agile project development
Corporate Culture

The Thrill of Victory or Agony of Defeat?

Terri Jensen
Terri Jensen
Holmes Murphy Corporate

Do you remember the ABC Wide World of Sports commercials of the 1970s that showed us “the thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat…the human drama of athletic competition”? Jim McKay’s voice aptly narrating 30-second commercials that highlighted some of them most beautiful and awful moments in sports. I think today’s version of this commercial can be applied to technology projects; the thrill of a successful software implementation where the whole company felt the transformation of a powerful solution or the defeat of a poorly implemented, expensive software product that still sits on the shelf unused.

All of us have been involved in a technology project at some point in our careers. Whether it’s a system upgrade, a conversion from one product to another, or the implementation of a new software application, we’ve felt the excitement of the possibilities of a new product and the disappointment of a product that doesn’t do what we want. Flash back through your technology past, and I’m sure you’ll see your version of “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” What differentiated the successful projects from the failures, and how can you learn from your past to stay on the winning path in future projects?

Information Technology (IT) professionals have moved to a new project management method to help business projects roll out smoothly. Agile methodology of project development was created to keep IT and the business aligned during the life of a project. It addresses the need to quickly adjust to changing business needs and requests. Project development no longer happens behind the magic curtain. Instead IT and the business collaborate, communicate, and coordinate to implement a product as quickly and effectively as possible. This collaboration starts on day one of the project and continues throughout.

The advantages of Agile development include:

  • Higher customer satisfaction. Quite simply, if the business is intimately involved in the daily decisions of product development, they end up with a product they will use.
  • Faster time to market. The concept of “good enough for now” encourages practical working solutions. A product doesn’t have to be perfect before implementation. It must simply perform the tasks that are most important to the business. Once a solution is rolled out, continuous improvement begins.
  • Focus on business value. Business users determine the value and priority of the product features. This helps them get what they want, when they need it. A high-priority feature will be rolled out in the first iteration of the product, while the “nice to haves” can wait for future release.

I recommend you talk with your IT leader about Agile project delivery. Is the IT department already using Agile? Has your business embraced it in partnership with IT? Will Agile help your organization develop products that enhance your customer and employee experience faster and more effectively?

Using Agile methodology for project management will build a closer bond between IT and the business. Your employees will help develop the right solutions at the right time that can scale as your business grows. And most importantly, when embraced by the business and IT for your projects, Agile will help you experience the thrill of victory rather than the agony of defeat.

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