The imperative of closing the agile “adoption gap”

The imperative of closing the agile “adoption gap”

What do individual people know about using agile delivery methods for projects that organizations don’t?

According to AXELOS’ 2016 PRINCE2® Report, individuals are embracing agile methods more than organizations: 81% in a sample of 2,400 see the value of working in an agile way and have an appetite for agile 37% greater than employers.

Allan Thomson, PPM Future Product Lead, AXELOSWhy the differential? For organizations, adopting agile methods is a big commitment; in fact, it’s a leap of faith, as senior leaders seem to be reluctant to relinquish the level of control agile demands. Agile adoption is also impeded by organizational culture and values, i.e. “we do it this way and always have”.

While individual practitioners see progress and value in using agile’s transparent and collaborative approaches, the lack of understanding among executives means they and their organizations are missing a trick.

Getting organizations to embrace agile working

The aforementioned “lack of control” perception of agile scares some senior managers, while the stereotype of “fragile agile” – where governance is supposedly non-existent – suggests to them that agile delivery is incompatible with their organizations. Implementation horror stories, where a product that is completely different from the brief was delivered, don’t help.

So, there needs to be specific communications for senior managers and executives to persuade them that agile is worth implementing. And while there is clearly enthusiasm at the front line, this communication needs to be top-down. They need an explanation of what it is, how it provides a powerful and effective delivery method and how it can be incorporated into their organization.

They need to understand that harnessing agile behaviours across an entire organization, for example collaboration, transparency and communication, can help generate value earlier while increasing customer and stakeholder confidence. There is sufficient evidence that it works, though it needs to fit into an organization’s existing project management method.

This year, AXELOS will be publishing a PRINCE2 Agile® executive guide to help senior managers through that learning process. Equally, if organizations adopt PRINCE2 Agile in a project environment, it introduces a level of governance that gives senior managers even more confidence over the process.

Moreover, the PRINCE2 Report told us that more professionals with the PRINCE2 certification than those without it see the value of agile working. While that isn’t a surprise to us or the PRINCE2 practitioner community, it might be to those who have unfairly dubbed PRINCE2 a “waterfall” approach.

What the survey results reaffirm is that the latest version of PRINCE2 – the current 2009 version – is agile-enabled anyway and can be tailored to an agile environment, so allowing the creation of PRINCE2 Agile.

Why is the agile approach a growing trend among practitioners?

So, what do individuals know about agile that organizations are, apparently, still slow to embrace?

  • Agile generates value, helping teams work together and be more productive
  • It helps deliver projects on time
  • It protects product quality
  • It helps embrace change more effectively
  • It keeps teams stable, working collaboratively and transparently
  • It accepts that the requirements must be prioritized: the customer doesn’t need everything.

These points are explained in more detail within the PRINCE2 Agile guidance.

For these reasons, the agile approach is producing value for projects when proper governance is in place, which PRINCE2 Agile provides; the agile “adoption gap” that currently exists between organizations and individuals must be closed if its potential is to be realized more widely.

See our PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 Agile sections for more information. You can also download AXELOS' 2016 PRINCE2 survey results to find out more about our research findings.

Read previous AXELOS blog posts from Allan Thomson

What project metrics are most effective when measuring true project progress?

Implementing a risk strategy within your organization

What are the Traits of the Perfect Project Manager?

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28 Jul 2016 Milvio
Alternate text
Those who have unfairly refer to PRINCE2 as a “waterfall” approach obviously do not understand PRINCE2 fully. PRINCE2 is a process based project management methodology. Its principle of management by stages actually states that there are a minimum of two management stages - the first for initiation and at least one another for delivery. No where does PRINCE2 guide uses to using a waterfall even though it can be integrated with PRINCE2.
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