The Agile Methodology is typically associated with accelerated software development.
The core principles of Agile can be effectively applied to general project work. Its iterative nature, marked with incremental milestones, and flat, open collaboration between stakeholders enable projects to respond quickly to change. Managing paperwork for the sake of paperwork is reduced. By promoting self-organising, cross-functional teams, Agile can fundamentally change how organisations leverage their increasingly diverse talent pool.
Processes and tools are useful guides. But the quality and depth of interactions between individuals are where the insights are. By all means understand the established processes well enough to get the core principles behind them, to know when to break out of them safely. Put the prime focus on talking and listening to people, and building strong, respectful and trust-based relationships.
Do just-enough documentation. Not document for the sake of documentation. No amount of detailed documentation will ever capture all the nuances and changes throughout a project. Focus instead on meeting incremental milestones with tangible deliverables. Then evaluate this incremental progress against the needs and goals. Make changes as required before the next milestone.
Don’t spend too much time on highly detailed agreements and contracts. Agree on big picture goals and working arrangements instead. The best contract with intricate minutiae of “what could go wrong” will not stop those with bad intentions from acting badly – and it is really only useful when seeking legal recourse after the fact. Focus instead on carefully selecting the right people to work with. Build trust with respect. And enable real collaboration towards tangible outcomes.
Draw up a plan as a means to clarify shared understanding of the big picture vision and goals. But know that a plan is only a guide based on assumptions and insights which may become less relevant over time. With the big picture vision and goals in mind, make changes as required after evaluating each milestone. Keep everyone engaged and in the loop and be transparent with the rationale of each change.
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