Change is inevitable, even if it’s not always desirable. Culture changes. Technology changes. Business changes, and in order to keep up, sometimes it’s necessary for your organization to change with it all.
But adjusting to change is a precarious process for many businesses, and introducing agile approaches in the wrong way can cause more harm than good. There are plenty of mistakes that can be made when adopting agile approaches for your business. Here’s what you want to avoid.
Change Seemingly for the Sake of Change
Very few businesses and agencies will adopt agile approaches for the sake of doing so. It’s too much effort: throwing out old software, training for new software, integration, etc. Besides this, many businesses do have more than enough reason to adopt agile approaches. Software might be outdated or projects may be running behind schedule. Customers may be losing interest. All of these issues can necessitate the need for more agile approaches.
But through it all, you want to make sure that you’re clear about why this change is being implemented. Keep that at the focus of your proposal, your introduction, and your training. Stakeholders need to know why this adaptation is necessary. Clients need to know why this change is necessary. Most of all, your team needs to know why this change is necessary, as they’ll be the ones enforcing it. Failing to clarify this will cause confusion and a loss of morale.
Lack of Thorough Communication
Some developers see a need for agile adoption, send a proposal to the necessary stakeholder to sign off on the change, and…that’s it. They go to work. This can leave other necessary stakeholders feeling as if you tried to pull the rug out from under them, and you’ll be less likely to receive the support you need from them. Think ahead to the full ramifications of this agile approach. Who will be affected? Who will it benefit? Everyone that this agile adoption touches should be kept in the loop about this change and its progress.
One way for projects to go unfinished and schedules to lag is for expectations to be unclear. This is uncharted territory for almost everyone, so it’s important that everyone knows what’s expected of them. The organization needs to work with the development team, and the project management team with the stakeholders, and all parties with the clients, in order to ensure that tasks are completed and goals are reached. Make sure that you’re available or can easily contact everyone involved. Make sure you set goals that you can meet. This plays into communication, but it’s especially important when it comes to expectations.
Lack of Follow Through
Having an idea for an agile approach is one thing. Following through is a different thing altogether. What might seem easy from the outset can quickly prove difficult, and you and your team will need discipline and meticulous care in order to reap the benefits of it. Especially with new approaches, you’ll have to log and track everything mercilessly in order to show the results to stakeholders and prove that this agile adoption was in fact worth it. This is not for the faint of discipline. If you start this change, you need to finish it.
Bringing in New Tools Right Away
There are plenty of new tools that can help agile adoption approaches, particularly because agile is a software issue. However, starting with those tools and expecting them to solve your problems can often backfire. When you introduce an entirely new piece of technology, you need to be trained on how to use it. You need to learn the ins and outs of the interface, and this can take up valuable time from your organization. Start simple. Get to the heart of what needs to be fixed. Take your team into a conference room with a dry erase board and marker and map out a plan. If that becomes too unwieldy, then you can find a software tool that suits you, instead of trying to fit your company around a tool.
Failing to Change the Mindset
Too many people think of agile approaches as a group of processes that help your business to run more efficiently. The truth is, agile isn’t about processes. It’s about the mindset. Agile approaches are adopted when something isn’t working in your business, not to simply do it a different way, but to think of it in a different way. In order for agile approaches to be successful, you have to get to the heart of the issue, and change the mindset from there outward. Without changing the way you think about the problem, no agile approach will be able to really reap results for you.
Expecting a Magic Cure-All
Agile approaches are helpful, of course, or no one would go through the trouble of developing and implementing them. They can help your business stay on top of their projects and reach their goals more efficiently, but that’s really it. There’s no method that adds 8 extra hours to each day, or cuts the time it takes to finish a project into thirds. Agile approaches are not magic, and you shouldn’t expect them to single-handedly make your business a superpower. See them for what they are: a helpful resource that depends on the people who use it, and nothing more.
Putting Off Agile for the “Opportune Time”
When is the best time to implement agile approaches? The moment you know you need agile approaches. Too often, organizations feel like there needs to be an opportune time, such as the start of the year, or the start of a new quarter. A fresh start to ease everyone into agile approaches. It’s easy to fall into this trap, because a change like agile adoption can be intimidating. But think of how much benefit you lose by waiting? Keep in mind that agile adoptions require training, adjustment, and discipline. It’s best to start at the time you know you need it so that by that lofty “opportune time,” you’ll already have agile approaches implemented and ready.
The right software is crucial to smooth project management. If yours is causing you to fall behind, adopting agile approaches could be the next move. However, this should be done with care. Make your case and expectations clear, communicate with everyone involved, and then follow through. Agile PMPs are needed for agile approaches.