Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: XebiaLabs Blog, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, AppNeta 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.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Back in February of 2017, Andrew Clay Schafer of Pivotal tweeted the following: “seriously tho, the whole software industry is stuck on deployment when we desperately need architecture and telemetry.” Intrigue in a 140 characters. For me, I hear Andrew saying, “we’re jumping to step 5 before we’ve successfully completed steps 1-4.”
Cloud promises the agility required by today’s digital businesses. As organizations adopt cloud based infrastructures and services, their IT resources become increasingly dynamic and hybrid in nature. Managing these require modern IT operations and tools. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Raj Sundaram, Senior Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies, will discuss how to modernize your IT operations in order to proactively manage your hybrid cloud and IT environments. He will be sharing be...
Developers want to create better apps faster. Static clouds are giving way to scalable systems, with dynamic resource allocation and application monitoring. You won't hear that chant from users on any picket line, but helping developers to create better apps faster is the mission of Lee Atchison, principal cloud architect and advocate at New Relic Inc., based in San Francisco. His singular job is to understand and drive the industry in the areas of cloud architecture, microservices, scalability ...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
This recent research on cloud computing from the Register delves a little deeper than many of the "We're all adopting cloud!" surveys we've seen. They found that meaningful cloud adoption and the idea of the cloud-first enterprise are still not reality for many businesses. The Register's stats also show a more gradual cloud deployment trend over the past five years, not any sort of explosion. One important takeaway is that coherence across internal and external clouds is essential for IT right n...
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
To more closely examine the variety of ways in which IT departments around the world are integrating cloud services, and the effect hybrid IT has had on their organizations and IT job roles, SolarWinds recently released the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2017: Portrait of a Hybrid Organization. This annual study consists of survey-based research that explores significant trends, developments, and movements related to and directly affecting IT and IT professionals.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Is your application too difficult to manage? Do changes take dozens of developers hundreds of hours to execute, and frequently result in downtime across all your site’s functions? It sounds like you have a monolith! A monolith is one of the three main software architectures that define most applications. Whether you’ve intentionally set out to create a monolith or not, it’s worth at least weighing the pros and cons of the different architectural approaches and deciding which one makes the most s...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps Product and Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies, has been named co-conference chair of DevOps at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In large enterprises, environment provisioning and server provisioning account for a significant portion of the operations team's time. This often leaves users frustrated while they wait for these services. For instance, server provisioning can take several days and sometimes even weeks. At the same time, digital transformation means the need for server and environment provisioning is constantly growing. Organizations are adopting agile methodologies and software teams are increasing the speed ...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, will discuss how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He will discuss how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Software as a service (SaaS), one of the earliest and most successful cloud services, has reached mainstream status. According to Cisco, by 2019 more than four-fifths (83 percent) of all data center traffic will be based in the cloud, up from 65 percent today. The majority of this traffic will be applications. Businesses of all sizes are adopting a variety of SaaS-based services – everything from collaboration tools to mission-critical commerce-oriented applications. The rise in SaaS usage has m...
The proper isolation of resources is essential for multi-tenant environments. The traditional approach to isolate resources is, however, rather heavyweight. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Igor Drobiazko, co-founder of elastic.io, drew upon his own experience with operating a Docker container-based infrastructure on a large scale and present a lightweight solution for resource isolation using microservices. He also discussed the implementation of microservices in data and application integrat...
We'd all like to fulfill that "find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life" cliché. But in reality, every job (even if it's our dream job) comes with its downsides. For you, the constant fight against shadow IT might get on your last nerves. For your developer coworkers, infrastructure management is the roadblock that stands in the way of focusing on coding. As you watch more and more applications and processes move to the cloud, technology is coming to developers' rescue-most r...
2016 has been an amazing year for Docker and the container industry. We had 3 major releases of Docker engine this year , and tremendous increase in usage. The community has been following along and contributing amazing Docker resources to help you learn and get hands-on experience. Here’s some of the top read and viewed content for the year. Of course releases are always really popular, particularly when they fit requests we had from the community.
Even for the most seasoned IT pros, the cloud is complicated. It can be difficult just to wrap your head around the many terms and acronyms that make up the cloud dictionary-not to mention actually mastering the technology. Unfortunately, complicated cloud terms are often combined to the point that their meanings are lost in a sea of conflicting opinions. Two terms that are used interchangeably (but shouldn't be) are hybrid cloud and multicloud. If you want to be the cloud expert your company ne...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...