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What Is Agile And How Can It Be Applied To Non-Software Projects

Agile was created in the software development World where developers need to be able to react quickly to changing requirements.

It’s primary measure was to delivery of working software in this environment.

Due to the success that it has achieved, other projects such as Mechanical or Electrical designs have tried to adopt the practices such as Scrum, one or two week sprints, burndown charts, and have similarly avoided (Or worse) disregarded other tools such as Kanban and Gantt to the trash

In many cases these Agile teams did not achieve the results that were anticipated. This was  principally due to them blindly copying the principles and activities used by Agile software development teams and not establishing a set of rules that comply with what Agile is in the context of the project being worked on.

For example, one of the principles states that we should welcome changing requirements, even late in the development cycle.

Whilst this may have merit, it must be considered carefully since depending on the type of change it may require going back to the drawing board (AKA start ) thus causing a potentially catastrophic project delay.

Independent research performed by both Motorola and Nokia in the late 1990s and early 2000s identified uncontrolled project churn (Change) as the single biggest reason for late projects.

In order to adopt Agile one need to understand that it is a set of values and principles that a development team buy into. The rules that they choose to use are specific to that project or type of project.

If you use this as the basis of an Agile project then you have a good chance that if you do adopt this methodology you will be successful irrespective of the type of product project that you are involved in.

There are a great set of videos produced by Mark Stead on Youtube that help clarify. These are centred around software development but if you watch these in the context of what I have just described then I hope it should be clearer to you.

I suggest that you start with the following:

“What Is Agile” can be viewed here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9QbYZh1YXY

“Agile User Stories”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apOvF9NVguA

Mark Shead’s Youtube channel is https://www.youtube.com/user/markwshead/videos

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