Using Agile methods in project management is not about choosing either to go Agile or not; it’s more about how agile can we be on this project?
It’s the project manager’s role to assess exactly “how agile” and recognize the associated risks and benefits. The PRINCE2 Agile® best practice guidance has therefore included a tool called the Agilometer to help facilitate this assessment. To tailor the guidance to be most effective, it’s vital to assess the context of a project with particular focus on the environment and working relationships.
By the time people studying PRINCE2 Agile meet the Agilometer, they have learned about the project lifecycle, have encountered different Agile methods including Scrum and will understand the need for sound governance.
And so, there are six factors to consider when using the Agilometer, as shown in the diagram, with a measure between one and five (lowest to highest).
This helps assess the level of agility present in each factor and what follows outlines what a score of five looks like in each.
1. Acceptance of agile
A score of 5 on the Agilometer indicates all stakeholders closely involved are fully aware of the behaviours, concepts and techniques of working in an agile way
; are trained and have experience. They prefer it, understand the advantages while peripheral stakeholders are conscious of working in an ‘agile-friendly’ way.
A low score here means agile working is never going to fly!
2. Advantageous environmental conditions
A top score means the working environment is very supportive of agile working. People work with it full-time, have the right skills, are co-located and use visible progress charts. Contractual frameworks and compliance considerations are not seen as restrictive.
3. Ability to work iteratively and deliver incrementally
It is easy to deliver customer benefits by regular, partial deliveries of the final product which are refined interactively. It’s about experimenting, failing fast and learning fast but with robust governance to realize value.
4. Ease of communication
Communication is easy, with a lot of face-to-face interaction. Visual information is available in prototypes and models. The result: greater transparency and honesty.
5. Level of collaboration
There is a high level of collaboration, typified by a one-team culture and excellent internal and external working relationships. High levels of trust exist and a desire to help is prevalent. The concept of servant leadership (in which the principal objective of the leader is to serve the team) means the project manager removes blockers to ensure the team remains effective. Everyone has a voice.
6. Flexibility on what is delivered
Stakeholders are comfortable with the fact that change is inevitable to create an accurate product and recognize their role in prioritizing the work. They understand that the scope and quality criteria are flexed to protect the level of quality and the delivery deadline and accept that not everything is required.
When using the Agilometer, it’s important to see it as a guide to help you make an informed decision and view each factor in isolation rather than create an average score across all areas to reach a conclusion.
Using PRINCE2 Agile, including tools such as the Agilometer, within a project helps hugely when you have stakeholders investing money and staking their reputation. This approach allows them to see the product prototype early and provide feedback during the lifecycle of product development.