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Applying Agile Management Value 4: Responding to Change Over Following a Plan

The fourth core value of Agile project management addresses the response to change. Change is a valuable tool for creating great products. Using agile management principles, project teams that can respond quickly to customers, product users, and the market in general are able to develop relevant, helpful products that people want to use.

Unfortunately, traditional project management approaches attempt to wrestle the change monster to the ground and pin it down so it goes out for the count. Rigorous change management procedures and budget structures that can’t accommodate new product requirements make changes difficult. Traditional project teams often find themselves blindly following a plan, missing opportunities to create more valuable products. As time — and knowledge about your product — increases, the ability to make changes decreases, and costs more.

By contrast, agile projects accommodate change systematically. The agile approaches to planning, working, and prioritization allow project teams to respond quickly to change. The flexibility of agile approaches actually increases project stability, because change on agile projects is predictable and manageable.

As new events unfold, the project team incorporates those realities into the ongoing work. Any new item becomes an opportunity to provide additional value instead of an obstacle to avoid, giving development teams a greater opportunity for success.

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