24.2 When to assess suitability
Agile suitability is assessed throughout the project (e.g. during retrospectives). It is specifically assessed during pre-project and again, in a more detailed way, during the initiation stage. The results of these assessments would appear in the project brief and the project initiation documentation (PID) in order to provide the project board with information to help shape its decision to authorize any work. It is important that the project board has enough awareness of agile in general, so that it can understand what the assessment is saying and make an informed decision about such things as potential areas of risk or benefit.
As an example, a situation may occur where a project is assessed as being ideal for a highly agile approach, but the project board is concerned that the approach is susceptible to certain risks (e.g. the customer is unable to sustain its involvement) and therefore requests that more governance is put in place in this area. Further to this example, another scenario may involve a project being assessed as ‘neutral’ or ‘average’ in terms of how much agile can be used, but the project board realizes that too much formal reporting has been put in place and the business case is not viable unless more frequent deliveries of benefits take place (e.g. it needs the earlier realization of benefits or earlier customer feedback, and therefore it is happy to receive reports in a much more informal manner or by other means).
These examples show that all the project team members need to understand the risks and benefits associated with agile in order to get the most from it. It is not something that is only relevant at the delivery level or to the project manager.