Understanding Agile in Project Management – ​​FE News

Daniel Nicholls, Research Director,
Project Management Association

Daniel Nicholls, Research Director at Association for Project Management (APM), the accredited body for the project profession, shares information on the benefits of agile project management and some of the potential obstacles, following the launch of APM’s latest research study Understanding Agile in Project Managementproduced with the University of Southampton.

Agile has been introduced to – and is spreading to – many different industries across the UK. Not surprisingly, software development and IT remain the most common areas where agile methods are applied, other sectors including consulting, construction, aerospace and defense, central administration, services financial and professional, energy and utilities, and higher education are adopting agile techniques. to manage projects.

Understanding Agile in Project Management presents evidence to suggest that the wider adoption and implementation of agility will continue. Research shows that the majority (68%) of research survey respondents say they will practice more agile in their projects in the future.

What are the benefits of agility?

Research reveals that embracing agile has many potential benefits for projects and project organizations. The majority of research participants (76%) say that agility has positive effects on project performance, including:

  1. Improved quality
  2. Increased ability to manage priorities
  3. Shorter delivery time
  4. Improved customer satisfaction
  5. Reduced risks in changing environments
  6. Better visibility of the project
  7. Improved team morale and productivity

Martin O’Neill, PAM Member Understanding Agile in Project Management The Steering Group and Advanced Certified Scrum Master commented: “Agile values ​​and principles with a range of supporting frameworks, tools, techniques and methodologies mean that agility can be successfully applied to a variety of project types. in all sectors of industry in a personalized way.
“A well-implemented agile project can be a win-win for individuals, projects, and organizations.”

What are the challenges?

Research cautions, however, that agile is not always beneficial and can often present challenges to those looking to implement it. The agile application may require changes to the existing organizational structure and management at the project and organization level. Five of the most concerning challenges identified in the application of agility are:

  1. Misunderstanding of employees
  2. Inconsistency between project teams and organization
  3. General resistance to change
  4. Lack of alignment with compliance guidelines/frameworks
  5. Insufficient management input/participation

Cultural Readiness for Agile

Agile is still emerging for many organizations. Research shows that, overall, the skills and culture of organizations are not yet fully ready for agility, with only 15% of research participants rating their organization’s agile proficiency as high, and only 20% rate their agile cultural readiness as high. The majority of participating organizations have less than five years of experience practicing agile.

The importance of leadership

The importance of leadership in promoting agility cannot be overstated. In most cases, resources and cross-departmental collaboration can hardly be achieved without management buy-in and/or organizational support. Without leadership support, agile can even evolve into dysfunction and potentially become a major risk.

The PAM report, Understanding Agile in Project Management, can be downloaded here.

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