Today many organizations are either going through, went through or planning some type of Agile transformation. What many do not realize is that there are many types of Agile that should be considered. Some more popular than others, and some more advertised, but in the end, there are many things to consider. Along with the type of Agile framework, there are other factors that can quickly become “gotchas”. Some of these include resource management, team structures, financial impact and planning, not to leave out skills sets.
Types of Agile
When you consider the types of Agile, some of the most popular are scrum, extreme programming, DSDM, crystal, lean, six sigma, and Kanban. Each of these have strengths, and in my opinion work well when dealing with different types of development. It is important to even consider the organizational structural changes that might have to occur when you make this transformation. For most of the Agile frameworks, the teams are self-managed and self-controlled. Each team member plays a specific role, and they support a specific product. In small organizations this is often easier, but in larger organizations where supporting teams such as infrastructure or enterprise architecture are involved, getting dedicated resources of these areas aligned with an Agile team can be difficult to do.
What Do I Still Have to Do?
I have heard some companies tell organizations that their way is the only way, I’m telling you that you have options and to consider the possibilities. I have also had some of what I call Agile “purists” tell me that with Agile there are certain things that you do not have to pay attention to anymore. Those words scare me and should scare you. I have heard vendors train teams and instruct them to just do contracts on your own and do not involve procurement and legal, and that they do not have to worry about SOX or other regulatory controls. Imagine the legal liabilities that this could bring about. Other things I have heard is that they do not have to worry about documentation anymore but often regulatory matters documentation is one of the control factors that must be provided during an audit.
How Do I Boot Up Teams?
No matter what you do, you cannot just boot up your development teams and leave the supporting teams behind. If you do, you will soon run across impediments because these teams are not running in Agile mode. You need to plan the boot up of Agile teams and coordinate it across all departments from development to support teams. Some of the key teams to consider would be regulatory and compliance teams and the controls, infrastructure and architecture teams, and even procurement teams. You also need to be sure you do not forget about your business partners or clients and customers. This will change their world as well as often more involvement is also needed from them. If you do not take the time to train them as well, they will not understand what is now going to be expected of them.
Will My Financing Actions Change?
More than likely, you may look to move to funding teams instead of funding projects. In the past, budgets were planned out for up to a year in advance to the level of capital and operating expenses. When you move to funding teams, your financial planning will need to change. What also may need to be looked at is how you will do tracking of any internal labor capitalization. With agility comes flexibility, but often organizations have a limited amount of capital or operating monies that can be spent so this can make that aspect more challenging. In some respects, planning for budgeting of teams is easy, but what about budgeting for hardware, software and other potential infrastructure costs?
What About Resource Management
If your organization was previously doing full resource management looking at availability, capacity and demand, you may find that how you do resource management now may drastically need to change. Some say resource management is no longer needed because teams are self-managed and are in control of the amount of work they say they can do. Others say it is still needed for planning reasons. What is important is that you understand the role that resource management plays within your organization, and then make the changes that are right for you.
Do I Have to Go by The Book?
Many purists will tell you that you must follow the book down to the last word, I am telling you that you do not. Whether traditional frameworks or Agile, they are just that…frameworks. They are a starting point or a template for you to start with, add in your culture and organizational needs, and define the framework that is right for you. It is good to get a thorough understanding of the principles, but when a vendor says to just use sticky notes, or a white board and you are used to getting enterprise reporting…you better think again about that decision.
So Where Do I Start?
You start by planning what your Agile transformation will look like, the areas that would be impacted, the stakeholders, and the impacts across the organization. Kind of sounds like a project does it not? Identify a vendor that can assist you and not direct you, one that can take your organizational culture and environment and factor that into the framework along with any regulatory controls, and one that can provide you options not just their way or the highway. Consider everything from team structural changes to financial impacts and do not forget the reporting aspects. In today’s world, reporting on progress and budgeting and planning is a key factor in many organizations so be sure your reporting is ready to change as well. Moving into an Agile transformation in an Agile format can get you in to trouble if you don’t consider the possibilities.
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Author, Speaker, Project / Program / PMO Thought Leader
Over 20 years project management experience with a passion for helping organizations grow their PMO, their project managers, and their teams. My passion has taken me to the pursuit of a Doctor of Education, as I enjoy seeing the proverbial light bulb come on. I am a believer in continuous growth and improvement, and believe that an organizations culture and environment is what drives the growth of PMOs and all areas, and not the other way around.