When developing products and implementing projects that requery of quick goals achieved in ever changing environments Agile is the way to go. However, it comes with a price: the price of changing and adopting new ways of doing things. This will not be appreciated by everybody as change is feared by many and accepted by only few. So, what do you face if you want to introduce Agile in your company? Let´s see.
Number one word, as in everything you want to do in life, is committement. If you want to do something and do it properly you really have to mean it. Agile requires of discipline, time and resources associated to advance. If you think that your scrum master (kind of Agile project manager version) will do for you all those things that you are not willing to put into the project, then do not even start as the level of frustration will rise from the very beginning.
Everybody is busy…or so they pretend to be as people proclaim this every time they have the opportunity. In an agile implementation there are times where you have to attend and participate.
Your scrum master will ask you for daily meetings (usually running for a few minutes). Do not dare to think that just because the meeting runs for 15 minutes you can skip it. Lack of interest is the first sign of all project failure.
Agile is used because you want your forces to advance rapidily to achieve quick results. If your resources are not devoting the time agreed to advance in the sprints (goals to be achieved in a short period of time) then progress will not happen at the pace planned and the “blame-each-other” game will start i.e. my boss asked me to do something else more important. If the people needed will not be there when needed then, again, forget it.
The more you need to progress the more people need to communicate. I already mentioned about the daily time needed by your scrum master to follow on the activities, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Weekly or ad-hoc meetings with stakeholders, product owners, developing teams, etc will happen in order to progress. Further more, you will need tools where all the progress and the overall project needs to be documented. I particularly like two tools: Trello and Jira by Atalassian. They will give you the advantage to have a very good status of what is going on…as long as they are fed by the project team. Like in anything, participating is utmost and required, not just a “nice to have”.
Willingness to change
And, by far, this is the most important part of any project or any organization, specially if you are going (or pretend to go) through a business transformation, and I mean a REAL business transformation. If you want to obtain different results you will have to do things in a different way. I recently read a quote that I love now and can tell you that it is very real:
“If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”
Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States from 1913 to 1921
Gosh, do I have enemies!!! Sad but true, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article change comes with a price. Whether it is in time, tools or processes it does not matter. The real change is internal: people must want to change in order to achieve differently. Unsecure and inmobilistic people are often selfish and very primmitive in ther instincts as when you mention change they immediately go back to basics: Will my job be secure? Will I continue holding the same title or position? Why do we need to change if what we are using is working? People try to hold onto this security blanket duely, mostly, to their fear to the unknown and their unwillingness to change and adapt new practices. I always tell them the same: you can be confident and happy with what you do not changing anything, obtaining similar results…until your competitors are the ones doing something different so they take your customers, services, etc. Then it all may be too late for you to change.