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Tips on Introducing Agile

Written on December 23, 2010

Convincing an organization to adopt Agile can be difficult, and properly implementing it can be even more difficult. Agile requires enlisting an organization-wide commitment, and neglecting to do so can lead to a lot of headaches. Rowan McCann of ExecutiveBrief has a lot of experience, and has shared some tips on how to make an Agile transition as smooth as possible.

His first tips deal with how you approach brining the idea of Agile to the organization. The title “Agile” can carry certain connotations or expectations with it, and sometimes it can be easier to implement it a little more subtly.

Start introducing Agile practices, such as visual boards and priority lists, without any real mention of Agile. By bringing these processes in, you will already be able to show examples the advantages of Agile techniques when you formally propose it.

By the same token, you can put Agile on a test run. By virtue of the iteration process, you can show the organization how much they can gain by having them try a sprint. The best argument for Agile, of course, is tangible results.

The next couple tips essentially boil down to one idea: have backup. This comes in two forms – inside and outside the organization.

You should find one person, someone of sufficient influence in the organization, who you can get on the Agile side early. Convince a PM of the many benefits and advantages that he or she directly would enjoy. That way when it comes time to convince everyone else, you’ve got someone in your corner who will back you up.

The other half is outside the organization. Basically, provide references. Point to industry leaders who have put Agile to great use. Show them that in this case, the grass actually is greener on the other (Agile) side.

By taking Rowan’s tips to heart, you can head off many of the snags introducing Agile to a new organization can catch before they become a time and money-sapping problem.

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