Welcome!

Industrial IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Maria C. Horton, Liz McMillan, Ed Featherston, Stackify Blog

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, ColdFusion, Microsoft Cloud, Machine Learning

Microservices Expo: Article

Finding the Right Blend: Sometimes Pure Agile Isn’t the Way to Go

Agile project managers need to remind their stakeholders & teams that agility is the very opposite of rigidity & inflexibility

Only a fraction of organizations will migrate to Agile methods completely and for all projects. The reality is, many types of projects are not well suited for Agile approaches for a variety of reasons. Some organizations run multiple projects across many departments and corporate entities, many of which may not have the inclination or resources to manage in an Agile manner. Others have made significant investments in traditional or proprietary methodologies and are not prepared to simply abandon them. Further, many companies are global, with development resources located around the world, in different time zones, with varying local corporate cultures and working styles.

For all of these reasons, Agile project managers need to be prepared to work in cooperation with non-Agile project managers, teams that employ traditional methods, and organizations that have resources scattered around the globe.

How the Blended Approach Works
Agile adoption doesn't need to be an all-or-nothing, either-or scenario. The very incremental, iterative concepts that Agile project managers (PMs) apply to their projects can also be applied to Agile adoption. For instance, teams that are migrating to Agile methods can adopt certain elements, such as user stories in place of requirements definition, and incremental, rather than "big-bang" planning, as ways to ease into the Agile migration. While these incremental methods will not offer all of the advantages of the total Agile environment, they have the advantage of being less disruptive to existing approaches and offer "proof points" to reassure managers and teams that these methods can deliver the expected results.

Where Agile Fits
There are a number of areas where the Agile method can fit into a non-Agile project. Remember that the success of Agile methods revolves around the customer and the team. It is really about collaborating on all levels of the project. When they work in concert with one another, the project deliverables are much easier to complete. In your Waterfall or non-Agile project, look for places where you can easily adopt the top four key Agile methods:

  • Iterative delivery of customer value
  • Early and frequent customer feedback
  • Working in highly collaborative, multifunctional teams
  • Continuous inspection and adaptation

The preceding methods are based on the Agile Manifesto's value statement. The focus of the Manifesto is on the following:

  • Individuals and interactions
  • Working software
  • Customer collaboration
  • Responding to change

Take a look at your Waterfall project and identify where you can leverage the power of customer involvement. Typically, you will be able to modify your Communication Plan, Stakeholder Management Plan and Risk Management Plans with an Agile approach. This proactive approach will allow you to ensure that impediments, which delay delivery of product, are managed and eliminated.

Proof Points
Because Agile methods focus on the customer, team, iterative delivery, and continuous adaptation or change, it is recommended that Waterfall-focused organizations begin to test the waters of Agile by using "proof points." Proof points are areas within a Waterfall project where you can "prove" the power of Agile elements. Not only will this help move the project forward, but it also highlights the value of the Agile methodology and helps an organization transition from using 100% Waterfall approaches to Agile methods.

Good opportunities to show proof points are within the planning, requirements and team communications areas of a project.

  • Start by approaching the work on a project by not only planning the entire project, but also planning the specifics of how a certain work package can be delivered.
  • Implement the practice of user stories to define the requirements differently.
  • Leverage the power of daily stand-up meetings (five to 10 minute meetings in which everyone stands to keep things brief). This allows the project team members the opportunity to share work progress and possible obstacles that may lead to challenges in completing the work package.
  • Use daily stand-up meetings to empower the team members to have open communication, while supporting each other to eliminate impediments.

These areas begin to shift an organization's mindset on how projects can be delivered differently. They offer the opportunity for organizations to embrace Agile while in the comfort of traditional project management.

Not One Size Fits All
It's important to recognize that Agile project management is not a one-size-fits-all philosophy. In fact, a foundational concept of Agile is the idea that every project should be considered as a unique entity, and PMs must make determinations for each unique effort regarding the amount of documentation, process rigor and management oversight required. This adaptive approach to project management also enables the ability to interweave elements of traditional project management into an Agile approach.

There's no reason why an Agile approach cannot have a Gantt chart if managers or stakeholders request one - as long as it's made clear that the chart will only schedule out as far as the iteration or release currently being built. The knowledge areas, process areas and artifacts of traditional project management are still applicable in an Agile environment, as long as they are adapted to the core concepts of incremental, iterative design and change readiness. Agile methods are called "adaptive" for a reason. Agile project managers need to remind their stakeholders and teams that agility is the very opposite of rigidity and inflexibility. Both the substantive and human elements of change must be considered, and the transition should be made to an Agile environment that is appropriate to the culture and practices of an organization.

More Stories By Nancy Y. Nee

Nancy Y. Nee, PMP, CBAP, CSM, Vice President, Global Product Strategy, ESI International, guides clients in the development and implementation of learning programs customized to their specific needs. Her solutions reflect the insight of almost two decades of PM and BA experience in healthcare, information technology, financial services and energy.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abilit...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to maximize project result...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessio...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...