The people on my course varied slightly, but the majority have been project managing for several years, and were all well trained in other project management methodologies such as Prince.
For me, the agile methodology makes complete sense, the main theme is to keep within budget and never compromise quality or compromise time. In the current financial market, when all we hear is doom and gloom, these ideas are exactly what you want when investing money into a new project. This definitely can be said for charities and not for profit, it has never been a more important time for the third sector to keep costs down.
For the others on my course, they found agile quite difficult to grasp. Agile project management uses an iterative process whereby requirements are submitted in stages and refined. It offers high levels of flexible and interactivity throughout the project lifecycle, which allows for adaptation to incorporate change or account for unexpected occurrences.
The above makes complete sense, however, for those used to working with Prince, the difficult part to grasp is the costing of a project. Cost is quoted at the begining of an agile PM project, (the same with any other) however as the low level detailed requirements are only captured later in the project, the cost is only based on the high level requirements. So the concern is that more functionality which could potentially equal more cost and resouces would come out in the low level requirements. However, as stated earlier Agile never compromises, cost/quality/time.
Prince employs a waterfall model of projects, where elements of the delivery flow sequentially into one another. This requires thorough and rigid planning and a detailed knowledge of the end product from the outset.
This can result in many problems for the client. The delivered project may have been what the client asked for however, the final project is not what the client needed and unfortunately its tough luck, this is what was discussed in the very first meeting 12 months ago. If changes are needed this is going cost and inevitably delay the project in going live which causes many problems for the client.
Our experience and my course re-affirmed this for me, that the client needs help in directing their project, questions need to be asked, why do you want this? is this going to be useful? etc Sometimes functionality is requested which can be costly and actually it’s no use to anyone. Using agile helps prevent these types of issues and the testing throughout ensure a delivered project with the required functionality.