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Top 5 Principles in Becoming ‘Agile’ During Digital Transformation

“We want to take an Agile approach to delivering…” It’s a phrase heard frequently from organizations as they take on complex digital transformation implementations. Agile is a popular term that gets project teams excited. There’s excitement in the promise of a speedy delivery and return on investment, one that allows flexibility in scope, requirements and discovery. Unfortunately, all too often, that excitement fades quickly and is replaced by anxiety of promises unfulfilled.

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Why Agile?

According to the Agile Practice Guide, developed jointly by PMI and the Agile Alliance, and published in September 2017: “More mature organizations are increasingly prone to being highly complex and potentially slow to innovate, and lag behind in delivering new solutions to their customers…speed of change will continue to drive large organizations to adopt an Agile mindset in order to stay competitive and keep their existing market share”.

When an Agile project fails to deliver on promises, and benefits of the delivery framework are not realized, organization leaders can be quick to characterize Agile as a flawed idea. In many cases, after closer review, the cause of failed Agile projects is not the idea, but rather the execution. In fact, when Agile projects are executed with a solid understanding of Agile principles the results can be realized, as advertised.

Understanding Agile principles

Many organizations have grown familiar with the concept of Agile projects, which is certainly a good starting point for moving in the direction of project delivery. However, in order to take the next step of realizing the promises of successful Agile endeavors, one needs to understand the principles that support this framework.

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