A step-by-step guide to implementing Agile in your MSP

So you’ve decided to bring Agile into your MSP? That’s fantastic! Agile is a way of working that can transform how your team tackles projects and manages day-to-day tasks. But how do you start? Why Agile? Well, imagine having a methodology that helps your team adapt quickly, deliver faster, and stay laser-focused on what matters—customer satisfaction and effective project completion. That’s Agile for you!  

Implementing Agile in a managed service provider (MSP) environment might seem hard at first. You’ve got all these ongoing projects, a diverse clientele, and a team used to doing things “the way they’ve always been done.” But think about this:

    What if you could see everything that’s happening at a glance?
   What if everyone could respond to changes without the chaos of back-and-forth emails and endless meetings?


The beauty of Agile is that it’s a team game. Everyone can get involved, from technicians to project managers to even your clients. This approach changes how you think about work. It helps you build a culture where continuous improvement is part of the daily routine.


How to set-up your team for Agile success

How well do you understand your current workflow? Why does this matter? Well, you can’t improve what you don’t understand. Get into TopLeft and map how tasks and projects flow through your MSP.

   •  Who does what?
   •  What steps do things go through from start to finish?
   •  Where do things tend to pile up?

This isn’t just busy work; it’s the foundation of going Agile. Now, with that map in front of you, you’ll probably see a few areas that look a bit... congested. Maybe some tasks are bouncing back and forth, or some projects seem to stall. These are your bottlenecks, and they’re gold mines for improvement! Highlight these areas because they’re where you’ll focus your initial Agile efforts.

Let’s talk about setting some goals. Not just any goals, but SMART ones—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound.

Ask yourself:

   •  What exactly do we want to achieve with Agile?
        Is it reducing the time it takes to complete projects?
        Is it improving team communication?

Whatever it is, write it down and make sure everyone knows the game plan. Agile is all about flexibility and adaptability. While goals are great, be ready to tweak them as you learn more about what works and what doesn’t.  


How to roll out Agile in your MSP

Are you geared up to bring Agile into your MSP? Perfect! Let’s break down the rollout into manageable steps.


1. Organize an Agile kickoff workshop

A workshop provides a controlled environment where your team can explore Agile principles without the pressure of ongoing projects. This setting encourages questions, discussions, and engagement, making the abstract concepts more tangible.

     How to conduct an effective workshop:

    •  Use real-life scenarios that your team faces daily.  
    •  Assign team members to various Agile roles such as Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Team Members.  
    •  Engage with the team to understand how Agile might affect their work routine.  
    •  Bring in an Agile coach for the first few sessions.  


     Post-workshop actions:

    •  Summarize the key takeaways and distribute them among the team.
    •  Set up a question-and-answer follow-up session to cover any lingering doubts.
    •  Begin integrating basic Agile practices in small, non-critical projects to ease the team into the transition.


By the end of this workshop, your team should have a basic understanding of Agile methodologies and be more comfortable with the upcoming changes. The goal is to ensure everyone leaves the room with a positive outlook towards this new working method.


2. Define clear Agile roles and responsibilities

Clarity in roles is vital in Agile. Understanding and establishing clear roles is important when implementing Agile in an MSP environment. Consider introducing roles such as "TopLeft Champions" within your organization. These are Agile leaders who understand both the spirit and the mechanics of Agile as applied to MSPs. They are pivotal in enabling an Agile culture by guiding, training, and supporting team members in Agile practices explicitly tailored for MSP operations.


  How to define and assign roles:

      ○  Identify key roles: Common Agile roles include the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Team Members. Each has specific duties:

     ○ Role assignment: Assign roles based on individual strengths and career aspirations. Team members must be comfortable with and capable of fulfilling the responsibilities of their roles.

     ○ Training and support: Provide role-specific training. For instance, Scrum Masters might require training in facilitation and conflict resolution, while Product Owners might need deeper insights into market research and product management.

     ○ Role adjustment: Be flexible and allow for role adjustments. Adjusting roles can lead to more effective team dynamics as teams mature and individuals grow.


