Doing Agile right
By Kamaal Ahmed
We have all heard it in some form or the other – Agile is the next great movement. It will transform the way we work and improve how we achieve success. If you have been involved in or near technology or ICT, I’m certain that you have at least encountered, if not directly been inducted with, Agile Development adoption movement. It’s a phenomenon and one that is not undeserving of its merits. I personally have seen the positive-to-incredible impacts it has on a number of different organisations from different parts of the globe. But how success manifests itself in those companies varies for a variety of different reasons.
Here are few things that I have seen that what has enabled success with different entities:
- Set Principles over Process – Those that are adopting Agile really should be learning, understanding and applying the values and principles listed out in the Agile Manifesto. Don’t get caught up in mandating process and tools. Those are just enablers put forth to reinforce the core of what Agile is intended to establish. You can hide behind process, but the philosophy is what provides a firm foundation and the value that will truly deliver.
- Give Space & Time – Leaders within the org should allow the necessary space and time for teams to properly adopt Agile. It is important for teams to be given what is required to learn and best understand how to best implement Agile. Leaders that are impatient and expect things to pick up quickly will be disappointed.
- