Use the best of Agile for delivering software solutions, together with proven approaches for delivering complex projects
Bimodal and the Evolution of Agile
Bimodal approaches recognise Agile has evolved over the last five years into a proven approach for delivering projects and initiatives. Through user collaboration, rapid tangible delivery cycles focused on value, and a commitment to better ways of working, Agile has encompassed both an approach and a philosophy to provide much needed Business Agility. It values:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
Bimodal environments leverage Agile for all the benefits it provides in delivering initiatives, projects and organisational efficiencies, and retains traditional methods for those initiatives requiring a more sequential delivery approach.
In the Agile Manifesto, where the values are quoted, there are 12 key principles covering the need for customer satisfaction, welcoming change even later in the lifecycle, shorter self-contained development lifecycles with daily interaction, highly motivated people communicating face to face, self-reflecting, and importantly producing simple functioning software.
There is a culture within Agile that is highly motivating and leads to high-performing teams, if done well.
For some, however, Agile can be challenging. Some traditional project management environments and funding groups who depend on certainty are finding Agile approaches challenging.
Traditional schedules and spreadsheet-style controls are changing to a focus on visual boards, and stories (scope). Timebox sprints will see schedules simplified or replaced with boards and resource and cost plans set to match team capacity..
The finance group, especially those who manage annual budgets, will also find Agile difficult. Business cases for an exploratory project, or one where ‘finished’ is difficult to define, will challenge decision makers. Procurement will need to adjust to more flexible, less certain risk and reward structures than those offered by tradition fixed price agreements.
IT operations may also face challenges, demanding robust, fully documented solutions rather than a progressive, evolving product. The evolution of DevOps, or Continuous Delivery, is developing momentum to reduce handoff and increase , aligning Program Increment Planning (PI Planning) to Project and release Plans.
Integration – bringing together the best of both worlds
Agile practice has been expanded beyond teams to broader organisational capability through a number of models including the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). SAFe has helped to define structures such as value streams and release trains which has helped to standardise practice and terminology and provide integration to element traditionally considered program, portfolios and business as usual Activity. Our Bimodal model approach helps to bridge the gap for organisations that are scaling out their Agile delivery approach, but also need to maintain some degree of traditional Project and Program delivery.
Role clarity for Project Managers, Iteration Managers, Scrum Masters, Product Managers and lots of other roles becomes crucial as an organisation is transforming. Lines of reporting, governance approaches and funding models are all challenged by a movement to large scale Agile delivery. Our Governance page addresses some of the challenges and models.
Building client capability
Exco Partners has explored many aspects of Agile and the interaction with more traditional project delivery. We can share knowledge, provide advice, and also assist clients with their change journey.