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  • 1. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India AN OVERVIEW OF KEY CHALLENGES TO OVERCOME, WHILE ADAPTING AGILE METHODOLOGIES Naveen Nanjundappa, PMP Product Manager, Nokia India.2|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  • 2. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India Contents 1 Abstract..............................................................................................................................4 2 Introduction........................................................................................................................4 3 Agile Methodology............................................................................................................5 4 Agile adaptation Strategy...................................................................................................6 5 Key challenges while adapting agile methodologies.........................................................8 5.1.1 Challenge 1: “No plan” or “only plan” for agile adaptation........................................9 5.1.2 Challenge 2: “Training does all the magic”.................................................................9 5.1.3 Challenge 3: “Committed agile coaches”...................................................................10 5.1.4 Challenge 4: Agile brings “revolutionary” change the day it is started.....................12 5.1.5 Challenge 5:“Openness considered as threat to the position”....................................13 5.1.6 Challenge 6: Lack of “self-discipline and team work”..............................................14 5.1.7 Challenge 7: “Communication Gap” within organization.........................................15 5.1.8 Other challenges:........................................................................................................16 6 Conclusion........................................................................................................................16 7 References:.......................................................................................................................17 8 Author Profile:..................................................................................................................173|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  • 3. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India 1 Abstract Agile Methodology is becoming popular across all industries for delivering customer satisfaction and rapid development. Organizations are undergoing agile transition in a grand scale. While new methodology promises a lot to an organization and teams, adapting to new project management methodology shakes the pillars of team’s comfort and destabilizes the project deliverables. This paper outlines the key challenges and their solution areas while adapting agile methodology in a grand scale and effective management of project during the transition. These challenges may seem overwhelming; addressing them early in the process will greatly influence the chances of successful transition. A few challenges discussed are understanding agile and its manifestos, planning for the change, playing with destabilized project deliverables during the agile transition, training and coaching styles, overcoming individual emotions and supporting team, understanding the myths of agile, working out the team dynamics and people conflicts and celebrating the success. 2 Introduction Nowadays many organizations are look forward for time to market with customer oriented products and solution, user experience and product value has become key factors for determining the success. While product organizations strive to produce value driven products and customer satisfaction, the service organizations continually work on providing solutions under budget and schedule. The world of product requirements and solutions change very often, it’s widely accepted fact that the requirements from the stakeholders change during the course of the project and there is either no time or heavy cost to adapt to these new changes. Due to changing requirements, traditional lean project management methods don’t show great results in software products industry. As many organizations are adapting agile methodologies for their projects, Most of these organizations look only at the successful project stories in agile; there are organizations who are struggling to get better results after adapting to agile. Adapting agile methodology is not easy as thought; most of the challenges during the transformation go unanswered resulting in poor or bad project results. A strategic plan is required when an organization plans to adapt agile methodologies. This plan will not only help in smooth transition but also in keeping the ongoing projects alive. This paper attempts to list a few key challenges faced by most of the organizations during agile adaptation.4|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  • 4. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India 3 Agile Methodology Manifesto for Agile Software Development define as follows: “We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value” • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools • Working software over comprehensive documentation • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation • Responding to change over following a plan Principles underlie the Agile Manifesto are, • Customer satisfaction by rapid delivery of useful software • Welcome changing requirements, even late in development • Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months) • Working software is the principal measure of progress • Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace • Close, daily co-operation between business people and developers • Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co- location) • Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design • Simplicity5|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  • 5. