Agile methodology is not always the best approach to be applied to a project. In change management transformations from traditional project management to Agile project management, it is usually best to begin with a hybrid approach and ease the organization’s transition to the habitual use of best practice principles. During the transition, there should be some analysis of what practices work well for the unique team dynamics and what practices have to be tailored to fit the team’s needs.
Projects that are best suited for Agile tend to have the following characteristics in common:
- They require R&D
- Have requirements that are not fully formed
- Have high rates of change
- The final goal is known but initially hard to describe
- Have high risk and uncertainty
To augment the decision making process of whether to apply Agile methodologies to a project, the incorporation of an Agile Business Case might prove useful.
The Agile Business Case is the justification for product and rationale for selection of Agile methodology as opposed to a traditional project management approach. The case can be as comprehensive or simplistic as required to arrive at a sound judgement of why Agile is the best approach to achieve the product goal.
At a simple level the language in the Agile business case can be as follows:
“To reduce the risk of financial loss quantified at the average annual industry cost of 5 million dollars resulting from a data breach and to help our users better access their records, the Obvious Bio-metric Authentication System Project will provide a secure option that will keep user information safe from rogue actors and unauthorized individuals.
The full requirements have not been developed but the team has enough information to begin development of the initial features.
We anticipate continuing with analysis and product discovery in the course of development and we will ask the development team to be nimble and expect change of requirements. There is a possibility that we might alter architectural direction but this is not certain.”
The language above touches on some of the points highlighted as characteristics of projects conducive to Agile methodology:
- They require R&D – “We anticipate continuing with analysis and product discovery in the course of development”
- Have requirements that are not fully formed – “The full requirements have not been developed”
- Have high rates of change – “expect change of requirements”
- Have high risk and uncertainty – “we might alter architectural direction but this is not certain.”
The level of detail in the Agile Business Case will depend on the organization and audience to be addressed. Large enterprises will typically require a comprehensive case while smaller organizations may not require much detail. In the event of creating an Agile Business Case, remember the Agile value of preferring “Working software over comprehensive documentation”.