Adopting best practices: "Agility" moves from software development to healthcare project management

Comput Inform Nurs. 2006 Mar-Apr;24(2):75-82; quiz 83-4. doi: 10.1097/00024665-200603000-00005.


It is time for a change in mindset in how nurses operationalize system implementations and manage projects. Computers and systems have evolved over time from unwieldy mysterious machines of the past to ubiquitous computer use in every aspect of daily lives and work sites. Yet, disconcertingly, the process used to implement these systems has not evolved. Technology implementation does not need to be a struggle. It is time to adapt traditional plan-driven implementation methods to incorporate agile techniques. Agility is a concept borrowed from software development and is presented here because it encourages flexibility, adaptation, and continuous learning as part of the implementation process. Agility values communication and harnesses change to an advantage, which facilitates the natural evolution of an adaptable implementation process. Specific examples of agility in an implementation are described, and plan-driven implementation stages are adapted to incorporate relevant agile techniques. This comparison demonstrates how an agile approach enhances traditional implementation techniques to meet the demands of today's complex healthcare environments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Computers
  • Benchmarking / organization & administration*
  • Choice Behavior
  • Computer User Training
  • Forecasting
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Leadership
  • Nurse Administrators / organization & administration*
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Informatics / education
  • Nursing Informatics / organization & administration*
  • Philosophy, Nursing*
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Power, Psychological
  • Problem Solving
  • Professional Competence
  • Professional Staff Committees / organization & administration
  • Software*
  • Systems Integration*