Leadership in Agile Project Management

In 2001, the term agile programming was stamped by the advocates of XP, DSDM, SCRUM, Adaptive Software Development, Crystal, and other programming methods. Hence, ‘The Agile Alliance’ was created, a manifesto for Agile Software Development from a group who found mutual ground in software development. There are various set of values which are elegantly designed by an organization of autonomous thinkers ascribe. The alliance gives a higher priority to interactions and individuals. For example, more priority is given on working software over extensive documentation, customer affiliation over agreement negotiation, etc. There were certain Agile Principles which were discussed upon and set up in the manifesto. To promote sustainable development, agile processes are important. Constant pace should be maintained by the developers, users, and sponsors. 

There are certain conditions or parameters which are required to be fulfilled in order to attain the perfect environment for the agile project approach to succeed. There should always exist in a learning environment. Blame games should be avoided at any cost, a partnering approach with suppliers must be present; there should be room for change in the organization. An adaptive framework is always flexible. However, there can be high risks, and changes can be rapid for which there might arise a turbulent situation. In this situation, organizations that have strong leadership in agile projects and support them are likely to survive better as they can adapt to the new changes. An environment where mistakes are accepted and understood as a stepping stone for further development always has the audacity to grow and expand volumes. Superficial suppliers who work under an agreement may encompass certain clauses where certain situations covered might give rise to accusations or blame game. 

There are several attitudes of leadership, each different from each other and beneficial in some ways or others. There are usually four types of leaders, according to the Barrera model, i.e., Relater, Social helper, Thinker, Director. These styles are highly compatible with each other. A leader should be able to visualize the vision of the project before projecting any thoughts for his co-workers. Daily activities must include planning so that risks are identified, and these will act as regular checkpoints. The most important/critical region to oversee for the leadership team is to maintain the vision for the project. The nature of agile projects is such that it calls for delivery of project outcomes very frequently. 

However, with changing requirements, overall vision could be lost. The leadership team must concentrate on vision, risk mitigation, communication, removing roadblocks. Some believe that focusing on behavior might be very confusing as one might see himself/ herself in more than one of the spheres. One needs to adapt to the enhanced styles of others in order to be more compatible while interaction; it will best fit themselves while facing a particular situation involving different conditions. The best example can be visualized by imagining a Chameleon, which changes color according to the situation. One should be flexible in approaching different situations with different viewpoints and different perspectives, which can be helpful for the purpose. 

While utmost care should be taken that one’s philosophy, ideology must remain the same, adaptive nature here implies understanding the ideologies of others, not necessarily changing one’s ideology. A business, after all, is maximized by modifying the scope at each phase. The framework should be wielded as a guide rather than commanding the process so that these projects can be both successful and agile in nature. There should include one team policy rather than several units to reduce or nullify the blame game or to bring the no-blame atmosphere. Strong relations are equally important in finding new partnering approaches and building a strong base for trust and value realization. 

Therefore, it is said that in an agile project, the relationship among people working under a banner must be extremely good. It is observed that organizations who give their consent to the generic agile tenets are more likely to foster the conditions that favor the success of an agile project. While empowering a team, the leadership should be crystal clear on what bases to explore and what planning must be implemented and prioritized. This helps in focusing on the reinforcement of vision, curtailing the risk factors involved, and making the project a successful one. 

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