3. Establish continuous flow

It's important to recognize that Agile's iterative cycles aren't as applicable to helpdesk operations, which require a more continuous and fluid handling of tasks. Helpdesk tasks typically aim to resolve issues swiftly, often within a day, to ensure client satisfaction and operational efficiency.

Instead of sprints, helpdesk operations should employ a continuous flow approach. This model ensures that tickets are addressed and resolved as quickly as possible, adhering to the fast-paced nature of helpdesk demands.

Even in a continuous flow model, regular intervals for review and adjustment can help identify bottlenecks or inefficiencies in the helpdesk process. By understanding and applying the right Agile practices to the appropriate areas of MSP operations, teams can optimize both their project and helpdesk workflows, leading to better service delivery and increased client satisfaction.


4. Foster continuous improvement

Continuous improvement ensures that your processes evolve and adapt over time, improving team productivity, project outcomes, and customer satisfaction. It allows you to remain competitive in a fast-paced industry by continuously enhancing your services and workflows.

Use every opportunity to gather feedback from your team, stakeholders, and customers. This includes sprint reviews, surveys, or informal conversations. Understanding their experiences and expectations will highlight areas for potential improvement. Hold retrospective meetings at the end of each sprint or project phase. Encourage a blame-free environment where team members can discuss what went well and what didn’t. The goal is to identify actionable steps to overcome challenges and optimize processes.

Promote a Kaizen culture where small, incremental changes are encouraged and recognized. This approach makes improvement manageable and less daunting, fostering a proactive attitude toward change among team members.


5. Measure and optimize performance

Measuring performance in an Agile environment helps you understand the impact of your changes on productivity, team dynamics, and client satisfaction. It allows you to make data-driven decisions that enhance efficiency and effectiveness.

Identify specific metrics that are important to your MSP’s success. These might include project completion times, customer satisfaction rates, team velocity, and quality of outputs. Make sure these KPIs reflect your strategic goals and Agile values. Use Agile project management tools that integrate with TopLeft, like HaloPSA or ConnectWise, to track these metrics automatically. These tools can help visualize workflows, track progress, and analyze team performance in real-time.

Schedule regular review sessions to analyze these KPIs. Use this time to discuss what the data is showing, identify trends, and determine areas for improvement. Engage with your team to get their insights and suggestions.


   How to implement performance optimization:

   Organize monthly performance review meetings to discuss results, celebrate successes, and plan for improvements.

   Create an environment where constructive criticism is welcomed and every team member feels valued for their contributions.





What are the challenges of shifting to an Agile project management system?

Imagine all your projects, tickets, and tasks visually organized in one place where everyone can see what’s happening in real-time. That’s TopLeft for you—a tool that integrates seamlessly with your existing PSA (Professional Services Automation) system to bring a visual layer of organization that enhances clarity and fosters an Agile working style.

TopLeft turns your project and service management into a dynamic visual experience with Kanban boards. Each task or ticket is represented as a card that can be moved across different columns representing the stages of your workflow. It’s visual, intuitive, and a game-changer for keeping everyone on the same page.

With TopLeft Kanban boards, you can:

   See the big picture at a glance! Where are the bottlenecks? What’s on track?
   Reduce the time spent in status meetings—because everyone can see live updates.
   Use the drag-and-drop feature to reschedule and reprioritize  


Transitioning to Agile with TopLeft transforms how your team works for the better. With TopLeft, your MSP can:

   Improve responsiveness to client needs.
   Enhance team collaboration and reduce miscommunications.
   Drive quicker resolutions and adapt more rapidly to changes.


And the best part? It all happens within the tools your team already uses every day. Ready to see how it works in action?

Request a demo. 


PS: Get the Agile Project Management Certification Course designed specifically for professionals seeking to master Agile methodologies in managing MSP projects. This course covers everything from integrating Agile with Waterwater approaches to mastering budgeting differences and developing an Agile mindset. Whether you’re a project manager, team leader, or executive, this course will equip you with the skills to drive operational efficiency and enhance service delivery. Don’t miss out—only 30 seats available! Click here to register.


Ready to streamline your project’s workflow and see real results?

Contact us now to schedule a demo.