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Structured Model precedes Agile

Structured model precedes Agile

(Algebra precedes Calculus)


Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. Defines Agile as


“Marked by ready ability to move with quick easy grace”


In project management terms we can infer this as ability to develop solution quickly and with quality.


Many a time seemingly to save time Project Leaders want to choose Agile project management. They feel less documentation and lesser processes need to be followed in Agile methodology. To Top Management this may sound nice; actually we should not underestimate Agile processes to mere “lean’ process methodology.


Agile is frequently equated with implementation aspects like less review, less artifacts and very less processes. In actual Agile is more of mental awareness, an open mind to consider and adapt practical and quick solutions. It needs appropriate process and optimum efforts from everyone towards a common goal.


However many new Project Leads wants to adapt “Agile” without trying to understand the real purport and only want to embrace part of Agile – that is lean process.


No one can learn and use Calculus without having studied Algebra to a good extent. If you need to perform well in Twnety20 match or 1 day international you should have graduated from league matches, performed well at test matches and practiced the techniques of batting and bowling well. Otherwise it will most likely to be a failure in Twenty20 matches


For software engineers with less than 2-3 years of experience it is very difficult to understand things about that the project will have Product Vision that is split into Sprint themes and each sprint will have a deliverable working iteration and other tenets. Scrum says when a customer demands the software vendor to stop at any point and the product that is under development should work till the last minute of development. It means that every story is defined, developed, reviewed and tested dynamically on continuous basis. Though in principle if we have exceptional software engineers this possible with even junior resources. But in practice it is very difficult to have all team members at same exceptional levels. Hence the Project Manager should take a prudent call before deciding to adapt Agile.  Resources who have executed structured development models like waterfall, iteration etc will have good understanding and grip on estimation techniques, requirements elicitation, definition, designing, planning, reviewing and other project management activities. Also these resources get exposure to project tracking, configuration management, metrics analysis, risk management activities in structured approaches. When they graduate  to Agile methodologies, at lease they will know why they are not following formal estimation in Agile, how testing and reviews are integrated and how the Product and Sprint Backlog take care of entire project management cycle including metrics, risk management, configuration management etc.


So the awareness as to why certain things are skipped in Agile and why focus is more on frequent delivery and how Quality is maintained in Agile model will lead to better success in Agile Projects.


In the Project Management triangle of People, Process and Technology people component is very vital in Agile projects. Here the assumption is that though some software engineering practices are seemingly skipped the mature software engineers use these practices at mental level and ensure that end deliverable is not having quality problems.


Hence more than the convenience it is best to evaluate the need of the project for Agile based factors like people, process and technology. Of course the customer should also be part in deciding the project life cycle, as Agile is all about collaborative approach.













2 Responses

  1. This is a good insight on the problems with adopting agile…

    I have an article on PM Hut titled agile as solution to the changing project landscape, this article is controversial (it’s almost completely the opposite of what you’re saying), you can also check the comments at the end.

  2. Hi PM Hut

    I read your article with interest, I would think your article probably complements my view. I also did not mean to either support or reject Agile Methodology. I have meant the project lify cycle to be decided based on the merit of eac project’s case. Also I stressed the need for the People component being more significant tan the other two components viz., Process and Technology as for the Agile goes. Hence feel that resources with very less experience should not be considered for Agile projects.

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