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White Paper

Successful Agile Project Management: Practical Demand Management for Optimizing Cost, Time and Quality

 

A core aspect of Agile project management is Demand Management (DM), which covers planning, managing, handling changes in and forecasting testing requirements and resources. DM is a make-or-break component of Agile project success.

 

This paper identifies four key aspects that Quality Assurance (QA) heads and managers should drill down to when planning DM to ensure Agile project success.

Despite its strategic importance, IT managers are yet to effectively embrace DM. DM metrics, trends, and predictions are currently hard to come by.

Three common misconceptions about Demand Management

  • DM isn’t needed in the Agile process
  • DM doesn’t work for fixed-deadline projects
  • Agile teams don’t plan their work, far less DM

Four tenets of Demand Management
It is important to remember the following tenets when planning an effective approach to DM:

  • DM focuses on testing and assurance
  • It is user story-based
  • DM is responsive
  • Collaboration is intrinsic to DM

Four key aspects for successful Demand Management
The following points Quality Assurance (QA) heads and managers should consider when planning DM to ensure Agile project success are:

  • DM team roles and responsibilities
  • The steps needed for effective operationalization of DM
  • Recommended tools and processes that can help QA managers set up efficient DM infrastructure
  • Checks and measures to sidestep common pitfalls

A key challenge QA managers face in Agile implementations is managing the QA demand – handling work requests or user stories that pour in seemingly uncontrollably. What often complicates matters is the fact that requirements often span geographies or lines of business.

Sometimes, two different but similar work requests reach the testing team and need to be converged in a timely manner. The key aspects of DM can help define and decide on an appropriate delivery approach and drive, assist, and support effective QA execution.

Effective DM will empower IT managers to respond to issues as they arise, throughout the course of the project or releases. It will also ensure necessary changes are made to meet demands at the right time, consequently saving on resources. What’s more, DM will ensure successful delivery of projects on time and within budget, thus leading to proper annual and quarterly planning, forecasting, budgeting and resourcing.