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Agile Principles Unleashed: Proven approaches for achieving real productivity gains in any organisation

Book Description

Agile Principles Unleashed: Proven approaches for achieving real productivity gains in any organisation

An essential tool for anyone whose job it is to deliver high-quality results on time and to budget!

In today's challenging economic climate, organisations faced with limited budgets and frozen staffing levels need proven, common-sense approaches to maximise their productivity. Agile approaches are business practices with a proven track record for helping organisations achieve greater efficiency, higher-quality outputs and increased customer satisfaction. They enable organisations to avoid the trappings of extensive up-front planning and up-front budget commitments by encouraging staff to regularly produce high-value business outputs; and by basing ongoing financial and resource commitments on the delivered outcomes. This focus on responsive planning based on tangible outputs is why Agile approaches have been successfully used in selected industries for over two decades.

Agile Principles Unleashed: Proven approaches for achieving real productivity gains in any organisation introduces every industry sector to the Agile approaches that have dramatically improved the IT, product development and manufacturing sectors over the past two decades.

The book clearly explains how the key principles of Agile approaches can be used to significantly increase productivity, quality and customer satisfaction in every business activity at your organisation. Written in non-technical language specifically for business professionals, this book is an essential tool for anyone whose job it is to deliver high-quality results on time and to budget.

Benefits of introducing Agile …

  • Meet deadlines Agile is designed to avoid the business risks involved in 'all-at-once' delivery, where a glitch during one stage of a project can throw the entire effort out of kilter, and result in serious delays in completion. This book shows how your organisation can accommodate inevitable internal and external changes through responsive planning. By using Agile approaches, staff members no longer have to wait several weeks or months for an updated plan to be agreed, but can quickly adjust their work in line with new business requirements and priorities. In this way, Agile will help you to avoid project overrun and to make good your commitments.
  • Minimise waste Agile approaches continually focus staff on the value stream, i.e. those activities that directly result in the highest business value generation for the organisation. This book shows you how to use business process optimisation, fixed deadlines and imminent timeframes to ensure that delivery teams do not fall into the common traps of overproduction, excess movement or under-utilised people.
  • Reduce costs If a project is heavily planned in advance, but its results are only available after the work has been completed, then flaws can be very expensive to put right. Instead, Agile approaches promote initial and ongoing stakeholder engagement, and take deliberate steps to encourage this feedback throughout the project. This means that business requirements can be confirmed (and problems detected) earlier on, and put right at a much lower cost to the organisation.
  • Improve communication No matter how precise the blueprint, it is never going to be a substitute for the close co-operation between people of different skills that is required to deliver successful outcomes. This book shows you how to achieve results that are aligned with business needs by keeping the delivery team in close contact with each other — and with the business areas — as the project progresses.
  • Empower the team Agile approaches allow each delivery team to determine the volume of high-priority work that they are capable of delivering within the individual phases of a project. In this way, delivery teams are given a sense of responsibility for completing the work required within the timeframe they have set for themselves, and feel motivated to deliver work of a quality that will continue to satisfy the stakeholders.
  • Proven results …

    Over the past two decades, Agile approaches have had a revolutionary impact on software development in many small- and medium-sized IT companies, as well as big corporations like Microsoft, Yahoo! and Google. Thanks to their focus on responsive planning, tangible outputs and waste management, Agile approaches have also led to equally dramatic improvements in the product development and manufacturing sectors.

    Agile Principles Unleashed shows how organisations in every industry sector can benefit by using proven, common-sense Agile approaches to deliver successful outcomes across a full range of business activities.

