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Introducing Agile

By Beatrice Thomas

When a project seems as large as an elephant it can be really overwhelming. But if you were to ever eat an elephant, you’d do it one bite at a time.

That’s Agile project management methodology – breaking a large task into repetitive and incremental pieces.

Agile values trust, flexibility, empowerment and collaboration in project management. It is risk-based, therefore issues are identified early to allow the necessary time and energy to satisfy the need.

The Agile methodology was originally written by a group of software professionals in 2001 and it has spread through to other industries.

The Agile Alliance explains the core philosophy as being: “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools, working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation and responding to change instead of following a plan.”

Kellie Dobbie, director of renovation company Transformations says at the end of the day a collaborative environment is the key to delivering a project.

“The more motivated, more involved, and more empowered your project team is, the more willing they are to share a common goal and to actually drive that common goal,” she says.

“If you’re increasing people’s collaborative nature and their common goals, and they buy in, you will usually increase efficiency.

“It’s allowing people to focus on really what is required at this moment. As long as you focus on your core risks or your core objectives, everything else can fall into place along that time.”

Agile is good for small and medium business and it can also be industry specific.

In the technical disciplines it can be more difficult to use the Agile methodology because generally there is a very specific thing to deliver.

Projects are split up into packages and stages and then into smaller packages to drive focus.

This allows prioritisation, the ability to pick low hanging fruit, and to put more time and effort into the heart of the project.

The greatest benefit of Agile is flexibility and adaptability, but this can also be the biggest downfall.

Knowing when to draw a line in the sand can be difficult, and there may be many things going on at the same time. So, it’s important to keep the core goals in the back of your mind – cost, time and quality elements.

The cost of implementing Agile in a project is highly variable. An extremely rough guide is between 2-3 per cent of a project.

If the right project manager is selected, or if the project management firm has enough of the Agile methodology embedded, then there is no extra cost.

But Dobbie insists training in Agile should not be seen as an extra, it should be considered part of the project.

 

 

 

When a project seems as large as an elephant it can be really overwhelming. But if you were to ever eat an elephant, you’d do it one bite at a time.

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