Why switch to Agile practices?  Are Agile projects more successful?  Is Agile development a better way?  Will the project customer be happier and receive more functionality in the products and solutions that are delivered to them?  Why should an organization’s CIO want to change?  Why should the CEO want to adopt Agile practices?  How about project managers – why should adopt Agile practices be beneficial to them?  The list is long.

Teamwork is very key in any organization, but in the end, everyone is their own person and each position – each individual – is affected by the change.  It’s important for different roles in the organization to understand how Agile practices are important to their work, to the organization, and ultimately to their project customers.  It’s important for each role to understand how Agile processes can add value to their work that they are performing.  It’s not too difficult to understand it once you’re living it, but when you’re trying to make that decision to move, then understanding is crucial to adoption and acceptance.

Let’s look at some organizational roles and positions and how the move to Agile can mean different things to these different roles.

For the CEO of the organization, a switch to Agile can mean less wasted work by your organization and improves value for your investors.  Costs are likely down, profitability is likely up, and projects can be more successful as they flow with requirements changes rather than be destroyed by them.

From the CIO view, Agile adoption and process implementation can set a better vision for the technical team.  It can make stakeholder meetings easier, and it definitely can improve communication with business partners throughout the organization.  Suddenly, the organization will have a much higher level of transparency and will involve much less of a political agenda

Agile processes create transparency for Business Stakeholders allowing them to see faster results, gives them a better understanding of why tasks take the time they take and provides for a better framework for future planning efforts.

Agile practices provide IT Leadership with a very concise and accurate burndown chart at each release and each iteration level. Agile adoption also helps senior IT leadership to stay focused on strategic company initiatives and objectives while the project team can stay focused on shorter-term goals.

Incorporating Agile project management practices allows an organization’s Project Managers to focus on the team to come up with a plan, with a detailed task list and estimates for every iteration – which the project team then commits to and focuses all effort on. The project manager would still share the schedule with team members and the customer using a collaborative viewing tool like Seavus’ Project Viewer, of course.  And Agile sets the stage for project managers to better understand the team and the technology, and to support the team by removing roadblocks.  This, after all, becomes a key role for the project manager – facilitator and roadblock remover.

Project manager in factory

Through the use of Agile practices, the Business Analyst can stay focused on asking the right questions – the critical and tough business questions of the customer and the organization.  It encourages the BA to partner with the development team to identify expected system behavior through user stories and the defined acceptance criteria.

By focusing on Agile principles Architects stay focused on strategic thinking that can take the organization to the next level of performance and delivery to the project customer.  Developers are focused on test-driven development and receive timely feedback from testers during the development cycle.  This allows developers to more quickly produce error-free code and can greatly improve morale among the developers in the close team environment.

Agile practices set the stage for Testers to work closely with the development and project team members to ensure that the necessary quality is built into the iterative solution rollouts.  They are committed to quality, not just finding bugs along the way.