Project Management

5 Lessons on the Road to Agile

Dr. Andrew Makar is an IT program manager and is the author of the Microsoft Project Made Easy series. For more project management advice, visit the website

There is a big difference between being “book” Agile and actually practicing Agile in the work world. For those who are just starting their Agile journeys, here are five helpful lessons learned from an IT team that successfully brought Agile practices in-house and moved from a production-support mindset to a product-focused one.

Two years ago, I joined a project team that was just getting started with Agile software development practices. At the time, I considered myself “book Agile” — I knew the terminology and concepts, and I had read books from Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland, Mike Cohn and Dean Leffingwell. However, I never actually experienced working on an Agile project.

Twenty-four months and eight major product launches later, I captured a lot of lessons learned as the team moved from a “production support” mindset to a “product focused” Agile team. The following are just five key lessons learned on how my IT team worked brought Agile practices in-house to develop our own Agile team.

Lesson #1: Establish your Agile knowledge foundation

Agile means a lot of different things to different people. Some think Agile is just the Agile Manifesto and others think Agile means “go code and ask questions later”. Agile is a different way to manage IT projects and teams and is comprised of many different processes and …

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"Nearly every great advance in science arises from a crisis in the old theory, through an endeavor to find a way out of the difficulties created. We must examine old ideas, old theories, although they belong to the past, for this is the only way to understand the importance of the new ones and the extent of their validity."

- Albert Einstein



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