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India • Self-organizing teams • Regular adaptation to changing circumstances Agile methodology has the iterative and incremental life cycle development. Agile principles emphasize building working software that people can get hands on quickly, versus spending a lot of time writing specifications up front. Agile development focuses on cross-functional teams empowered to make decisions, versus big hierarchies and compartmentalization by function. And it focuses on rapid iteration, with continuous customer input along the way. Today organizations using Agile report significant improvements and transformations, in both productivity and morale. 4 Agile adaptation Strategy A strategic change management plan is very important for successful implementation of new change process. Phased change management approach is recommended for agile adaptation, the transition is not one step process, and it requires various stages and implementing these in phases will show better results. Figure 2: Phases in agile adaptation. Identify Analyze and Plan Implement Transformation • Phase 1: Identify the need for agile adaptation and problems to solve at organization The need for Agile should be clearly identified. Understand the problems first, before solving. What is working and what needs to be changed within organization? Usually these details can be obtained from internal discussion with stakeholders.6|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  • 6. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India • Phase 2: Analyze and plan a strategy After identifying the need and problems to resolve, strategic plan for transformation should be created, this plan will cover the areas of change and how to achieve them. • Phase 3: Implement agile process in few selected teams. Agile process doesn’t work overnight and can’t be rolled out to all teams at once. Often all agile coaches encourage and recommend implementing agile in a few selected teams and then extending them to rest of the organization. • Phase 4: Agile Transformation This is the phase when the all the teams in organization will adopt agile methodology and the success and failures are investigated and improved. The lessons learnt from the early adopting teams will help other team adapt to the change faster and better, thus full organization will notice the change. Further one can refer to such examples for strategic plans by agile consultants and coaches, various agile transformation plans I have come across are • Enthiosys[1]“Engagement Models for agile transformations” • CollabNet[2] “Path to an agile enterprise” As proposed by Bruce Tuckman[3], the organization will undergo 4 phases during the transformation. Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. Mike Cohn[4] use ADAPT to describe the five steps necessary for any successful agile transition: Awareness, Desire, Ability, Promote and Transfer. Similarly Veselin Pizurica[5] describe how organizations undergo changes in 7 phases, resulting in failure during agile transformation • Wild enthusiasm- everybody goes to agile course, read few books about agile, it looks that simple and obvious. • Disillusionment - arguments and misunderstandings all over the place, people go loose and you start seeing real characters of individuals.7|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  • 7. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India • Confusion - backlog is filled and flat, and folks just don’t know what to do first. Some people resist writing docs, other want them, hardly things are “under control” • Panic - stakeholders start hearing only problems, sales guys are coming back and asking for delivery date, and all that they can hear is epics, iterations, story points • Search for the guilty - by now, agile coach is already either out or scene or incapable of handling the situation. • Punishment of the innocent – process and change management activities. • Non-participant in transformation – thus following back to waterfall, V model, or whatever existed before. 5 Key challenges while adapting agile methodologies Any change causes uncomfortable feel and situations to employees and organizations, many organizations are still in the early stages of agile adaptation, it might take months to complete and stabilize. During this period, as often every change has challenging situations to solve. Even adapting industry’s most popular agile methodology run through many of these challenges. Figure 1: shows leading causes for agile failure.8|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  • 8. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India 5.1.1 Challenge 1: “No plan” or “only plan” for agile adaptation It is important for the organization to plan the change in phases and execute it with experts. Agile methodologies keep heavy weight processes away but it doesn’t support unplanned working. The whole process of implementing the change shouldn’t be done with in-experienced coaches or without a plan. However, having a plan doesn’t qualify for perfect transition unless it is implemented, the plans that are only on papers, whiteboard are same as no plan Impact: Not having a proper plan to adapt agile at organization level will impact the deliverables and project schedule of ongoing projects, the new change will stress the team members to deliver and perform poorly. Due to the lack of check points and goal, the developments made due to agile methodologies will not be visible. Adapting agile without a plan will cost in term of budget and time for the organization. Finally everything runs in a chaos and stress. Recommendation: Agile cannot be “effectively” adapted without proper guidance, the agile coach play a major role for effective agile transformation. Having a phased approach for agile adaptation with a strategic plan will help safeguard the ongoing projects and also impart the necessary change in the organization. Thus my recommendations are to, • Create a formal transition plan based on the organizational goals and projects. • Involve expert agile coaches to plan the transition and execute them Further one can be obtained if there is a regular follow up on the plan incorporating the lessons learnt during early phases. 5.1.2 Challenge 2: “Training does all the magic” Organizations believe that training on agile methodology does all the magic and enhance the productivity. Agile team member training doesn’t make the team adapt to agile methodology and deliver. Agile product owner is not the outcome of training. The attitude, values, practice and acting agile way does the magic.9|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  • 9. