Agile techniques have many benefits for projects and large-scale programmes. Switching to an agile way of working can make organizations more efficient, speed project delivery, and lead to more engaged teams. Agility has its origins in software development but is now being well used across many industries, especially financial services.
Undertaking an Agile Transformation
Agility is all about flexibility and adapting to changing requirements. Businesses have changed a great deal over time, and project management and delivery techniques need to update to reflect this.
An agile project generally proceeds iteratively, with regular results produced and reviewed against requirements. This allows for more control over project progress and the incorporation of changing requirements. It replaces the idea of a constant project progression based on a fixed set of initial requirements.
Agile transformation is not just about following a new framework or set of methods. It requires a new mindset and way of working in teams. Project management, stakeholder engagement, and team communication strategies are all changed.
Delivering Results Faster
Agility brings many benefits for large or complex projects. One of the most compelling for any company is the faster delivery of projects. Approaching delivery incrementally is more efficient and more aligned with actual requirements. It will also engage teams more, leading to less wasted time or non-priority developments.
Agile results vary between companies and projects. Many studies, though, demonstrate the potential for faster delivery. A leading study by QSM Associates found that Agile teams were up to 50% faster to market. Research from consultancy McKinsey supports this too, with findings that operational performance under Agile increases by 30% to 50%.
Financial services projects can benefit significantly from Agile techniques. The industry typically has large-scale projects or programmes, involving complex teams and products. Projects need to be flexible to adapt to changing markets. It is also a highly regulated industry, leading to more changes in requirements.
Training and Consulting for Agile Success
An agile transformation for a large team, or entire organization, is a complex but rewarding undertaking. Typically, it will involve adopting a formalized agile framework, such as Scrum.
There are many ways to start the transformation. Some teams may move first, or a pilot project may be carried out. However, it is approached though, taking advice and support from experienced professionals can help. Agile consultants have done this before and can guide on the best approach for any situation.
Training teams will also be critical. Any new framework needs to be fully understood by those using it. With a well-established framework like Scrum, there are plenty of agile training courses available to cover all techniques and roles. This includes ways to manage large-scale programmes with multiple teams.
Agile Project Recovery
Just as they can benefit new projects and programmes, Agile techniques can help failing projects recover. Traditional projects often suffer from slow delivery, inefficient teams, or wrongly prioritized tasks. Agile techniques directly address these issues and can help get a project back on track.
Research from Standish Group shows that agile projects have a 60% greater chance of success. The switch to Agile though can be especially difficult mid-project, and will often require external assistance.