Agile Management Components There are several fundamental elements that providethe cornerstone for APM.
It is important to stress that these techniques canalso be used in traditional software development methods to improve projectperformance. They are: 1. Visualcontrol. This is a method using cards in the wall so as toassist a team inorganizing the work of the project.
For example, onesuccessful Agile project teamplaced different color groups of cards that reflectedthe features of the solution on the wall. The characteristics that weredesigned, developed, tested and in production were one color, the features whichwere designed, built, tested but not yet put in production were another one.The team was able to see immediately where they were with each set of features.Visual control is a valuable method for all projects, as it ensures that everymember of the team views the project the same way. 2. Co-located high-performing teams. Based on Agile development, all the key team members arelocated on the same place, including the end-user. This approach is conduciveto quality of coordination and communication enhancement.
However, this may reflecta significant cultural change as far as IT developers are concerned. Intraditional development methods, the developers more often than not workindependently, and have minimal interaction with the customer till the solutionis entirely developed. Project managers are responsible for building a highperforming team, so it is their duty to ensure everyone is working welltogether and that assigned developers can work in such a collaborative way. 3.
Test-driven development. In cases when requirementsare difficult to be defined by the customer, Agile teams more often than not use test-driven development. In thisway, the test cases were often developed first, and then the team comes backinto the requirement, which apparently calls for more iteration betweenrequirements, design, development and test phases.In any case, Agile teams almost always develop testplans simultaneously with time they define requirements; in case a requirement cannotbe tested, then the requirement is not yet fully defined. This can be used alsoas a best practice in traditional development to ensure requirements arecomplete, accurate and testable.
4. Adaptive control. Instead of setting rigidinstructions for the entire team to follow, the project manager, who needs to be viewed actuallyas a leader, is responsible for establishing such working relationships, whichfoster collaboration among team members. Agile team members have to be adaptableto assimilate lessons learned from previous cycles-iterations, so as to improvetheir methods as into the next iteration, which is also a best practice for a project.5. Collaborative development.
APM dependson cooperation among all team members todeliver final outcome, assimilate feedback and apply it creatively on the nextiteration. This process of constant feedback and enhancement is the power ofAPM. The project manager carries out the initial planning while the businessanalyst defines the solution features assigning theappropriate priority in collaboration with the customer and technologyrepresentatives. Then the Agile project teams collaborate on the design, development,testing and reworking incrementally. This constant collaboration with thecustomer promotes project success.6. Feature-driven development. This practicegreatly lessens complexity, as it allows the team to focus on one feature at atime.
For instance, one team is working on Feature no 4 and that’s the team’sonly concern. They don’t occupy themselves about Features no 1-3. It is thebusiness analyst in cooperation with the project manager who ensure the next featurein the queue is indeed the next priority, taking into account business valueand assessing risk. Usually, components with high risk or key infrastructurepieces are built first, and then everything else is prioritized assessingbusiness value. The aim is to build the feature driven components with only a one-waydependency to the core system; therefore, specialized components areindependent of each other and can be created in any order or even in parallel.7.
Leadership and collaboration rather than commandand control. “The principles of APM are timeless. APM is more closelyrelated to leadership. It addresses a lot of the steps that facilitateleadership much more than traditional management,” says Sanjiv Augustine,Managing Director of the Lean-Agile Consulting Practice at CC Pace Systems inFairfax, VA. The projectmanager works with the client, the IT management and the core stakeholders to makesure they know the status of the project. Additionally, the project managerremoves anything may hinder the core Agile teams. The business analyst managesthe business aspect of the project and any benefits may arise and continuallydrives the Agile team in the direction of the business need. 8.
Move from C (cost) to R (revenue) focus. Featuresare given a certain priority based on a value as a criterio, such as sales revenueor market share. It’s the business analyst’s role to ensure the Agile projectteam is not investing extravagant time in the development of the new solution.If so they will have eroded the business case and theproject cost will exceed the potential gain. While the project manager focuseson project costs, the business analyst focuses on the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)which includes not only the development or acquisition costs new solutionentails, but also the cost of operating the system after deployment.
9. Lessons learned. After each iteration, theteam holds a lessons learned session to define what they proposals forimprovement on the next iteration. As the team learns, it adapts how the membersare working together to continuously improve team performance. HistoryAlthough many scholars agree that APM methodologies emergedfrom software engineering agile frameworks such as eXtreme Programming (XP) andScrum in the 1990s (Larman 2004; Boehm, 2006; Cicmil et al, 2006; Fitsilis,2008; Hoda et al, 2008; Macheridis, 2009), Aguanno (2004) traces theirdevelopment to the 1980s when the Japanese automobile manufacturers embracedthem in their product development. He mentions that they were initially knownas light weight methods before the adoption of the term agile to show their impacton projects experiencing high levels of change. This stance, however, issomewhat controversial because Aguanno combines both lean and agile.
Accordingto Augustine and Woodcock (2008) APM principles and practices are hinged on the’new sciencetheory of complex adaptive systems (CAS). This complexity theory is derivedfrom the’chaos theory’which is defined as the study of how order and patterns arise fromapparently disordered systems (Elliot, 2008). It is more concerned withunderstanding how complex behaviour and structures emerge from simpleunderlying rules as observed in the flocking of birds and ant colonies(Augustine et al, 2005; Fernandez and Fernandez, 2009). APM is based on the twelve principles that wereformulated at the Agile Manifesto Declaration of 2001 given in Appendix 1.
Justlike the agile values above it must be noted that some of the principles givenin the original declaration are more inclined towards software development.Consequently a number of authors give different principles depending on theirpoint of focus. For example Fitsilis (2008) and Larman (2004) give only five principlesi.e. adopt change, focus efforts on customer value, deliver part offunctionality gradually, collaborate and, and continuous. Whilst Alleman (2005)gives 10 principles which among other things include simplicity, embracechange, enabling the next effort ensuring that the team is strengthened throughlearning), incremental change, maximising stakeholder value, rapid feedback,deliver and manage with purpose.
It is interesting to note that although theseprinciples might look different in a way, they are all similar because theyemphasise one and the same thing drawn from the agile manifesto.However, it must also be noted that some things thatare listed as principles by other authors are listed as practices by others.For instance Alleman (2005) lists travel light/light touch and manage withpurpose/vision as principles whilst Augustine et al (2005) and Elliot (2008)take them as practices. Nevertheless the reflection from these principlessuggest that APM is people oriented, customer focused, less bureaucratic,iterative development focused, delivery driven, and acknowledges change.Complex adaptive systems are such that each ant colonyfollows simple rules and behavior at the localised level whilst a collectiveemergent behavior