Friday, September 24, 2010

Agile Arguments and why they fail.

Most of us have been there once or twice.  Sitting in a conference room with 15-20 resources discussing why agile project management won’t work.  Some of the comments I have heard in the past are:
“Agile is just the latest gadget, It’s not real world.”
“Agile Project Management is for cowboy teams that just don’t want to be managed.”
Or my favorite….
“Agile won’t work here because we have to maintain our CMMI certification.”
These comments are exactly why some organizations need to embrace Agile Project Management.  Here are 3 reasons to put these SCRUMphobia’s behind you and lead the charge within your organization.
3 – In today’s “Real World” development teams are utilizing technology like never before. By utilizing social tools like chats, tweets, blogs and others, the development teams can be geographically diverse and still maintain a level of collocation that supports the agile process extremely well.  By providing these tools to your team, you are empowering them to work together more aggressively and therefore, more productively.
2 – The daily stand up meetings are specifically designed to increase team synergy.  Teams that work well together become more self-managed as the project progresses.  When I am in a stand up meeting, one of my favorite statements I hear is “I can help you with that.”  This is a key sign that the team is self managing.  In fact, some organizations rate their agile teams and SCRUM masters based on how well the team manages itself.  A strong self managed team is a sign of a quality CSM.
1 – Organizations that are current working toward CMMI certification or are currently re-certifying should be extremely happy about utilizing the Agile project management process.  There are plenty of articles being published that demonstrate how well Agile supports the CMMI practices with as little or less documentation than other project management methodologies.   I personally, really like the fact that teams can demonstrate delivered business value by tracking the story points as opposed to an Earned Value type of approach.  Additionally, the product and sprint backlogs cover many of the CMMI specific practices.  Follow the Agile principles, keep the documentation current and you will be fulfilling the CMMI practices at the same time.
In summary,
Agile project management is a culture changes for some teams.  Helping them realize the benefits will help them take a step toward Agile.  That said, I must note that not all projects and/or team should use the agile methodology.  Each project and team must be analyzed to determine if agile is a good fit for the team, customer, project and organization.  A well rounded organization will have a process to determine which project management methodology should be used based on specific criteria.
Happy Scrumming....

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