Why are C-suite level managers wary of allowing Agile product delivery methods in their organizations?
More and more businesses have adopted Agile approaches in the 20 years since the launch of the Agile Manifesto. However, some leaders remain nervous about investing million-dollar budgets in product development without a level of structure and control they trust.
That said, it is possible – and necessary – to dispel their concerns about using Agile and thus benefit from delivering the right products earlier. This imperative has been reinforced by Covid-19 and the need for companies to be flexible when the environment changes.
To give stakeholders confidence in their investment and the knowledge that quality products will be delivered on time, Agile needs to be managed correctly. This is why the mixture of concepts and techniques in PRINCE2 Agile® is designed to combine effective, Agile product delivery methods with project governance – otherwise known as “agile”.
So, how does PRINCE2 Agile support Agile delivery?
- Deliver on time and hit deadlines
Agile can deliver the required product quality and demonstrate value for money if time and cost are fixed and scheduled work is based on prioritized business requirements. However, without control, the Agile process can go on continually. Therefore, PRINCE2 Agile fixes time and cost to deliver early realization of benefits. And if anything goes outside agreed tolerances, the issue is escalated to the project board for resolution.
- Protect quality levels
The factors affecting quality of a product and what the customer will accept need to be prioritized. So, for the “must haves”, PRINCE2 Agile fixes and protects the necessary quality levels.
- Embracing change
Change is inevitable and should be seen as positive if the project produces a more accurate final product. Having both fixed and flexed parameters means organizations can embrace market changes. For example, a certain requirement might no longer be a “must have”, instead a “should have” might have turned into a “must have”. This allows for continuing product development while embracing minor change where needed. Major change is managed through more formal change control processes. Customer feedback to the questions “do you really need this, or has your market changed?” are vital.
- Keeping teams stable
An established team can create highly effective delivery and the business can control costs. However, if the project is behind schedule, adding new members can increase cost and potentially change the team dynamics. And this can reduce productivity while increasing potential for confusion and mistakes through increased lines of communication.
With Agile methods, it’s all about certain behaviours such as collaboration, transparency and rich communication. In the so-called “new normal” these behaviours are becoming general business skills rather than exclusively Agile. PRINCE2 Agile supports this by offering a common vocabulary.
- The customer doesn’t need everything
When gathering requirements, it’s important to balance customer needs with the available budget. For example, a washing machine might be designed with 20 functions, but the customer uses only five of them. Therefore, the focus needs to be on time and what’s a “must” for a quality product. Trying to have everything might make your product obsolete by the time it goes on sale.
To benefit fully from Agile, practitioners need to be open with stakeholders about how the method works and why senior management needs to be involved in signing off each stage.
Adopting PRINCE2 Agile supports Agile delivery methods in an organization and brings a degree of control which avoids the risks of “viral agile” (agile happening without control in an organization) or “fragile agile” (where agile is not followed properly).