and they play a key role in reviewing progress and evaluating priorities.

Daily briefing session (best done face-to-face) is important for each team member to report what they did yesterday, what they intend to do today and to identify obstacles and challenges.

Summary

Agile is an iterative and incremental efficient development method with short time periods, ie weeks rather than months; work is produced in a highly collaborative team manner; documentation is significantly reduced. It is most suitable to handle the unexpected and/or where requirements are not well understood and/or the project changes and/or using experienced staff in projects, etc

"...the emphasis is on obtaining the smallest workable piece of functionality throughout the life of the project..."

Wikipedia, 2010

One downside is that it does not lend itself to traditional project accounting, and financial forecasting is less predictable.

(source: Wikipedia, 2010)

 

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