Over the last few years, Agile methodologies, have become the most popular way of leading projects in the IT environment. Quick wins, immediate results, rapid identification of issues and upfront realization of benefits are just some of the values that Agile can bring to the table. Even though Agile techniques are usually associated with software development environment, Agile thinking was never intended to be restricted to IT type of environment.

To decode the idea of leveraging agility as a project management methodology, the main goal of its functionality is to simply identify overall objectives and deliverables, and to break them down into the smaller pieces. In essence, creating easily manageable smaller items. Being agile helps by providing immediate, attainable quick wins through the project delivery. This methodology also uses tracking, prioritization, assigning tasks and most importantly supports identification of opportunities for cross-functional collaboration. All of that contributes to efficient workflow.

In the last couple of months, I was lucky enough to experience and oversee agile processes when working on projects with the DevNet Specialization team. It was really a huge eye opener for me. Coming from the environment, where I really knew Project Management as the profession mostly through academia, I was quite reluctant towards Agile, thinking that each project needs to have very specified set of steps in order to be considered successful.

I have realized that Agile methodologies have a lot to offer. Two things crucial in my opinion are: a sense of constant progress and most importantly bringing the team together. Team members in this type of environment, do not only focus on delivery of the task, but also on sharing with others their knowledge and expertise. But… there is more to it!

Here’s how I would summarize (based on my own experience) what are key reasons for Agile environments being successful:

  1. The creation of bigger objectives that are broken down into smaller pieces creates a sense of dependability.
  2. The fact that more than one person is usually responsible for a delivery of an objective, thus team members have a sense of common responsibility.
  3. In most of the cases team members have a desire to cross collaborate to find the best solution in quicker, more efficient ways – this is key as all the skills or knowledge gaps can be easily fulfilled.
  4. By filling in those skill and knowledge gaps, people learn from each other. So, it is not only win for the group but also from individual standpoint! (yay!)

Before I wrap this up, I would like to mention one of my favorite quotes. Lao Tzu said, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” This wisdom is a key to completion of a successful project, and the way to embrace healthy, engaging, and supportive work environments. In this type of environment, teams will come together and do their best in order to make each initiative, project, or program successful.

To summarize – Agile thinking was never intended to be restricted to IT environments, and it never should be. DevNet embraces Agile as a culture, in this way creating a great sense of constant development, creation, and having a start-up vibe in the middle of a corporate organization. Using Agile methodologies, in my opinion, is a fantastic way of keeping employees engaged, curious, and creative. It also encourages them to collaborate more, which in turn creates stronger teams where each employee feels valued.

Are you interested in learning more about application of Agile methods within your teams? Are you looking for new ways to embrace cross-collaboration in your working environment through project management?

I would love to hear from you. Can you tell me how agile planning has helped you to drive your project or certain project objective? What other benefits in your opinion agile thinking brings to the table? Tell me about your successes achieved thanks to Agile methodology.

For any questions or comments, please let me know via the comments section below, or directly via LinkedIn or Twitter.


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Katarzyna Sotek

Program Manager - DevNet Specialization

Cisco DevNet