Embracing Agile Methodologies in IT Management

by | Mar 29, 2024 | IT Best Practices

Agile methodology is an approach to project management that breaks projects into phases of improvement and collaboration. Teams plan and execute the phases, then analyze to determine what aspects can be improved. It varies from a waterfall approach that involves completing a phase of a project and passing it on to the next collaborator.

An agile approach is preferred because it promotes communication and collaboration. It gives everyone a voice in the decision-making process. It allows creative freedom in the development cycle while ensuring deadlines are met.

CIOs who integrate an agile management plan will see a faster response to changes in the market and increased customer satisfaction. To take advantage of these benefits, they must implement the system within their IT teams and throughout their companies. Read on to learn how to promote agile management in your organization.

Choose the Right Framework

Several frameworks support agile methodologies. The most common ones include:

  • Scrum: Scrum divides work into short-term projects with clearly defined goals. Also called sprints, these projects are analyzed after completion to determine impact. Then new goals are set.
  • Kanban: This framework is similar to scrum in that it divides work into sprints. However, there is less defined guidance in terms of how work should be completed.
  • XP: XP focuses on software that supports agile management. However, it still prioritizes collaboration and communication.
  • Crystal: Crystal uses a holistic approach that strikes a balance between teams and leaders and prioritizes continuous improvement.
  • FDD: The FDD framework divides software into manageable chunks, which are tested and developed individually. It reduces the risk of developing inferior or unnecessary software.
  • DSDM: The DSDM framework is similar to its FDD counterpart, but it requires continuous software delivery throughout the project. It also emphasizes problem-solving and collaboration.

Promote Decision-Making and Risk Management

Agile management differs from a waterfall system in terms of the decision-making bodies. In a waterfall system, decisions are left up to project leaders. Agile management gives team members the power to choose the best practices to drive outcomes.

CIOs should empower team members to make their own decisions. They should provide them with the information they need to drive powerful results. They must instill members with confidence and avoid micromanaging.

Risk management must be integrated into the decision-making process. Some team members should be assigned roles that ensure proper governance and compliance. They must be aware of the risks involved and understand how to weigh outcomes before driving a team forward.

Implement a System for Risk Identification

Risk plays a crucial role in the decision-making process. Leaders must ensure team members have the tools to weigh risk. They must implement a system of identifying risks and determining outcomes.

Unlike a waterfall system that addresses risks during the planning process, an agile system deals with risks as they arise. It’s preferred because it allows teams to adapt to risks rather than change plans when unexpected risks occur. It requires continual risk monitoring.

The RAID and ROAM risk identification system is often used in agile project management. Here are the steps involved.

  1. Teams assess Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies to determine how they will impact the project. They discuss the best risk-mitigating practices.
  2. Each risk is moved to the ROAM board which determines if the risk is Resolved, Owned, Accepted, or Mitigated. Resolved risks are dealt with, although follow-up action may be needed. Owned risks are assigned to a team member who must determine the best practices moving forward. Accepted risks are identified and the impact is acceptable, so no follow-up is needed. Mitigated risks have been dealt with to reduce impact; follow-up may be needed.
  3. The risks are assessed as necessary throughout the project lifespan.

Clear Communication

Communication is a necessary part of agile project management. Teams must discuss risk impact, project progress, possible challenges, and decisions. They must schedule meetings, interact daily, and use technology to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Customer feedback is another crucial aspect of communication. The end goal of most company projects is to ensure customer satisfaction. Teams must actively monitor customer response through surveys, reviews, and analytics. They should consider feedback in their improvement and risk management processes.

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