When delivering with agile - how does assurance play its part?

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The new government ICT strategy details ‘Agile’ methodology as the way forward.

The Major Projects Association (MPA) ensures the integrated assurance of big central government projects. The MPA mandate all major projects to have an Integrated Assurance and Approval Plan (IAAP) and departments are required to submit an IAAP for each major project for validation by both the MPA and Treasury. 

In an agile environment: individuals, communication, collaboration, flexibility are king. Whereas: plans, processes, tools, documentation, contract negotiation are more conventional terms used in delivery methodologies. 

In terms of providing assurance to stakeholders in an agile environment how does our approach have to change? The traditional style seems at odds with the agile principles.

Certain types of assurance expect to see documentation, plans, review points and, in fact, so do some of our clients. What happens when supply-chain implement agile when the client’s expectations’ or commitments’ don’t ‘fit’ the agile model?

The agile methodology is changing our views on delivery - shifting our attention to smaller teams incrementally delivering quality products instead of the conventional lifecycle methodology.

We need to think about the role of assurance in agile environments as it is definitely NOT business-as-usual.

What about legalities and/or safety-critical issues when delivering with agile – how does assurance play its part?

Will assurance in an agile world mean: face-to-face conversations, better collaborations between acceptance (testers) and developers, developers and designers, suppliers and end-users?

Does integrated assurance in an agile world mean that we have to re-think the definition of ‘integration’ to one that stems back to basics where clients and delivery teams communicate and collaborate?

Where we have to redefine roles and responsibilities for delivery and end-users alike?

The APM Assurance SIG is looking to supplement its own understanding of best practice in the assurance of agile projects with case study examples and methodologies.

We plan to begin a forum debate on the subject in the near future that will lead to a joint event with the National Audit Office on the subject in the summer 2012.

If you wish to get involved or have any suggestions/queries, please feel free to contact the Assurance SIG>

Naveed Sheikh

Posted by Naveed Sheikh on 8th Mar 2012

About the Author
Over 20 years experience and expertise as a delivery and assurance executive gained within the Aerospace, Defence, IT and Management Consultancy markets

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