"Without cultural change, adopting Agile will not succeed. Organisations need to move away from having 'a perfect operation but a dead patient' to an 'alive and kicking patient who may need another round of surgery'."
If cultural challenges can be overcome, Agile methodologies do provide a light both at the end of the tunnel, as well as along the way. Eltridge cites a comment from a business partner: "I can't believe I fought against this change. I wish we'd done it years ago. Having worked this way now, I can't imagine ever going back."
"The key benefit is delivering useful solutions in a shorter timeframe," Wilkinson says. "Delivering business value in quicker iterations, shortening time to market and above all adapting to changing requirements are the driving factors that realise benefits."
For the CIO, Agile methods provide more transparency into the business benefits delivered and the performance of the individuals and teams, Eltridge says.
"The demand-management practices, and the principle of constraining work in progress, deliver both business and IT with a predictable pace, easier workforce management, and sustainable throughput without the waste in a start/stop workflow of traditional big projects," he says.
"A development team can be kept continuously productive rather than stood down when the phase needs more funding or approval to proceed.
"Both business and IT find themselves learning a more effective way of working, and more often than not, they find that they enjoy it."
For Agile and similar project management methodologies to work, the key is getting all parties to pull together. There should be cooperation, consultation and communication, rather than competition and conflict.
As Wilkinson puts it, "There can be no 'my end of the boat is not sinking' in a successful Agile team."
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