You may have heard of Agile methodology. It is a great way of driving your business forward through flexible, agile, and transparent methods that make constant improvement at the forefront of everything.
While it is certainly a great system to implement for your business, you will encounter some challenges along the way.
The Agile methodology breaks down a project into several phases. This makes the project more manageable and involves continuous collaboration throughout the execution of the project.
The methodology involves constant collaboration with stakeholders. Every stage goes through a cycle of planning, executing, and evaluating. Agile methodology forgoes traditionally lengthy cycles for shorter cycles called sprints or iterations.
It uses cross-functional and collaborative teams that deliver small chunks of a service or product. Then with the help of customer feedback and course correction, continuous improvement is achieved.
The aim is to maximize value delivery by responding to the customers’ needs and demands.
Implementing the Agile methodology should result in a superior quality product with customer satisfaction at a high level. The business has better control over its project, reducing risks and increasing project predictability. The team’s morale is likewise improved as they are generally autonomous and allows for more creativity and innovation.
Changing systems and processes can always be challenging. It is especially true when the habits and beliefs of your team are deep-rooted.
Resistance is expected, as change implies how things are currently done are not the best practices and it can even go as far as challenging a person’s established values. When your people stand firm in their resistance, this can pose a major challenge in the team’s transition to a more effective methodology.
When this happens, it is always best to sit down with them to communicate the need for change. Properly and accurately explain your “whys.” Present real examples, and challenges from the old system that they’ve experienced.
You should also express the desired results from making the transition to Agile methodology. Lay down your goals, and how Agile can achieve these goals. The better you explain how the change in methodology can help the team better achieve their objectives, they’ll be more willing to embrace such change.
Educating your team is always important. Providing them with knowledge and training them can help them see the benefits of Agile.
The transition to Agile methodology must begin with those in management.
Everyone has a different approach to project management regardless of what methodology they use. But for the change to be successful and for it to achieve the desired goals, the leaders must fully understand what is expected of them.
All executives, middle-management, and senior management must communicate the benefits of the transformation. For Agile to be effective, communication and expectations must align with every level of management for the transition to be successful.
It is one thing for your team to accept the change as it is presented to them and it is one thing for them to accept the change in practice. As your team starts to implement the strategies of the Agile methodology, it can test their patience or feel too laborious or burdensome. They then start questioning why all of this is necessary.
At this point, it is important to encourage them and show the progress they are creating. Motivate your team in the proper direction. It is best to have a leader who is supportive but also keeps them up to pace.
Trust is imperative in this time of transition. The team must trust in leadership to guide them through the change in the least painful way. The leaders must trust their team to deliver their assignments. The team members must trust each other to carry out the tasks successfully.
With a lot of moving parts in Agile methodology, everyone must be on the same page. Everyone should be aware of the timeline, the deadlines, and the tasks. They should also know which team is responsible for what and who the specific point persons are.
The best way to keep everyone on track is by using project trackers. This helps mitigate issues of miscommunication as well as helps collaborators understand each other better.
Cross-team collaborations can be a great way to encourage creativity and innovation. However, if their practices are inconsistent with each other, this can result in miscommunication and problems with their tasks and deliverables.
When getting everyone on the same page, establish smaller systems that can make understanding each other’s works better. These practices should be followed across all the teams to form a uniform and cohesive way of performing tasks and submitting deliverables.
As always, make sure communication lines are always open and that everything is clearly understood by the other team.
One of the great things about Agile methodology is that the teams are self-organizing and self-managing. This allows for team members to feel wholly involved in their assignments.
However, if your team members do not have the proper expertise for the team they are in, then it can be an issue down the line, like delays in the timeline.
Encourage your team members to go where they fit best, where their voices are heard. Team members participating and facilitating progress is one of the main benefits of Agile’s self-organized teams and for that to be possible, each team member must have the right expertise for the role they have.
For Agile methodology to work, you need tools to keep your system in place. You also need rubrics, tools, and other means of measuring feedback and progress are needed.
Being able to provide the proper tools can help establish Agile easier for your team. Properly measuring your team’s progress and presenting it to your team can be great motivators for them to continue their good job.
Find the proper tools for your team and stick to them. Customize the framework to match your team and projects’ needs. Be consistent with using the tools until it becomes second nature for your team.
Some (final) thoughts
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