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Is Your Team Right for Agile Management?

Agile management is quickly becoming a preferred method for project managers worldwide. Born out of innovative car manufacturing companies in Japan during the 70s and 80s[1], agile project management has two distinct versions: scrum and lean.[2] Both versions follow the same general principals, comprised of short bursts and recalibrations. This is a relatively contemporary method for project management, which generally follows the process of intense planning and steady production.

Utilized heavily by software development teams, scrum and lean agile project management is becoming increasingly popular, but is your team equipped to carry it out?

Scrum

Scrum agile planning has a number of distinct terms.

  1. Product Owner – Essentially the leader.
  2. Backlog – The list of tasks that needs to be done, in order of priority. If your team was launching a new sales program in a new country: the top of the list would be training members.
  3. The Spring – A predetermined time period where the team will work to knock tasks off the backlog.
  4. The Daily Scrum – The daily meeting to talk about updates
  5. Review – The recalibration [3]

The team creates a backlog, directed by the product owner, and then works through the backlog during sprints. After each spring, the team reviews and recalibrates to make sure they are staying effective and on target.

Lean

Lean project management was developed by Japanese car-maker Toyota, and first introduced to the Western world in a 1994 book by J.P. Womack, D.T. Jones, and D. Ross [4]. The idea works off 5 general principles that guide the process.

  1. Specify value
  2. Map the value stream. This is where the entire process is envisioned. Often, teams will use a Kanban board to map this process.
  3. Eliminate waste. By auditing the value stream, the project flow can be streamlined.
  4. Customer pulls flow. This principle says that value should not be delivered until the customer asks for it. A just-in-time system.
  5. Continuous improvement. This is the overarching value that attempts to make the process as, “lean,” as possible. [5]

Although both of these processes are popular for apparent reasons, namely cost-effectiveness and efficiency, the question becomes: does your team possess the traits to make agile management possible? It may be fine to dive head-first into a project hoping to reap the benefits of these processes, but without assessing your team, you may be doing invisible harm to yourselves.

Take the scrum form for example; a word that comes to mind is ambiguity. Because the team recalibrates after each sprint, the focus make change a few times as the process happens. If you have a team of people who don’t work well in the grey zone, this sort of management may make them less productive.

Does your team like steady work that doesn’t change week to week? The sprint function of the scrum, followed by a slower period of recalibration may leave them feeling like a fish jostled in the current.

You need to audit yourself as well. Are you a driving personality that sees business from 30,000 feet? You may have trouble mapping an entire value stream, and auditing it for waste. These sort of needs don’t agree with your behavioural profile.

The Predictive Index

At Predictive Success, we help companies conduct these sort of audits all the time. Before undertaking a large project, our Predictive Index Behavioural Assessment gives managers a data-backed snapshot of their team, and can help them answer the questions we posed above. As well, we use the data to conduct team-level analytics that can give a birds eye view of how the team will work.

To see if agile management can work for your team, contact Lauren Danes at ldanes@predictivesuccess.com or call (905) 430-9788 for five free assessments and team analytics.

Sources

[1] “Agile Project Management – the What and the Why.” APM. Accessed August 23, 2019. https://www.apm.org.uk/blog/agile-project-management-the-what-and-the-why/.

[2] “Agile Project Management – the What and the Why.” APM. Accessed August 23, 2019. https://www.apm.org.uk/blog/agile-project-management-the-what-and-the-why/.

[3] Littlefield, Andrew. “The Beginner’s Guide To Scrum And Agile Project Management.” Trello Blog – Organize anything, together. Accessed August 23, 2019. https://blog.trello.com/beginners-guide-scrum-and-agile-project-management.

[4] Womack, James P., Daniel T. Jones, and Daniel Roos. The Machine That Changed the World. New york: Free Press, 1990.

[5] Moujib, A. (2007). Lean project management. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2007—EMEA, Budapest, Hungary. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

 

 

 

 

 

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