Using Agile on Infrastructure Projects

PMI Durham Highlands Chapter

Kevin Aguanno is the agile practice lead for Procept Associates Ltd., one of PMI’s first Registered Education Providers, specializing in training and project and programme strategy consulting. Author of over 30 books, audiobooks and DVDs on project management topics, he teaches agile methods at several universities and at conferences around the world. He spends most of his time helping large, complex organizations integrate agile project management methods into their governance frameworks.

As a consultant helping organizations adopt agile management practices, one question I commonly hear is, “Can agile be used on IT infrastructure projects?”

People know that agile works on software development projects (and many think that’s where its applicability stops) but struggle to understand how it can be used in other environments. In my September 2016 article “Agile Breaks out of the IT World,” I noted that, in fact, some of the fastest growth in the use of agile techniques is outside of the IT realm altogether. So, of course agile can be used on infrastructure projects; one just needs to understand how.

Iterative and Incremental Delivery
Agile methods are lightweight members of a family of approaches called “iterative and incremental delivery.” These methods are characterized by breaking the project up into pieces that are delivered in order of priority, and in a way that grows the solution over time. Work in progress is demonstrated periodically to stakeholders in order to receive early and ongoing feedback. And value can be delivered in phases as deliverables are released throughout the project, not just at the end.

Infrastructure projects can usually be broken down into pieces that can be delivered in phases. While in many cases all of the infrastructure needs to be in place in order for a solution to go live, …

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