Agile Organization

Three Environments Where Agile Adds Value

Agile never works out in the long term without management support. Shrewd managers will understand the right applications for agile and will not just force it onto everything like putting ketchup on chocolate. In a post for Voices on Project Management, Lynda Bourne describes three environments where agile could particularly excel:

  1. Maintenance environments
  2. Contractual or legal environments
  3. Projects that lack a defined scope

Agile Habitats

In maintenance, agile can go straight to work without a lot of management overhead or having to be embedded in a program. Small teams can prioritize jobs, work in sprints, and use burndown charts to understand productivity trends. There is not a long of friction in what the teams can produce beyond what time allows.

About contractual/legal environments, Bourne says this:

… the scope of work is fixed (or at least subject to formal change control) and the management variables are efficiency and cost consequences. In this environment, with adaptation, a whole range of standard project management processes such as earned value can be applied to the oversight of project work and used for management reporting and project control. The agile teams still function in the traditional agile way, sizing the amount of work included in each sprint, producing usable outputs in short intervals and progressively building toward the completed project. The management challenge is achieving the specified scope within the approved time and cost parameters.

There can be several reasons why a project may not have a defined scope, and not all of them are blasphemous. For instance, Bourne notes that there are instances where time-to-market is the most major factor, and the scope (and its costs) will just end up taking whatever form is needed. Agile offers the flexibility to work with such circumstances, as long as value proposition stays a central focus of discussion.

For some more thoughts, you can view the original post here:

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