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How to use Agile Methodology in a Consulting Company?

Most Agile implementations I have heard of are for internal projects or work. Can Agile be implemented by a company who is doing work for another company on a contract basis, especially if that other company is not using Agile methodologies?
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It was mentioned that " if that other company is not using Agile methodologies"
It means the company will face some difficulties of transitioning-agile-methods in respect of how to use Agile methodologies.

The following article written by
Tew, Bryan



The short answer is yes it can work; however, the client must buy-in to participating in the process (e.g. backlog grooming, sprint reviews). It would be easier if you are doing the work independently of the client and not integrated into their processes. The client will need to be available for the Product Owner to refine the user stories and prioritize them in the backlog to ensure that you are providing the most value to them every sprint. They will also need to be available at sprint reviews to determine if work is "done". It will be a challenge if Agile is not part of the client's culture, so it is important to find a champion in their organization to encourage their participation.

Best regards,


Yes of course you can do so and we do that for our clients. We use hybrid (Agile-Waterfall) so often.

Thanks for your replies. We definitely think getting our client's buy-in to provide us a Product Owner who will have the authority to make decisions on the spot will be one of the bigger challenges.

I think our approach will be to let our clients know the ground rules before we engage in the work to level-set everyone's expectations. However, talking about and agreeing to do certain things may be easy. Actually having them done by the client will be the challenge if they are not used to Agile methodology.

Like many companies, we are traditionally waterfall in our project planning. However, much of our work incorporates some Agile methodology. We just never identified them as Agile. Now, we're thinking about incorporating more parts of the Agile methodology into how we plan, track and execute projects. But we want to do it in a way that gives more value to our clients and doesn't burden them, because maybe in their minds they are contracting us to do work and solve a problem. Why are they working so hard to give us information?

Timothie -

A lot depends on how tightly your team will work with the client's. If there are very well defined hand-offs and your work can be done almost like a "black box" then, there might be little opportunity to benefit from adaptive lifecycles although agile values & principles could still be followed. On the other hand, if you will be working hand-in-hand with the client, if the client is open to an adaptive lifecycle, and if there is compatibility in culture and delivery maturity, then it can work very well.


Agile is not a method or methodology. By definition Agile is a "way of thinking and behave with focus on client, value and quality". So, consulting companies are a good environment to work on that. I did that in some of the best known consulting companies. The key sucess factor is inside the definition itself: client, value, quality. Just in case you like to use a method it could be good because you can use a method internally while you define your interface with the client.

Timothie, it will be hard to get buy-in if the client is not using Agile. You may need to sell the benefits of Agile before they agree to partner with you when using frameworks they are not familiar with or use often.

As an organization that provides professional services, they most likely will have their own project methodology. Dependant on the initiative, the client organization will allow for the professional services team to utilize their own tools and approach for the project. Other times, the P.S. team will adopt to the approach of the client org. This will be specified in the SOW.

Many thanks for all of your input.

Just to comment my personal experience. I was part of the group of authors of DSDM version 1 and 2. I was there because the company I worked (one of the top five software, database and other innovation products manufacturer) endorsed the method and I was asigned. In that company I was responsible for professional services. So, each time we started and initiative to deliver services to our customers we used DSDM. Did the customer used the same? Sometimes. But by using DSDM (or Agile principles) we got better benefits, profits and revenue in consulting services.
1 reply by Eric Isom
Sep 15, 2018 9:54 AM
Eric Isom
Exactly. Even without customer involvement, a lot of Agile principles can be applied within the project team that will provide better results.
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