For a project manager working with a trusted team, the switch from other working styles to an agile methodology can seem daunting. While older project management methodologies are on their way to being phased out, it doesn’t mean that becoming business agile has to come as a challenge. Here are a few ways to get your team primed and ready for the change and to make the transition as painless as possible.
Focus on Making a Smooth Transition
A change in project management methodologies doesn’t happen overnight. It’s important to understand this as you begin to think about switching to an agile methodology, since unrealistic expectations can often lead to disaster. Make a list of everything you and your team members will need to feel comfortable with the new project methodology and see that these needs are met. Does your team need new training? Does communication need to change? Do you need to bring in expertise specifically to walk you and your team through the transition? If so, make sure you’re on top of it.
Choose Proven Agile Methods
During the recent popularization of agile over older project methodology, there has been a corresponding influx of methods to keep up with the high demand. When choosing the best method for your team, be sure to choose one that’s tried and tested, like Scrum, Kanban or Lean. Agile is a relatively new project methodology and as such, many of the more recent agile methods will need to prove their success over a period of years before being considered as the gold standard.
When choosing a method, keep flexibility in mind. As a project manager, the last thing you want to is waste time on unnecessary tasks, and having a flexible system in place that lets you work across the organization with different methodologies will keep things moving smoothly and efficiently.
When working with agile methodology, it helps if team members are encouraged to be as honest as possible about their comfort level. For instance, with older, less tech-savvy team members, it might be a struggle not only to grasp the non-traditional, non-hierarchical approach that agile offers, but also to admit to this in front of other team members. Encourage your team members to schedule one-on-one time with you to make sure everyone is on the same page. This will also give you a chance to work more closely with team members who are struggling more. Double down on keeping communication lines open, preferably using chat platforms and cloud-based project management software like Clarizen.
Be an Expert
As a project manager, you’re the one guiding your team to success. That means that if you’re not 100% comfortable with newer project management methodologies, your team will be guaranteed to fall behind and possibly to lose faith in agile altogether. To prevent this, take the time to study agile until you’ve truly mastered it. If there’s anything you don’t understand, do the research. It’s up to you to become an expert on agile for when your team members come to you with a question or concern. If you find team members struggling to adapt, be sure to share with them some of the research that helped you along the way.