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Topics: Agile
What is the best practice for changing attitudes and behaviors of senior executives?

What is the best practice for changing attitudes and behaviors of senior executives or senior functional managers to support from Waterfall methodology to Agile implementation projects?
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Many senior executives and managers fear risk, so they often prefer to continue doing what they’re familiar with. With this in mind, if you want to convince them to try Agile you need to explain how Agile will benefit them more than Waterfall. For example, you could describe how Agile delivers working functionality into the hands of customers faster than Waterfall, and how Agile allows for frequent customer feedback; these both result in less risk of project failure and cost overruns, and greater customer satisfaction than Waterfall.
Also, execute a Agile project with any manager or executive who is willing to try it. When other leaders see the success of this project, they’ll be more willing to try Agile themselves.

I agree that you have to show them results.

Make them agree that change is inevitable and that technology is moving so fast we can barely catch it and ask them to carry a project using Agile and show its results vs what is expected from waterfall or even compare it with a project running with waterfall

A succes is talking for you, find a way to do a project in Agile. Or find a project that was done in Agile way, use it to show benefits.

Sme statistic may also talk your way.

Show the benefits and value. Comes down to the bottom line.

Why do you want to change to agile? Is something broken? Is it something that agile will fix, or are you just hoping that changing your process will fix the problem?

Generally speaking, you can't really change other people, but you can help them find a reason to change themselves. If you can identify their pain points with the current process and demonstrate how agile will ease their pain, you may get them on your side.

If you find out that agile won't resolve their pain points with the current process, set agile aside and help fix their problems. Gain their trust and you may find them more willing to listen to you regarding agile.

Consider doing sprints but having dev/systems testing/user acceptance testing milestones in the sprint. I've done so where we did monthly releases of incremental capabilities but retained traditional waterfall milestones. Worked out well and kept team focused on short-fused milestones.

To change attitudes and behaviors, there has to be buy-in. Senior management in most scenarios would jump on board if there is cost savings, increased efficiencies and risk reduction.

My advice would be to host a condensed Agile management process session designed for executives showing them how it will benefit the organization. Run through a project, demostrating waterfall versus Agile and let them see what advantages each offer. If there are future projects that you can share, show them how Agile may be beneficial.

First of all you must understand that waterfall and agile are not matter of comparision. Waterfall is a life cyle process based on a life cycle model: predictive. Agile is an approach you can use with anything, for example waterfal life cycle model. Second, you can not change behavior if you do not work on pains. Think about the Newtons Laws of motion. That is the key. So, you have to understand if to apply agile will solve a problem. If not, forget about it.

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"Man, if you gotta ask, you'll never know."

- Louis Armstrong...when asked what Jazz is.



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