How Agile Methodology Can Streamline Infrastructure Projects

Infrastructure is one of the critical components of a healthy economy, though few people realise just how significant it is. To put it into numbers, a 10 percent rise in infrastructure assets improves a nation’s GDP by one percentage point. Nations that have poor infrastructure suffer when undertaking other large projects, because the roads are too narrow, there aren’t enough railways or ports are poorly designed and under-utilised.

And yet, for all their importance, large infrastructure projects often run into problems with risk management. Too often, the complexity and the scale of the projects mean that it’s difficult to plan for rapid changes in conditions, or the scope of the project.

This means that it is important for large construction and infrastructure projects to be able to adapt an agile project management approach, in order to meet unforeseen challenges that might emerge and keep projects on track.

How does agile working help construction and infrastructure project management?

Agile working originated as a technology term, used by software developers. But the reality is that the agile method can apply incredibly well to construction and infrastructure projects.

Consider one of the principle strengths of the agile methodology: agile projects are flexible in the way they deliver through iteration and increments. When designing a project around an agile methodology, you break it down into small pieces, and then release those deliverables after determining the order or priority. In this way, the final project “grows” in an organic manner, from its foundations through to finalised solution, rather than trying to deliver everything in one go.

Learn how Amazon and Spotify used agile methodology to improve the way they work

3 ways agile working helps infrastructure project management

1. Stay on track

Because the project is broken into components, approaching construction from an agile perspective also helps to keep budgets and timelines on track. Part of the agile methodology is constant feedback and assessment, while monitoring each arm of the project in real time. Project managers will regularly review priorities and status updates for each component of the project, and this means that problems can be addressed early, making the solution less expensive.

Because projects are broken down into manageable portions, there’s more opportunity to manage any problems that may appear. This helps to keep the project on schedule, with one part of the work only commencing when a previous component had been finished, reducing the risk of inefficient bottlenecking.

2. Dealing with turnover

Another issue that large projects often face is replacing staff who leave. Handovers and bringing new team members up to speed can be a time-consuming process, which is rarely accounted for in planning sessions. Under an agile working framework, someone who joins midway through a project would only need to understand the component currently underway, which is easier and less risky.

3. Visualisation

A crucial benefit of agile methodologies is that they help the entire team visualise the project, and their role in it. That visualisation can help keep a project focused, instead of a “pie in the sky” vision that can only can lead to confusion and poor discipline, as individuals on the team apply their own ideas.

Skilling up a team to approach project design through the agile methodology is not an onerous process. It’s highly beneficial to have your project leader trained in the art of agile project management, so they have access to the in-depth knowledge and advanced techniques to successfully use agile to manage large-scale projects.

Want to become qualified in the world’s leading framework and certification for Agile Project Management? Sign up to our AgilePM® Foundation / Practitioner Combined course

ALC Training offers courses in Agile methodology that your staff will love. Not only will it provide them cross-disciplinary skills that will help them in their own careers, but it’s a fast learning process that provides the modern construction organisation a considerable competitive advantage at tender, allowing them to provide their government or enterprise clients with clear, precise, and reliably costed project design documents.

Become a certified Agile Project manager

For more information on how the agile methodology can benefit companies from outside the technology space, contact ALC Training on 1300 762 592 or browse our industry leading agile project management courses such as our comprehensive Prince2 course.