Project Management Assignment Exploring The Concepts, Methods & Tools Of Agile
“The Philosopher’s product is his life” - Friedrich Nietzsche
Manifestos communicate beliefs, aims, intentions and views - they are a philosophy rather than a method. The Agile Manifesto is the philosophy from which Agile methods and frameworks have emerged.
This project management assignment is about ensuring that we understand the thinking or the ‘what’ of Agile in preparation for learning the methods, practices, tools, and techniques associated with the ‘how’ of Agile.
You will be required to prepare a report covering the following concepts and areas of knowledge:
- The Agile Manifesto
- The Case for Agile
- Agile vs. Waterfall
- A Comparison of Scrum and Kanban
- The influence of Lean on the Agile philosophy and practices
Your report will require 6 boxes, each one devoted to covering a specific knowledge area:
- Box 1 - VUCA.
- Briefly describe an example of a current commonly known challenge that you believe aligns with one of the dimensions of VUCA. Ensure that you include a reference for your reader to a source that describes the challenge.
- Select one dimension - either volatility, uncertainty, complexity or ambiguity - that you believe best explains this current challenge and characteristics that make this the case?
- Looking at the recommended approach for this condition, how do you think Agile will help to achieve that approach?
- Box 2 - Authors of the Agile Manifesto.
- Add a picture of the author of your choice ensuring that you both caption and reference the image with the correct technique.
- With which Agile framework are they aligned?
- Briefly describe the framework in 2-3 sentences.
- What do you believe the framework to which they are aligned is best suited?
- Box 3 - Agile vs Waterfall.
- Box 4 - The Case for Agile.
- Box 5 - A comparison of Scrum and Kanban.
- Kanban and Scrum are compatible Agile techniques which have both similarities and differences. Identify what you believe to be the most important similarity and most important difference between the two techniques and explain why you think that this is the case. Ensure that you back your position with evidence from quality sources.
- Explain which of these techniques - Scrum or Kanban - is better suited as a technique for project managing your group assessment project. Give three reasons for why you believe this and back your reasoning with evidence.
- Box 6 - The Influence of Lean on Agile philosophy and practice.
It is recognised that Lean philosophy has influenced both Agile philosophy and practices. Select two lean philosophies and draw a two-sided mind map to illustrate the concept of how Lean philosophies have given rise to principles in the Agile Manifesto and how these have in turn influenced the emergence of certain Agile practices. Use the mind map to show the relationships from point of origin to practices in use.
Consider the acronym VUCA:
Select one of the following authors of the Agile Manifesto and do some desktop research using current quality resources so that you can answer the questions below:
Kent Beck | Ken Schwaber | Jeff Sutherland | Jim Highsmith | Alistair Cockburn
What, in your opinion is the biggest difference between Agile and Waterfall? Include evidence from two sources to back your claim.
Consider the ‘triple constraint’ of Project Management, also known as the ‘Iron Triangle’. Several cases and examples have been included in the essential resources for this subject which illustrate how Agile can be beneficial for projects. Select one of these cases - or source a case of your own selection- and discuss the impact of an Agile approach on one of the triple constraints and on quality. Ensure that you clearly identify the case to which you are referring in your response with appropriate referencing techniques.
Box 1 – VUCA
?As evident in this project management assignment, the current business environment is experiencing the incorporation of wide range of technologies. These technologies are changing the ways the organisations and employees are required to handle and manage the roles and responsibilities. The autonomy of business systems due to the introduction of technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud computing, machine learning, Big Data analytics and so on the work demand and work load are changing. It has been found that the inclusion of technologies and automation of the processes are increasing the mental work for the employees and also compelling them to focus on developing new competencies (Leita?o Joa?o et al., 2020). This workplace challenge for the employees is aligned with the complexity dimension of the VUCA framework.
The complexity dimension of the VUCA framework is better aligned with this situation because majority of information about technologies including the AI algorithms, functionality of machine learning and others are not available to the employees and this is making the process overwhelming for the workforce (Adadi & Berrada, 2018). Increasing work demand, necessity to learn new skills and technical knowledge and adapting with new work regimes are making the goals and responsibilities more challenging for the employees. The incorporation of technologies within the workplaces has made it more dynamic and has enhances the stress on the organisational members to cope with the frequent modifications and adaptations.
Agile helps in the development and implementation of teams within people-centered working environment. Such environment drives rapid learning and quick decision making which in turn supports effective value and opportunity creation. Agile therefore is the ultimate solution for assisting the employees by maintaining a people-centered culture and adding velocity, adaptability and stability to the process of achieving competitive advantages (Alexandra, 2017).
Box 2 - Authors of the Agile Manifesto
Figure 1: Jim Highsmith
Source: Thoughtworks, (2021)
Jim Highsmith is recognised as the primary developer of 'Adaptive Software Development' (ASD) which is an agile method facilitating proper understanding of uncertainties and coping with the same. ASD includes an iterative cycle for handling complex software projects. The three phases of the iterative cycle are - speculation, collaboration and learning. Speculation phase indicates the planning, collaboration is associated with attaining cooperation and collective working between the development teams, developers and the end-users as well (Matti et al., 2013). The learning phase indicates continuous learning and understanding throughout the project avoiding concentrating on a rigid plan. This particular agile method is best suited for handling the effective development of complex software elements so that transparency can be provided to the end-users. In this manner the users will be able to properly understand the utilisation of the software and rely effectively on the same.
