How to Get Commitment to a Transition to Agile Methodologies

Commitment at both an individual and organizational level is critical to a successful transition to agile methods. Without organizational support, even the most enthusiastic agile project team may find itself being forced back into old project management processes. Without the commitment of individual project team members, a company that embraces agile approaches may encounter too much resistance, or even sabotage, to be able to become an agile organization.

Commitment to agile methods may not be instant. You need to help people in your organization overcome the natural impulse to resist change.

A good early step in an agile transition is to find an agile champion, a senior-level manager or executive who can help ensure organizational change. The fundamental process changes that accompany agile transitions require support from the people who make and enforce business decisions. A good agile champion is able to rally the organization and its people around process changes.

Another important way to get commitment is to identify problems with the organization's current projects and provide potential solutions with agile approaches. Agile project management can address many problems, including issues with product quality, customer satisfaction, team morale, regular budget and schedule overruns, and overall project failure.

Finally, highlight some of agile project management's overall benefits. Some of the real and tangible benefits that drive shifts from traditional methods of project management to agile methods include the following:

  • Profit benefits: Agile approaches allow project teams to deliver products to market quicker than with traditional approaches. Agile organizations can realize higher return on investment.

  • Defect reduction: Quality is a key part of agile approaches. Proactive quality measures, continuous integration and testing, and continuous improvement all contribute to higher-quality products.

  • Improved morale: Agile practices such as sustainable development and self-managing development teams can mean happier employees, improved efficiency, and less company turnover.

  • Happier customers: Agile projects often have higher customer satisfaction because agile project teams produce working products quickly, can respond to change, and collaborate with customers as partners.

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