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India On the other hand not having agile training will also lead to failure in transformation. Impact: When the management or team feels agile training will make their teams “agile” unnecessarily the pressure on the team increases and they fail to perform. Team members will lose interest on agile and over expectations by the management will disturb the schedule and quality of the project. Recommendation: Agile cannot be “effectively” practiced with just class room training, my recommendations are • Trainings areat most important and shouldn’t be neglected. • The stakeholders, team members and higher management should undergo agile training • Conduct sessions to discuss the agile adaptation plan • Consider the credibility of agile training experts and their support after training to measure the success. • Agile trainings are not just to bring change in the way we work, but the way we think and change to agile mindset. 5.1.3 Challenge 3: “Committed agile coaches” While good trainings are half the story, the practical implementation without involving a committed expert coach doesn’t show good results. Due to the cost involved with expert consultations, usually part-time/less committed/low budget/inexperienced coaches are hired to execute the transition plans. Such consultants don’t carry valuable experience to handle and mentor in large scale. It’s not getting the coach on board, but getting committed coach that matters to do the trick. Agile coach should also be available full time for support till the transition is complete. Training alone never make a master, to be a master one has to work with experts. Agile transition plans is normally executed by people who are not agile by their nature, but are assigned to execute it.10|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  • 10. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India Impact: Inexperienced/uncommitted/low budget coaches might not dedicate their full time and might not carry experience in handling unique problems of your organization, thus having such people on board will cost the organization in terms of money and time. These coaches might • Not help your organization with specific risks or unique issues • Not even be available full time for support. Overall, the agile adaptation plan will fail with a part-time/less committed/low budget/inexperienced coaches. Recommendation: Consulting experienced and expert agile coach is a mandate before starting agile adaptation. Agile is not for every organization or project, most of the expert agile coaches bring along with them the skills to handle unique needs and goals of the organization. Experienced coaches, • Will help “tailor” the agile methodologies to best suit the organization structure • Don’t go by agile-book rules to solve the problems • Being external to the organization will have better authority on imposing new changes. • Work with your teams and management and support throughout all the phases of agile transition. • I recommend working with experienced and expert agile coach.11|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  • 11. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India 5.1.4 Challenge 4: Agile brings “revolutionary” change the day it is started Agile early adaptors get carried away with the success stories and expect adapting agile will bring revolutionary changes from day one. Starting agile adaptation with this mindset will add pressure on the team members and they resist changing. It takes couple of iterations before the team is completely functional to its best performance. Substituting agile title on current roles and practices and hoping the new labels will somehow magically achieve new results, by such efforts only agile name will remain and not the success stories. Impact: When the expectation to deliver value and productivity right from day one is on top of everyone’s head, the actual values of adapting agile methodology will be lost. Teams will work in traditional ways, with just “agile” Nomenclature. Standup meeting, iteration planning and lessons learnt session will have no meaning. Everyone will know that they are not working in agile mode, but none would be bothered as productivity is still top priority. Recommendation: My recommendations are to, • Agile Training to all stakeholders and customers. • Management to understand the real need for agile transformation, and the change can’t be expected on day one. • Transformation plan to describe the schedule for agile adaption & improvement areas. • Agile is best adapted in “agile” way, start small and grow big. • Most often change process is initiated top-down, which compels the team for change. Take experts consultation before roll out. There are no short cuts in agile adoption process; short cuts will simply lead to failures.12|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  • 12. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India 5.1.5 Challenge 5:“Openness considered as threat to the position” Openness is the key attribute in daily standup meeting, while working as teams without individual identity, retrospectives, estimation and iteration planning. Openness will help to narrow down the project impediments, but it isvery effective in pointing out to the incompetence in development and business needs. Thus implementing agile with closed culture is hard and a big challenge by itself. Impact: • Team members feel unsecured to showcase their weakness, resulting in not supporting agile transformation. People will hate to be pointed out for their in competency. • To hide the weakness, team members will tend to “give proof of their work” than the results. • Team members tend to showcase their individual preference over team’s requirement, thus not completely supporting the agile process. • People who are required to practice agile are not necessarily convinced with agile. • People in management positions will tend to resist the change thinking in the new change they will not hold strong positions. Recommendation: Agile cannot be “effectively” adapted if agile practitioners don’t trust in the process. The change should be imbibed in all levels of organizations. For organization to transform into agile and perform better, I recommend it to • Support and educate employees with agile mindset and open culture. • To have authoritative product owner and management staff • Propagate team work over individual identity and agile principles • Rewarding work environment13|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  • 13. