Many organizations are transitioning, or attempting to transition, to agile methods for data project delivery. This is sometimes easier said than done, as there are many ramifications for your team and your process.

Agile methods require breaking projects down into small steps and assessing progress frequently. Scoping projects at finer levels, with the intention to deliver to production more frequently, requires higher, not lower, organizational maturity. Daily meetings can be daunting when you’re always expected to have developments to report.

The thoroughness of waterfall planning is replaced with “shoot first, aim later.” In order to embrace agile project management, your stakeholders can’t always say “no.” They must be ready to find a way to say “yes.” Agile requires flexibility and creativity. Team members must still make progress in the face of discomfort.

Agile calls upon cross-functional skills as well. For example, the data integration specialist may need to do some business intelligence work if that is the hyperfocus of the current sprint.

New mindsets, new approaches, new work, and new terminology are the order of the day. To expect to quickly reach the highest maturity with agile is a pipe dream. Teams that are well-established with waterfall methods need to step back and go through forming, norming, and storming before they can expect to perform with agile.

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McKnight Consulting Group