How to Create an Environment That Enables Project Agility

By Mark C. Layton

When you’re laying the foundation for adjusting your approach from traditional methods to agile methods, create an environment where agile projects can be successful and project teams can thrive. An agile environment refers to not only physical environments, but also a good organizational environment. To create a good agile project environment, you should have the following:

  • Good use of agile processes: This may seem obvious, but using proven agile frameworks and techniques from the beginning. Use the Roadmap to Value that you see below, using scrum and the other key agile practices to increase your chances of success. Start with the basics; build on them only when the project and your knowledge progress. Progress for the sake of progress doesn’t lead to perfection. Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect; practice makes permanent. Start out correctly.
  • Unfettered transparency: Be open about project status and upcoming process changes. People on the project team and throughout the organization should be privy to project details.
  • Frequent inspection: Use the regular feedback loop opportunities that scrum provides to see firsthand how the project is going.
  • Immediate adaptation: Follow up on inspection by making necessary changes for improvement throughout the project. Take opportunities to improve today; don’t wait until the end of a release or the entire project.
  • A dedicated scrum team: Ideally, the product owner, development team, and scrum master will be fully allocated to the project.
  • A collocated scrum team: For best results, the product owner, development team, and scrum master should sit together, in the same area of the same office.
  • A well-trained project team: When the members of the project team work together to learn about agile values and principles and experiment with agile techniques, they have shared understanding and common expectations about where they’re headed as an agile organization.
Roadmap to value for agile projects
The Roadmap to Value.

Luckily, many opportunities for training in agile processes are available. You can find formal certification programs as well as non-certification agile courses and workshops. Available agile certifications include the following:

  • From the Scrum Alliance:
    • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
    • Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM)
    • Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)
    • Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO)
    • Certified Scrum Developer (CSD)
    • Advanced Certified Scrum Developer (A-CSD)
    • Certified Scrum Professional (CSP) for ScrumMasters (CSP-SM), Product Owners (CSP-PO), and Developers (CSP-D)
    • Certified Team Coach (CTC)
    • Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC)
    • Certified Agile Leadership (CAL)
  • The Project Management Institute Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) accreditation
  • From Scrum.org:
    • Professional Scrum Master (PSM I, II, III)
    • Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO I, II)
    • Professional Scrum Developer (PSD)
  • From the International Consortium for Agile (ICAgile):
  • Various tracks in agile coaching, engineering, training, business agility, delivery management, DevOps, enterprise, agility, and value management
  • Numerous university certificate programs

With a good environment, you have a good chance at success.