Project Management

I Can’t Seem to Get My Team to Become Agile

Ken Whitaker of Leading Software Maniacs (LSM) has more than 25 years of software development executive leadership and training experience in a variety of technology roles and industries. He has led commercial software teams at Software Publishing (remember Harvard Graphics?), Data General, embedded systems software companies, and enterprise software suppliers. Ken is an active PMI member, Project Management Professional (PMP) certified, and a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM). Sources for LSM's material come from case studies, personal leadership experience, the PMI Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) and Ken's leadership books: Managing Software Maniacs, Principles of Software Development Leadership and I'm Not God, I'm Just a Project Manager.

The software industry has definitely become more “agile”, and contrary to many other technology industries, software development has the unique characteristic of extreme flexibility and adaptability. Enforcing a strict sequential, waterfall approach for software projects just doesn’t work any longer. With Scrum being one of the most popular of agile frameworks being adopted for software project development, now even the Project Management Institute has launched a PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) certification.

But just being an expert on agile and focusing on delivery of “working software” doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. This article shows tips and techniques for those of you struggling with getting your team and your company to adopt agile.

Misconceptions About Agile

1. Senior management doesn’t really have to care about (or understand) agile. In Doug DeCarlo’s insightful book Extreme Project Management, he identifies reasons why extreme (agile) project managers fail. The first one on his list is due to “Not having the right project sponsor, one who is a champion and barrier buster.”

Senior management should provide the leadership and drive to set the direction and to help guide the team to achieve corporate goals. (Some folks think that executives are really there just to punish.) …

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