Companies are realizing the importance and benefit of shifting to the Agile project methodology, but it is easier said than done. With years of experience following the waterfall methodology, people are less apt for change. They ask themselves, "Why change something we are comfortable with and we know what to expect?"

I worked on a client project that was moving to the new Agile methodology. Everyone attended training before the project and was ready to begin. When the project started, the team was full of excitement and enthusiasm and they were ready to embrace the new methodology. As soon as things started to slip, people lost their enthusiasm and wanted to go back to their "comfort zone." This created the phenomenon known as "Scrummy Water," an Agile and Waterfall blended methodology. People started to put more structure around their deliverables outside of the Agile methodology since that worked for them during previous waterfall projects. The project team became confused and disjointed since the developers were leveraging Agile while the business and testers were leveraging Waterfall.

The best way to navigate the transformation to Agile is through proper training, change management, and consistent communication. The importance of training serves many purposes - it sets the expectations for the people involved in the transformation and aligns senior leadership with the project teams. It is crucial that senior leadership understands how Agile works for it to be successful. The training should be engaging and include several exercises that allow the trainees to run through sample situations so they can get first-hand experience on how Agile works.

While moving toward Agile, change management plays a key role. The significant paradigm shift creates a need for the company, including senior leadership, to understand the progress of the transformation and the expectations going forward. Often this step is overlooked and creates a bumpy road for the first few projects as the processes and understanding of Agile are being developed. A well-thought-out communication plan during the transition allows everyone to stay informed. The communication needs to be clear, concise, and frequent to help navigate the change in methodology.