The concept of Agile for managing software projects began in the 1990 in software development under early forerunners such as “…Scrum, DSDM, Application Development and Extreme Programming“. The waterfall project management method was causing growing lead times and lack of flexibility to make changes later in the project as more was learned along the way. Based on this early work:
…seventeen developers met once again in February 2001, and from this, the Agile Manifesto was born.
Here’s where you can read about the four core values in the Agile Manifesto.
I share this as background for a ProjectManagement.com article, Agile is Fragile—Handle it With Care (registration required for full article), by Emerson’s Sal Zafar.
Sal opens highlighting the importance of a core framework:
It is critical to properly frame agile before utilizing it as a building block for project executions. Companies that have never utilized an agile approach will have to put forth significant effort to prepare for establishing a framework.
He shares 12 considerations in establishing this framework:
- Defined scope
- In-depth planning
- Requirements gathering
- Skilled resource alignment
- Well-defined processes
- Team that follows the processes
- Time sensitivity
- Contingency plan
- Communication plan
- Seasoned project manager
- Appropriate tools
- Lessons learned
In the article, he describes each of these considerations. Here’s the description for the first one, defined scope.
Having a concise scope for the project is very important. With any project, leaders must know what is included in the scope and what will not help execute the chosen approach successfully. However, a defined scope is even more important in agile-based projects because there is no room for scope creep during the execution of the project. Having a good contingency plan (to be discussed in point number seven) becomes more relevant at the time of potential scope creep.
Sal explains Agile works better for small and short-term projects, organizations with standardized processes, and projects with small increments.
Read the article for more on some of the benefits an Agile methodology can deliver and projects that may benefit from a combination of project methodologies. You can connect and interact with other project management experts in the Services group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.