I detailed in my previous article the 5 main failure factors identified in the agile methods for digital development projects:

 

  1. Resistance to change
  2. Lack of availability of the client
  3. Bad relationship management of the team
  4. Lack of respect for iterations
  5. Lack of software tools

 


Experience shows us that the main point of friction degrading the quality of the transition to agility is human.

As in the entire chain of responsibility, it is mainly the manager who is decided to move to Agility who bears the risk of failure of his team.

The management of Agility

In Agility, the Product Owner is responsible for the prioritization of tasks because he is the only one able to decide if the value of a point to be developed is more important than the others.

He is usually an employee of the customer. He knows his business, his company, the actors involved and the goal to achieve. This situation is well controlled in large companies but in the case of SMEs or VSEs the customer is usually the boss or one of the executives running the company.

The Project Owner

In Zappik method, he is called "Project Owner" because he participates little in the development of the product but flies over the whole project to take the main decisions and handles the budget.

He knows his business but has neither the time nor the skills to take control of his project

The role of assessing the needs of the various actors involved and who must benefit from the project is carried out by a Project Maestro.

In Agility this group of actors is called stakeholder community. It is usually composed of members of the company having an interest and expressing needs for the realization of the project, but also of its customers, end-users, partners etc.

The members of this community have extremely varied profiles ranging from the marketing manager, the field salesmen who need certain functionalities, the CIO who wants to interface the data of his information system with the future application, or the end user who wants to be able to order in three clicks.

In most of the cases we have a PO that does not have the time but who knows his business and needs, and service providers who have to try somehow to understand this PO that has little time to devote to them.

The Project Maestro

 

The profile of Project Maestro is that of the one-man-band.

He is actually a Business Analyst who understands the client's business needs and who knows how to translate them into clear and understandable processes to the development team.

When the Project Owner is the client (the client company), he is the manager dedicated to carrying out the project. This is where things get complicated.

The lack of availability of managers

If you are a business manager, you implicitly have an overloaded schedule with a multitude of tasks and decisions to take.

How would you spend 100% of your Project Owner role on top of your current duties?

There is only one answer to this question: to delegate.

A plan - Delegate internally

You do not have the time, so the first reflex is to delegate the project management functions to your immediate collaborators.

  1. Your employees have the available time and skills.
    To my knowledge, this case does not exist or must be very rare.
  2. Therefore, you'll have to recruit.

That said, recruitment means deadlines and consequent budget that are imputed necessarily to the project. Your project will cost more and you will postpone the initial deadlines...

 

Supporting capacity

To effectively manage your project, you will need software tools and specific training. Thanks to this training and the tools allowing you to manage the most important points of the project, you will be able to serenely ensure its success.

Do you really have these resources to support the project?

This question is fundamental. If you are at your first project in Agility the answer is most definitely NO.

 

Don't go further, your project has very little chance of succeeding properly.

 

The only wise decision is to postpone the start of the development, take the required time to train yourself and your team, and implement the ad hoc software solution.

Conclusion

The transition to Agility internally is only possible in good conditions as part of a plan established several months in advance and with a strong desire at the highest level of the company to devote the required budgets.

Otherwise, the unfortunate manager who risks it is likely to lose some feathers because failure or setbacks encountered will be charged to him.

B plan - Delegate externally

Déléguer en externe la réalisation Agile du projet est le seul moyen efficace pour le réaliser sans perturber le fonctionnement habituel de l’entreprise.

Le Proxy est un rôle qui peut s'avérer essentiel.

The Proxy

This function consists in positioning a pivot role between the Product Owner (the client) who knows perfectly his business and the priorities of his company, the users' community ("stakeholder community") and the Project Maestro.

The Project Owner is solicited only to define the priority points.

The needs of the users' community are identified by the Proxy, which is in charge of coordinating the transmission to the Project Maestro and validating the acceptance tests.

The company manager having the Project Owner role is extremely relieved of the day-to-day management tasks and does not need to spend the time usually required to take his role.

In the ZAPPIK method, the proxy has the same simplified software interface as the PO. There is no training time to plan.

But what's about the development team?

The development team

If the internal development team is not trained for Agility and the use of software tools, there must be a latency period to provide for having the time to train the developers.

The resistance to change and the engagement of the team by an external Manager is very often problematic and is an important factor of friction.

The solution is to let the Project Maestro work externally with his team, even if it means integrating a volunteer who is in charge to facilitate the conversion to agility into the company's development team.

He becomes an ambassador of Agility and slowly converts his colleagues during the development of the project.

Conclusion

The outsourcing of Agility is much easier with ZAPPIK method, when a Project Maestro can recruit an external team dedicated to the project. The customer's resistance to change is then bypassed. Adding a proxy increases also the efficiency of this process.

The project is likely to go smoothly without unduly mobilizing the manager of the company whose role of Project Owner is reduced to the essentials: prioritization of business needs and decision making to the features to be developed.

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ZAPPIK: FINALLY THE SUCCESS OF YOUR DIGITAL PROJECTS

 

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The orchestration of external resources is the key.

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