Agile practices for large project success

Introduction

Traditional Agile philosophy states that agile practices are best suited for single location, new development projects with small teams and complete customer participation. If we take this statement as is there are very few projects which can meet these conditions. But it has been seen that agile processes are being followed in other projects too successfully. If one has a look at the various project management blogs, the number of companies and consultants who have adapted agile processes for their projects is astronomical.

In this article we try to identify the agile practices which would result in success for large scale projects. Large scale projects generally are those projects which are:

  • Across multiple geographies involving project team from different organizations and cultures.
  • Teams comprising more than 50 members
  • Teams involved in developing business critical applications or those that would change the way of doing business
  • Projects involving legacy application integrations.

The agile best practices to follow for your large scale IT projects are:

  • Right Management: The usual way to adapt agile to large organizations is to utilize Scrum. Divide the project into multiple mini-projects and implement scrum of scrums. Having a representatives from the scrum teams for the Scrum of Scrums daily meetings helps in transparent communications and everyone on the project will be on the same page.
  • Multi site visibility: Utilizing technology to collaborate and manage with different development teams at diverse locations makes it possible to implement Agile at multi-site development projects. There are many freeware tools too available which can be effectively used to integrate the diverse teams and their project tasks.
  • Offshore project management: Agile can effectively deployed even in offshore organizations which follow CMMi tenets. One can use the different online applications for continuous integration, online meeting centres, etc for seamless collaboration across multi-location teams.
  • High volume and visibility application support: It might come as a surprise to us, but companies such as Google use agile processes. In cases like this where the application should be able to withstand high volume and visibility agile can followed provided the management mandate is clear for the agile teams to follow. There should be complete commitment and belief in the model.
  • Tools for productivity enhancement: For the success of any agile product, tools are an essential element. Utilizing the best fit tools for development and productivity enhancement can enhance the ease of following the agile processes for success.

In the recent times there has been a steady increase in the number of tools and applications designed to make the agile processes a success in case of large projects too.

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Radhika Chittoor

15 years of experience in presales and marketing. I have helped companies set up their sales & marketing teams.