people-process-issues

We can address all these common project issues

Communication problems

Projects are complex temporary structures, often bringing together people within an organisation that have not worked together before.  A successful project will ensure that there is effective communication with all the key stakeholders who have a direct and indirect interest in the project.  It is also important that there is good, consistent and effective communication within the team tasked to deliver the projects products.  A strong team ethic is integral to an agile project providing strong collaboration and continuous communication, plus appropriate and efficient interaction from product delivery team to project governance roles.

Gap between business and IT functions

It is frequently recognised in larger organisations that the gap between the end user and IT functions causes communication breakdown and dilutes the transfer of business domain knowledge that is critical to a project’s success.  An agile project removes these silos by defining clear project roles & involvement throughout the project life cycle for both end user and technical representatives.  This ensures there is consistent commitment throughout every step of the life cycle from all organisational functions responsible for the successful completion of the project.  The agile project team incorporates team members with these different perspectives and experiences that positively support successful shaping and delivery of project products.  The agile team are also given appropriate levels of empowerment with clear accountability for their deliveries, which in turn supports the strong project team ethic across the end user and IT function representatives.

Late delivery or cost overruns

We help to implement an agile delivery framework that guarantees to deliver on time.  Unlike traditional approaches to project delivery, the agile approach fixes time and resources at the start of the project to provide a clear focus and commitment to deliver the project on time.  High quality solution delivery is inherently incorporated into the agile approach.  Organisations require flexibility to meet changing business needs or priorities, therefore agile projects embrace change to scope or priorities to ensure the solution required is the one delivered, on time.  Changes to scope or priorities are directed by the business or end user representatives and agreed by all project team members.

Lack of business case

The agile framework goes through a clear three stage process at the start of the project.  The first, ‘pre-project’ defines the business case whilst the second, ‘feasibility’ expands on the business case, prioritizes outline requirements and validates that an agreed solution is viable.  The last stage of initiation is called ‘foundations’ which includes and expansion of the business objectives, project objectives and prioritized business requirements.  These three steps ensure that before any significant investment in a project, a detailed business case & objectives have been produced and an outline viable solution has been agreed.  The project starts with a clear focus that is then communicated to all involved and reinforced throughout the lifecycle by continual review to ensure business objectives are being delivered.

Unclear requirements or business objectives

As described above, the agile framework we help to introduce has three stages to a project initiation.  Outline functional and non-functional requirements are defined & prioritized during the second ‘feasibility’ stage.  These are further refined, more detail applied and prioritized during the third stage, ‘foundations’.  These steps ensure that the project starts with a clear set of prioritised requirements that are aligned to business objectives.  As the project progresses these requirements will be refined and prioritised further so that the product delivery is always focused on meeting the agreed business needs.

Not responding effectively to business change

The agile project framework produces a list of requirements called a Prioritised Requirements List (PRL).  For each stage or increment of the project the planned elements of the PRL are revisited and require the end user to verify the current priorities.  Agile projects recognise that requirement priorities become better understood as a solution evolves and can often be impacted by external influences within the organisation; both result in a need to change priorities during the project.  Unlike a traditional approach, the agile framework continually verifies the priority of requirements, adjusting plans to meet the exact needs of the organisation.

Delayed or late return on investment

In traditional project delivery approaches the result of projects may not be seen for many months or even years.  During this time change is often required by either external or internal organisational influences or improved understanding of what was really required.  The latter changes tend to delay delivery of projects further causing a delayed or late return on investment.  Since agile projects continually focus on prioritising requirements to ensure they are in line with current organisational needs, the change to requirement priorities have minimal impact.

Agile projects also break down the deliveries into small bite sized chunks (timeboxes), creating a regular ‘delivery heat beat’.  These timeboxes typically deliver every 2- 6 weeks and can often provide a working solution that can be deployed into an operational environment.  The result is that the agile project has focused on first delivering the most important and valuable aspects for the organisation and these have been delivered quickly, enabling the organisation to gain an early return on investment.

Ineffective project controls & governance

Ineffective project controls and governance will result if there is:

  • Ineffective communication and focus on the business case within the delivery team and stakeholders
  • Ineffective communication on a project’s impact of change to relevant areas of the organisation
  • Unclear roles & responsibilities
  • Ineffective planning (not enough or too much detail over an elongated period)
  • Insufficient focus on quality
  • Poor management of risks, issues, change & progress

The DSDM Atern agile framework introduces effective project controls & governance by addressing all the latter areas and more.

Solution did not meet business needs

In too many instances projects complete after significant investment only to find that the resulting solution does not meet the needs of the organisation.

The following are examples of frequent reasons where a solution did not meet an organisation needs.  For a specific project this could be one or many of:

  • Business process not supported
  • Functionality incomplete/incorrect
  • Poor performance
  • Poor quality
  • Poor usability
  • Poor operational management due to lack of knowledge, difficult maintenance
  • Unused features or “gold plating”

Agile project delivery framework addresses each one of these frequent reasons for a project failing or being challenged.  They are addressed through many inherent elements of the framework including:

  • Utilising appropriately empowered & knowledgeable end users
  • Strong collaboration & accountability through out the project from the solution development team incorporating end user & technical representatives
  • Strong communication with all stakeholders impacted across the organisation by the solution
  • Continual focus & prioritisation of requirements that embrace change in order to meet business objectives
  • Effective testing throughout the whole life cycle
  • Continual focus on delivering high quality solutions including effective solution maintainability
  • Regular ‘delivery heat beat’ provides frequent guaranteed on time delivery of fit-for-purpose working solutions