One of the key words in today’s business world is agility. Due to a dynamic market environment with constantly changing customer needs, companies must think and act in an agile manner. In this context, agility refers to companies’ ability to react flexibly to changes in the market environment and to anticipate developments.
Waterfall method vs. agile project management
The desire for agile management of IT projects is older than the desire to align entire organizations with agile principles. Agile project management follows an iterative procedure, where all project phases are passed through in each iteration. Requirements are continuously recorded in agile project management. Accordingly, not all requirements need to be defined at the start of the project. Customers are constantly involved, giving feedback, and proposing incremental changes. Agile project management stands in contrast to the classic waterfall method. There, the requirements are only noted at the start of the project. The developed product is delivered to the customers at the end of the project, and they evaluate it.
The Anaplan way
The cloud-based planning solution provider Anaplan has defined its own project management standards to ensure the success of Anaplan projects. These standards, recorded as “the Anaplan way,” represent the company’s own interpretation of agile project management. The “Anaplan way” provides transparency for all project stakeholders and ensures flexible and dynamic project implementation. The agile management of Anaplan projects goes hand-in-hand with the flexible and rapid technical implementation of business cases in Anaplan.
The four cornerstones
The “Anaplan way” includes four cornerstones that form the foundation of each Anaplan implementation: Business process, data, model, and deployment. The process to be mapped in Anaplan must be coordinated and documented by the customer before the project begins. We recommend that you use the mapping of a business case in Anaplan as an opportunity to optimize or even realign the existing process. Another cornerstone is the data involved. Data quality must be ensured in this area, for this is an important success factor. Although data integration must also be mentioned here, we recommend that you focus on data quality first. Experience has shown that the amount of work required for data delivery should not be underestimated, so sufficient time must be allocated for this. The development of the Anaplan model is another cornerstone. First of all, the focus is on the launch pad training of the customer’s project stakeholders. Anaplan provides e-learning courses to help project participants get started in the Anaplan world. The project participants develop an Anaplan mindset, which facilitates the creation of user stories and generally ensures greater integration into the project. In addition, our certified valantic consultants train one or two “Anaplan model builders” on the customer side. Later on, these model builders can help develop the Anaplan models and eventually support them on their own. As part of the foundation for the deployment, end users must be involved at an early stage in order to be able to secure their buy-in. In addition, it is important to lead the specialists into the Anaplan world through end-user training and thoughtful change management.
Consideration of the cornerstones described here is a prerequisite for the successful implementation of Anaplan projects, for these cornerstones must be included in each phase of an Anaplan project. The individual phases of an Anaplan project will be presented as part of this blog series.