6 Rules for Successfully Implementing Agile in Your Business

Agile methodologies

Implementing Agile methodologies such as Kanban or Scrum is a challenge that many organizations, project managers, and team leaders face as these methodologies grow in popularity in the world of business. There are several advantages that can be gained from this type of method which is very clear to see, but actually implementing them in business isn’t always easy. As with implementing any new processes or changes, it’s not uncommon for Agile implementations to be met with obstacles, rejection, and even fear from team members who struggle to adjust to working with new processes. Here are some ways to successfully implement an Agile methodology in your company.

Begin with the Right Project

Of course, you can apply Agile methodologies to almost any project successfully. However, implementing these methods and creating an Agile organization requires that you select the right projects to start with in order to ensure that the maximum benefit is achieved in the shortest time frame. In general, starting with applying Agile methodologies to projects that are clearly classic or predictive will not usually be successful since there’s often a big sense of loss of control and a higher chance of both teams and management quickly reverting back to the methods that they are already familiar with. On the other hand, more experimental projects tend to provide the best opportunity to get started with applying Agile methodologies.

Estimate Effort

Believing that estimates no longer need to be made is one of the most common mistakes when moving to Agile methodologies. While you may no longer need to make an estimate of the entire project, it is still important that you are able to come up with a realistic estimate for the efforts required for the task, to ensure that they are fairly equal or at least make the difference in size between them as clear as possible. If a task is constantly shown as ‘ongoing’ in a Kanban project or is left incomplete by the end of a sprint, this usually indicates that there has been a mistake made in the estimation process that should be corrected by breaking the task down into more manageable parts.

Define Team Roles

The roles that teams play in predictive or classic projects tend to be very different to the roles that they play when the project uses Agile methodology. With classic or predictive projects, the project manager plays a leading role and controls all aspects of the project, while on the other hand, Agile teams have a far more relevant role and the project manager is a facilitator, rather than a leader. To ensure that the method is implemented correctly, it’s important to clearly define the role of the team. Agile projects require teams that are self-organized, multidisciplinary, and self-managed - which can often lead to confidence challenges for organizations that have leaned on managed and controlled methods so far. It’s important to invest time in building a team of equals committed to achieving a shared goal.

Understand the Limitations

All Agile methodologies have their limitations, which should always be taken into consideration when applying these in your organization. Bear in mind that there will always be scope, code, deadlines, and quality factors to be met, and any limitations should be managed accordingly. Limitations should be strictly managed since they are an important part of the model; accepting all types of changes leads to losing control.

Constant Analysis

Agile methodologies are very powerful and extremely capable of producing highly motivated, effective teams that can produce impressive results in relatively short timeframes. However, all of this power requires a lot of control. When using Agile methodologies, organizations are encouraged to constantly measure, analyze, and make improvements wherever possible. Metrics are important for improving the workflow based on real, tangible data rather than relying on opinions or intuition. It’s important to gather metrics such as speed, flow, and commitment compliance in order to streamline process and improve teamwork.

Quality Comes First

Good quality means repeat business, and it’s a key factor when applying any Agile methodology. Managing estimates incrementally, encouraging your teams to be self-managed, or increasing delivery speeds does not mean reducing quality. Because of this, it’s important to ensure that quality assurance checks are made at every increment rather than leaving them until the end. Quality validation, revision, and measurement of all items, products, and deliverables generated should be implemented right from the start.

Making the switch to Agile methodologies can be a huge adjustment for any business. Keep these tips in mind to ensure that all teams can easily reap the benefits of Agile.