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Applying Agile Principles to Transition Projects

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Agile approaches have become extremely popular in the software development world. Many organizations, besides software organizations, have also started applying agile principles in their product development and other processes. Agile approaches emphasize on iterative development, respect for human values, the collaboration between stakeholders as key aspects to develop products and on managing projects.

Transition projects have become very prominent as the internet has made it possible to run processes across multiple geographies. They offer many advantages, a few key ones being:

  1. Lower cost of operations
  2. Access to a larger talent pool across multiple
  3. Better service delivery window as work can happen 24 hours a day
  4. Faster service resolution time as work can happen 24 hours a day
  5. Better business continuity and resilience

However, transition projects come with significant challenges.

There is an extremely high likelihood of staff reduction from the transitioning country in many transition projects. Stakeholders are likely to be much more hostile due to local jobs and livelihood loss. So one needs to tread very carefully while executing transition projects.

Let’s take a look at Agile Manifesto, which is the birth-place of Agile Software development:

Manifesto for Agile Software Development

We are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work, we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.

We re-wrote the same for transition projects as below:

Manifesto for Agile Transition Management

We are uncovering better ways of transitioning processes by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work, we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working processes over comprehensive documentation
Stakeholder collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Processes and tools are important, but it is also important to collaborate with all stakeholders, especially those who are likely to get negatively impacted.

Before beginning the transition project, identify stakeholders who are likely to be negatively impacted. What is management’s plan to re-train or re-deploy them? If that is not an option, has management tried out-placement? Are these stakeholders taken into confidence about their future?

Working processes over comprehensive documentation

The intent should be to transition a process that will provide maximum learning. This is very similar to the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) concept in the agile world. Look for the process which can be transitioned with minimum impact to stakeholders and customers but will provide significant learning opportunities to the transitioning team. Leverage this learning and keep iterating on higher complexity processes.

Start with basic documentation and allow process executioners to add more details over a period.

Stakeholder collaboration over contract negotiation

Keep stakeholder interests in mind, especially those who may lose their jobs. If there is a clear plan for engaging the affected stakeholders, handling the transition process becomes a lot easier.

Responding to change over following a plan

Keep in mind stakeholder apprehensions are not constant. Be open to discussing and resolving stakeholder concerns as they surface during the transition project.

Trust these pointers will be quite helpful for all transition project managers.

Do comment on issues you are facing in your transition project, and our team of experts will be happy to suggest solutions for your problems.

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