Agile techniques offer a new way to manage complex projects. They have developed to reflect the fact that businesses have changed over the past two decades. A more flexible approach to projects can deliver much better results. Projects can progress faster, with results more closely aligned to requirements. Training is a key part of this, sharing the experience needed to work effectively on Agile projects.
Introduce a common framework and terminology
Agile brings many benefits to projects and teams. To get the most out of Agile methods, the whole team needs to be using the same approach and speaking the same language. Agile Training can help bring team members up to speed with this. To implement Agility, an established framework is usually used. Scrum is the leading framework, but others are popular in certain areas.
Especially when people are new to the concepts of Agility, there are many new concepts and ways of working to understand. Agile teams are largely self-managing – very different from a traditional project team structure. The workload is managed very differently as well, with tasks prioritized and delivered through iterations with a focus on repeatedly producing usable increments of results rather than an “all in one” approach.
Training is not just relevant for direct Agile team members. Others who interact with the project team can also be trained in the proper terminology and methods relevant to them.
Realise the project benefits of Agility
Done right, Agile can deliver significant business benefits. Research from consultancy McKinsey has shown that Agile methods improve operational performance by 30% to 50%. Combined with other improvements, this can lead to a financial performance increase of 20% to 30%.
These are compelling results for any business. Of course, there will be variations depending on the nature of the business and the success of Agile implementation. Training to improve the understanding and embedding of Agility and any chosen framework is an important starting point, though.
Improve customer satisfaction
Delivering the best results to clients or stakeholders should be a top priority for every project. Agile methods are designed with this in mind. They allow customer requirements to change throughout the project, and the iterative approach to project progression enables demonstrable results to be regularly shared. Customers are much more involved and engaged. McKinsey’s Agile research showed that Agile transformation could improve customer satisfaction by 10% to 30%.
Projects are also delivered faster in general – another important consideration for customer satisfaction. A leading study by QSM Associates found that Agile projects were up to 50% faster to market
Improve team communication and productivity
All Agile frameworks introduce methods for improving team communication and collaboration. Scrum, for example, is very focused on this. It defines several key meetings and methods of communication for teams. This includes short, focussed daily meetings as well as regular reviews to improve the next iteration of delivery.
Better communication has important results. It helps prevent team members from becoming sidetracked and ensures that issues are raised and resolved quickly.
It will also engage people more, leading to more satisfied team members. McKinsey showed that team engagement was improved by as much as 20% to 30% under Agile methods. This is an important consideration when it comes to staff motivation and retention.
Train teams for specific roles
General and introductory training are useful when teams are starting out with Agile methods or the Scrum framework. There is a need also for longer-term and more advanced training as Agile use expands. There are also benefits in training other teams that interact with Agile teams and executives or project stakeholders. The more they are aware of Agile techniques and benefits, the smoother projects will progress.
Further training is available for more advanced Agile consultants and practitioners or those working on specific project types. As Agile projects move into areas such as larger, multiple team projects or software development, specific training inappropriate methods can be taken.
Training is particularly useful for the Scrum framework. This defines key roles for team members, including the Product Owner and Scrum Master. These roles are very different from traditional team manager or administration roles and are critical to the success of Scrum. Individuals taking on these roles can benefit greatly from training in what is expected and through experience dealing with common practical situations.