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India • Clear career paths • Employee staff potential of working in self-organizing teams 5.1.6 Challenge 6: Lack of “self-discipline and team work” Working in agile doesn’t mean one lose their identity, agile team works in coordination for success of the project. Thus lack of self-discipline and team work will introduce new challenge in the process of agile transformation. Team members need to recognize they have a role to play on the team and should not stick to their defined job description. Impact: The impact of this is as highest of all if not resolved at the earliest, since agile is fundamentally based on the mindset of team members, if they don’t support 100% to the agile adoption, and then results will never be seen. • This might even lead to recession and role crunch within the team. • Team members feel unsecured and not challenging at work. • Standup meeting, reviews and retrospectives will only be a process at the end of day without adding values. • Loss of individual/team identity and contribution. • Team members feel “micro-managed” due to frequent and regular interactions. Recommendation: Agile is an approach based on key principles and relies on people’s ability to “do the right thing” in order to deliver quality output on time, hence my recommendations are to • Build trust in team work and reward disciplined team members. • Educating your users so they understand their new role14|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  • 14. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India • Not have compromise on agile way of working, but tailored approach is acceptable 5.1.7 Challenge 7: “Communication Gap” within organization. Collaborative and participative communication is another key to challenge, team members most often hesitate to give feedback or comments during decision making and management continue to “plan” for their business deliverables. Agile methodology expects open communication. With communication gaps, the responsibilities will float around without clear ownership. Involving stakeholders/customers for frequent and regular feedback on the featured developed during iteration might be challenging, Impact: Communication gap will lead to • Agile roles and responsibilities not being clearly defined and communicated • No clear ownership of responsibility and control. • Missing coordination between distributed teams. • No communication with stakeholders/customers last minute surprises. Recommendation: Agile is not management level change, it’s a change within the team and individuals associated. A traditional top down approach for agile adaptation will lead to resistance within the teams as they are naturally inclined not to change. Effective communication is an important success factor. Some recommendations are • Participative culture, everyone involved share feedback/comments. • Organization to define the roles and responsibilities in new structure and clearly communicate them15|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  • 15. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India • Involve stakeholders/customers for effective planning and delivery of only required product. • Agile communication games during training 5.1.8 Other challenges: • Project budget: Since in Agile the project iterations will continue as long as the customer continues to identify high-priority, high-value work. Hence organizations/managers will have to work on new ways of budgeting and business deals. • Stakeholder/Customer commitment: Most of the time, these people are busy and will not dedicate time for review of features, thus show low commitment for agile adaptation. • Testing along with development: Engineers are not adapted to small incremental development and testing. • Handling Metrics and reports: Since agile teams doesn’t generate traditional metrics and reports. Management staff will not notice agile as good working model. • Career growth plan and motivation: The role of line manager’s become critical to keep the motivation and help with career growth plan of the team members. 6 Conclusion Agile processes have grown increasingly popular and organizations are on the path of agile adaptation. During agile adaptation the organization and teams will face many challenges, the final success of adapting to agile will significantly depend on how the overall change management, challenges were handled and how agile was introduced into the organization. Most effective and successful transition happens when it’s done bottom up, where teams develop their perfect “agile” working styles. Agile is not one stop solution for all, depending on the organization and team’s needs it should be customized for better results. Finally, adapting agile is easy, but developing “agile mindset” and being successful is the not.16|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  • 16. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India 7 References: [1] http://www.enthiosys.com/problems-we-solve/agile-product-management/ [2] www.collab.net : white paper “Agile Transformation Strategy” [3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuckmans_stages_of_group_development [4] http://talk-agile.meTalk Agile Blog - Agile transformation challenges [5] http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/ Mike Cohn, Adapting to Agile 8 Author Profile:17|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  • 17. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India Author is working at Nokia India, as product manager for Symbian video telephony software products. He has worked in agile methodology, capacity of scrum team member, scrum master and project manager since 2004, proactively helped people and teams in Agile XP and Scrum methodologies. As a mentor he has helped team during agile adaptation and transformation. His current interests include agile project management, agile adaptation and transformation challenges. Organization: Nokia India Private Limited. Bangalore. naveen.nanjundappa@nokia.com naveen.nanjundappa@gmail.com18|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management