    Table of Contents

    1. Cover
    2. Title
    3. Copyright
    4. Foreword
    5. Preface
    6. About The Author
    7. Acknowledgements
    8. Contents
    9. Introduction
      1. Agile: an executive summary
    10. Section 1: A Case Study
      1. A Case Study: Traditional versus Agile Approaches
        1. Website building in a competitive marketplace
        2. Product marketing in a competitive marketplace
        3. Order fulfilment in a competitive marketplace
        4. But what about my organisation?
        5. The path forward
    11. Section 2: What you need to know about Agile
      1. Chapter 1: Agile in a Nutshell
        1. Understanding Agile principles
        2. Agile in action
        3. Popular Agile methods
        4. Who uses Agile?
      2. Chapter 2: Why is Agile So Effective?
        1. Management of controllable risk
        2. Minimal start-up costs
        3. Initial and ongoing returns
      3. Chapter 3: Why Don’t More Organisations Use Agile?
      4. Chapter 4: Agile Sounds Good, But …
    12. Section 3: 12 Agile Principles that will Revolutionise your Organisation
      1. Chapter 5: Responsive Planning
        1. Why every up-front plan fails
        2. Apply, Inspect, Adapt
        3. Defining (and refining) your goals
        4. Paving the pathway
        5. Empowering the delivery team
        6. The critical decision points
        7. When to walk away
        8. Publicising your success
      2. Chapter 6: Business-value-Driven Work
        1. Real productivity
        2. Dancing around the budget bonfire
        3. Over-delivery is wasted money
        4. Measuring cost/benefit
        5. Communicating actionable goals and priorities
        6. Drawing the line
        7. When priorities change
        8. It’s more than the baton
      3. Chapter 7: Hands-on Business Outputs
        1. The ‘try before you buy’ power position
        2. There is no substitute for reality
        3. Mitigating risk
        4. Continuous delivery of valuable outputs
        5. When the end does not justify the means
      4. Chapter 8: Real-time Customer Feedback
        1. Every audience is a customer
        2. The false security of market testing
        3. Intrinsic customer satisfaction
        4. The ‘expert by proxy’ myth
        5. Hiring a customer
        6. Using the customer to manage your budget
      5. Chapter 9: Immovable Deadlines
        1. Why you should never move a deadline
        2. The power of imminent time-frames
        3. Early delivery means early payback
        4. Setting the next deadline
      6. Chapter 10: Management by Self-motivation
        1. ‘I’m not going to do it – and you can’t make me’
        2. The top-down and bottom-up management myths
        3. The power of self-organised teams
        4. Giving the team a higher purpose
        5. In my estimation …
        6. Trusting the team
        7. Why shorter deadlines lead to happier employees
        8. The end of overtime
        9. Success breeds motivation
      7. Chapter 11: ‘Just-in-time’ Communication
        1. When was the last time you attended a valuable meeting?
        2. Redefining the corporate meeting
        3. What can you do in five minutes?
        4. Knowledge transfer through pairing, co-location and cross-training
        5. Documentation is no substitute
        6. The most valuable meeting of all
      8. Chapter 12: Immediate Status Tracking
        1. The end of the monthly report
        2. Measuring productivity by outputs
        3. Tracking overall progress in the requirements backlog
        4. Tracking day-to-day work in the delivery backlog
        5. The power of the ‘burndown’ chart
        6. The real-time executive dashboard
        7. Early and continuous delivery tracking
        8. Redefining risk management
      9. Chapter 13: Waste Management
        1. What is waste management?
        2. It’s what you don’t do that matters
        3. The power and peril of the value stream
        4. The waiting game
        5. Movement without added value
        6. Task-switching and time leakage
        7. Doing it right the first time
        8. ‘Just-in-time’ versus ‘just-in-case’
        9. Maximising your resources
      10. Chapter 14: Constantly Measurable Quality
        1. How much does quality cost?
        2. Weight control and the bathroom scale
        3. True quality requires a culture change
        4. The impact of high communication
        5. Quality by design
        6. Fit-for-purpose outputs
        7. The (almost) real-time measuring stick
        8. Exponential returns on your quality investment
      11. Chapter 15: Rear-view Mirror Checking
        1. Slight imperfections
        2. You only need to glance at the mirror …
        3. What a retrospective is – and is not
        4. The self-correcting team
        5. Changing your travel plans
      12. Chapter 16: Continuous Improvement
        1. Become better – or become obsolete
        2. One step back – five steps forward
        3. Regular review and adjustment
        4. Quantifying and measuring improvement
        5. Bringing it all together
    13. Section 4: Making Agile Work in your Organisation
      1. Chapter 17: Selecting Agile Approaches That Best Meet Your Needs
        1. The five fundamental questions
        2. The Agile approaches selection tool
      2. Chapter 18: Introducing Agile Within Your Organisation
        1. Dip your toes or dive right in?
        2. Choosing the right kick-off point
        3. Agile-by-stealth
        4. A shared understanding of Agile
      3. Chapter 19: Using Agile Tools
        1. Responsive budgeting
        2. Expected business-value calculation
        3. The requirements backlog
        4. The burndown chart
        5. The delivery backlog
      4. Chapter 20: Expanding the Use of Agile in Your Organisation
    14. Bibliography
      1. Agile resources
      2. Cost/benefit calculation resources
      3. Other industry resources
    15. Author’s Note on Agile Resources
    16. ITG Resources