Box 3 - Agile vs Waterfall
The significant difference exists in the context of planning between Agile and Waterfall project management methodologies. According to Marian, Marinela and Bogdan (2014), in Waterfall or classical project management planning is holistic, done in advance, is stable and is based on long-term perspective. In case of Agile project management, the planning is step-by-step, flexible, incremental, continuous and is based on short-term perspective. In Waterfall methodology the initial plan is regarded as the backbone of the entire project and in Agile methodology it is considered as the working process carried out through effective communication, proper feedback cycles and better flexibility. Similar findings can be obtained from the discussions provided by Marian et al. (2017). Waterfall methodology is pre-defined while Agile methodology is adaptive in nature. The former is linear and the requirements are completely defined and identified at the planning stage. Everything is set out before the start of a specific project. The latter is dependent on iterations, testing and adaptations. In this case each phase or step is executed, tested and improved following a series of iterative processes or tasks. There is continuous development going on in the process of agile. In other words, it can be stated that agile projects adapt as per the needs of the situation and Waterfall projects follow a pre-planned regime.
Box 4 - The Case for Agile
The triple constraint of project management is regarded as time, scope and cost. Time refers to the project deadline or schedule, scope refers to the goals, functions, features and deliverables of the project and cost refers to the project budget. The discussions have focused on analysing the impact of agile approach on the triple constraint and quality of project management. The case of Transport Management Centre (TMC) based in New South Wales, Australia has been taken into consideration for the analysis. TMC is relying on agile approaches since 2011 but before that had experienced several cases of project budget exceeding by implementing waterfall methodology. TMC was finding it challenging to have their subject matter expert focus on the waterfall projects. Since the expert was not able to give time to the project and also the development team was working remotely thus the projects were not getting completed with the expected budget. There was lack of satisfaction with the application of classical project management method. Therefore, TMC shifted to Agile project management approach to ensure maintenance of the project management constraints. The first project in relation to which TMC relied on agile project methodology was improvement of Fault Management System. They used a mentorship approach to deal with their first project. The project team included experienced agile individuals as well as staff of the company. The project got successfully delivered within three months. As usual the subject matter expert was not able to give time to the project in the initial phases. Later after reviewing the deliverables when the expert stated for some additional requirements, it was easily met through the application of agile approach. The end results were satisfactory and met the project deadline (Novak, 2019).
From the above case study, it can be seen that application of an agile approach helped the company is completing its project successfully within the set deadline. The time did not turn out to be a constraint since agile methodology is adaptive in nature. So, it easily helped in incorporating the additional requirements later placed by the expert. As a result of this the end product met the satisfaction level of both the expert and the project team. The attainment of utmost satisfaction highlighted the fulfilment of the expected project quality.
Box 5 - A comparison of Scrum and Kanban
Scrum and Kanban are both recognised as effective methodologies and mostly used in managing software developmental projects. The techniques have both similarities and differences associated with their processes of dealing with projects. According to Olena (2020), differences exist within the methods under Scrum and Kanban. There are particularly three role presents within the Scrum framework - product owner, scrum master and development team. Four artefacts are used for handling the roles and they include, sprint backlog, product backlog, definitions and product increment. Five activities are needed to be completed by the scrum team in order to achieve the project goals. The activities are refinement of the backlogs, planning of the sprint, scrum meeting on a daily basis, sprint retrospective and sprint reviews. Considering all these phases and requirements scrum is regarded as a prescriptive method. Kanban on the other hand is less detailed when compared with Scrum. Kanban methods are less rigid in comparison to those under Scrum. Though this agile technique is less rigid than Scrum but as per Olena (2020) it helps in dealing with various challenges which Scrum has failed to acknowledge. Scrum methods can be more overwhelming for project teams than the Kanban methods. Apart from the difference similarities indicate that both agile approaches are dependent on the formulation and implementation of self-organised teams.
The project requirements are needed to be taken into account for before making the decision regarding the application of Scrum or Kanban. The identification of the requirements will help in justifying the incorporation of a particular technique. The group assessment project is required to be completed within a few months and involve few rules or conditions. The project needs flexibility and close collaboration between the owner and the development team. Keeping these requirements in mind the Kanban methods will be more suitable for the group project than the Scrum methods. Scrum requires more details and documentation and is meant for the handling of heavy-weight projects. It will require more time for the completion of the project. Thus, this technique is suitable for long-duration projects. The group project is a short-term activity and Kanban is effective for completing the project (Yolfaris & Jorge Sepu?lveda, 2018). Scrum as per the findings is rigid and flexibility is needed for the group assessment project so that changes in steps can be carried out during the developmental process easily without consuming more time. Kanban will help in incorporating the changes without consuming much since less documentation is required. Kanban is effective for maintaining close collaboration between owner and teams when compared with Scrum. Considering all these three reasons Kanban is found to be the most suitable for the completion of the group assessment project in comparison to Scrum.
Box 6 - The Influence of Lean on Agile philosophy and practice
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Yolfaris, F. A., & Jorge Sepu?lveda C. (2018). Scrum, kanban and canvas in the commercial, industrial and educational sector - a literature review. Revista Antioquen?a De Las Ciencias Computacionales Y La Ingenieri?a De Software (Raccis), 1, 46–50. Retrieved October 7, 2021, from INSERT-MISSING-URL.