We’re going agile! Note that it’s not with a capital A. And when we do it is with small steps. However, I think it is a step in the right direction.
How did this miracle happen? I can take some of the credit, but it’s mostly letting people absorb the theory until it looks real. It also helps that when there’s no single source. I could shout from morning till noon, and not get attention, but when someone else outside the organization says so, it helps. Plus, he can show successes, while I can cite theories.
It’s not going to be a revolution. The PM although being more open then before, is still skeptic. Also, it’s expected that some of the team will resist changes. But it’s more challenging this way.
The first step would be to take apart the current plan, and tear it to small iterations. This means taking long implementation features and separating them into workflows that fit into the iterations. This requires some planning up front. The size of the iterations will probably be 2 weeks.
More things that go into the plan: a buffer of support and analysis of current issues. The way the project is running today, we can’t just say to emails from our customers “we’ll discuss this in the next iteration”.
Still, the PM role here is to set the ground rules and stick to them. For instance, today if one of the developers says one day before the iteration: “I still have 3 more days to complete this” here’s what happens: the build will probably be delayed. In the meantime, the rest of the developers are rushing forward, since they are not waiting for that developer, as they have more things to do.
Instead, the default would be that the team will propose a solution, to meet the deadline. If not the feature is dropped from this build, but the time-box must be respected.
This is going to be interesting.