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Managing Agile Projects - How Hard Can It Be?

Agile projects emphasize self-organizing teams and tight IT/customer collaboration, but this does not relieve managers of their role, it simply changes it.  Organizations must learn how to manage Agile projects, or their projects will suffer.  But the rules are quite different.  In Managing Agile Projects – How Hard Can It Be? by Liz Barnett, editor-in-chief at recently looked at some good practices for Agile management.

In the past many Agile efforts were led by developers, leaving management scratching their heads over how to fit into the new patterns emerging among their staff.  If this is your case, this short article may be useful to your manager, as it also points out a few good books as starting points for the manager considering how best to serve both their Agile team and their organization.

Why can't managers simply use the techniques they have relied on for years? Barnett says:
Agile team... goals - [such as] reduce risk, improve delivery capability, and deliver value quickly - really have nothing to do with the things that traditional project managers focus on, such as estimates, status, overruns, and deliverables. In particular, the focus on delivering value to the business (in the form of working software) is the single biggest difference. Traditional project management processes won't address Agile teams' needs. Whether managers choose to adjust traditional processes or adopt new Agile management techniques, change is essential.
Barnett's list of practices to adopt first includes:
  • Emphasizing leadership, not management.
  • Tackling visibility and reporting.
  • Prioritizing requirements based on business value.
  • Making collaboration a first-order process.
  • Implementing true test-driven development.
[Editor's note: for more content on this subject, click on the tag below to see a list of Management items]

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