What is Agile?

Agile has come to our reality for good, and the agile approach to work and to management is already applied at various levels of the organization - from business change to operational activity.

Agility in management changes the traditional understanding of roles, but we still have projects that still need a project manager. Business analysts who are critical to the success of ventures and undertakings are also very needed.

More about Agile

Agile is an advanced management approach. It may relate to any aspect of management, starting from teams through projects to programmes and portfolios. Agile may deal with small team management but also may help delivering a project in traditional corporate governance. 

Experiences collected from multiple projects show that the traditional (waterfall) approach to project management, in many cases unfortunately does not bring the expected results. The reasons may be as follows:

  • In the initiation phase of the project, the client is not able to precisely determine the products or their functionality that they expect, which significantly hampers or even prevents from planning the entire project.
  • Dynamically changing environment of the project during its delivery generates so many requests for change ('client constantly changing his mind') that at the end of the project we get something completely different than planned.
  • Ineffective communication in the project - there are actually two project teams coming from the customer and the supplier, which lodge on their positions, and then in case of problems they 'keep firing' each other using the ammunition in the form of paragraphs and contracts and their often far-fetched interpretation.
  • The solution delivered by the supplier includes functionality that is not used by the client then - 'because something had to be entered into a contract'.

As a result, projects do not end on time, the customerd do not receive what they expect, and the products are of poor quality. This entails a reduction in the return on investment (benefits) or delays its delivery. That's why organizations are looking for other, more flexible approaches to project delivery. However, for organizations that already have standards of formal project management, popular nowadays Agile approaches are dubious and their application appears to be risky.

Such organizations need mature agile method, the method that is nimble and at the same time the method that has a built-in project management - Agile Project Management - AgilePM®

This is a comprehensive compendium of knowledge pertaining to the application of the Agile approach in projects. It includes guidelines on appropriate project management – AgilePM (the role of Project Manager) and information on the professional and Agile culture-adapted business analysis that is very important for the project (the role of the Business Analyst).

Where is Agile?

In order to understand what Agile is and what it is not, we need to try to define the term 'Agile'. There is no single universal definition, and thus there’s a lot of chaos in this field. In broad terms Agile means the presence in every environment (not only design environment) of appropriate “agile” actions, concepts and techniques.

According to such a definition Agile will always mean:

  • Transparency – the team and its progress are visible for everyone
  • Inspections – frequent reviews of progress and the way the methods are applied
  • Adaptations – application of inspections and introductions of new ideas and conclusions
  • Working closely with the customer in every aspect – one team culture
  • Postponing the decisions on detail for as long as reasonably possible
  • Finishing tasks on time and frequent deployments to operational environment
  • Final solution that really satisfy the business need

Where can the Agile approach be used? It turns out that on all organizational levels – in the area of business change and in 'business as usual'.

The Agile approach can be applied “everywhere”, that is:

  • in portfolio management
  • in programme management
  • in project management
  • in team management
  • in product delivery management
  • in normal business operations

AgilePM and AgileBA

The art of project management and the art of business analysis are the foundations for project’s success, including the one managed in agile style.

We will not exaggerate if we say that there are two entities responsible for the success within the Agile project culture:

  • Project Manager (Agile PM)
  • Business Analyst (Agile BA)

The role of the Project Manager is to build this machinery for success. Create processes, empower the team, make sure that its members work well with each other, that issues and risks are resolved quickly, etc.

The Business Analyst makes sure that requirements are properly defined, conflicts omitted, and nothing left out. His/her task is to make sure that the requirements add value to the Business Case, and that the project fully reflects not the selective, fragmentary approach, but the holistic one. This requires a comprehensive approach to the business of the organization on the strategic level, which is also influenced by the respective project. The comprehensive approach to business requires the Agile BA to have competencies in various fields, such as:

  • Organization
  • People
  • Process
  • Technology

Project Manager and Business Analyst help the following principles to function within the project:

  • Focus on the business need
  • Deliver on time
  • Collaborate
  • Never compromise quality
  • Build incrementally from firm foundations
  • Develop iteratively
  • Communicate continuously and clearly
  • Demonstrate control

Two important principles concerning project cooperation and quality of communication are “Collaborate” and “Communicate”.

Collaborate – this principle concerns and forms requirements mainly for the Project Manager. It is his/her task to ensure that the team consisting of business and technical representatives play “the same game”.

Communicate – problems with communication appear when people talk to one another, but do not understand each other (as in the Tower of Babel, where people were willing to cooperate, but lost their ability to communicate due to divine intervention). They are unable to articulate their requirements or do not know what they need, as this forms tacit knowledge. This has to be elicited with use of Facilitation Workshops, Models, Prototypes and also by observing how people actually work. The role of Business Analyst is to facilitate the communication by application of these practices.

AgilePM and AgileBA training and certification

OMEC offers a wide range of training and certifications in AgilePM & AgileBA, both on Foundation and Practitioner levels.

Check our training paths and available courses.

Benefits for organizations

  • Faster time to business changes, at lower cost and reduced risk through the statement of the progress of the project with expected business purposes
  • Connection AgilePM with project management methodology functioning in the organization (PRINCE2) and quality management processes, and as a result increasing the number of successfully completed projects
  • Usage the ready, tested and proven by many years of agile project management methods instead of building their own methods for their mistakes 
  • Achieve better communication and control of the implemented projects
  • Provide professional development of employees and enable them to obtain AgilePM certification

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We run accredited training and offer certification in the area of project management, program and portfolio management, risk management and IT services management. Our PRINCE2®, MSP®, P3O®, MoP®, M_o_R®, ITIL®, Agile Project Management and Agile Business Analysis training is accredited by APMG-International and Peoplecert. We're a PMI Global Registered Education Provider. We cooperate with International Projects Management Association.

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