Agile in Construction

October 21, 2019

The Agile method as we know it evolved from IT software development, born from ‘The Agile Manifesto’ from 2001. In this article, we’ll look at the implementation, approach and challenges associated with Agile in Project Management.

Agile consists of four core values.

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

Agile can be applied in all stages of construction. During the Design phase, Agile will enable better customer involvement. The use of BIM (Building Information Modelling) will improve collaboration and better design development.

In the Planning phase, Agile methodology improves workflow with less stops and starts, quickly leading to the Execution stage. Here, the collaborative team has visual control, as well as allowing owner involvement during the build stage. Agile provides sharper planning as well as suitable measure of progress, resulting in learning and improvement at the Close.

Though Agile is beneficial in terms of Project Management, it can be difficult for a team to embrace new methodology. In order to achieve this, organisations need to build Agile techniques into their Project Management frameworks. Training, coaching and other support materials should be offered to teams for a better implementation process.

Fostering a sense of collaboration – which is at the core of Agile – will create a team environment more accepting of change. Project schedules may need to be flexible during this period while adjustment occurs.

As with any change, Agile does come with its challenges. Adopting any kind in change to an organisation can cause upset with middle management, as they may feel they have less control in the process. Support will need to be given during this period as they transition to a new Agile environment. New mindsets and techniques will assist in adapting to future environments, so the key here is to be patient.

For an in-depth look at Agile in Project Management, download the white paper by Harold Ainsworth.