Agile is turning out to be a buzzword (or already it is). By adapting an Agile Methodology like Scrum or XP, organizations assume they are Agile. But Agility goes far beyond this. Let’s talk about it in this post.
Agile Methods vs Agility
Agile Methods are a good starting point. They hit the sweet spot because in a development organization it helps to churn out products in an incremental and predictable fashion. But they don’t close the loop.
Let’s take an example.
Assume that a product development team is using Scrum for software development and testing. They do a really good job and send out incremental deliveries that meet business priorities. Things are sweet so far.
The DevOps team who manage the platforms and release software to customers are not so Agile yet. They take weeks to formally accept deliveries and move them on to successive environments. Also, the performance testing takes ages because of the excessive coverage and this blocks the delivery to customer.
In essence, though the development team is Agile and highly responsive, the organization lacks Agility because they cannot send out deliveries to customer at the same rate.
Ultimately, this is the “Perceived Agility” by other stakeholders and customers.
So how do we improve? Here are 3 Steps that can help.
Step #1 : Speak the Same Language
An Agility chain is as weak as its weakest link.
Involve all stakeholders including DevOps, Implementation and other relevant teams into the Agile journey. Set the right context and get a buy-in from all the impacted teams.
If possible, involve them in Sprint demos and other meetings where they can see the outcomes. This will ensure that everyone speaks the same language – the language of Agility.An Agility chain is as weak as its weakest link #agile Click To Tweet
Step #2 : Closely Inspect the Process
Many organizations have “purple cows” and one such common purple cow is the “age old” process.
Again, get together with all stakeholders and do a genuine review of the process. Identify how the process times can be improved and unnecessary stuff can be eliminated.
The change won’t happen overnight. Look for gradual but significant improvement towards Agility.
Step #3 : Design for Simplicity
It is very hard to be simple.
This is especially true in software development. A poorly designed product will bloat over a period of time and become a maintenance nightmare.
Even with the best of processes, bringing Agility into such product deliveries is a tough job.
When designing products, keep an eye on Agility.
Ask yourself – How can we build this simpler, so that it can be delivered to customer much faster?
An organization doesn’t get Agile just by adapting an Agile development methodology. Overall Agility is measured in terms of the speed and quality of delivery to the end customer.
Here are some steps that can help.
- Speak the same Agility language with all Stakeholders
- Closely inspect the process and eliminate waste
- Design for simplicity and ease of delivery
Have you faced this Agility challenge in your organization? How did you overcome this?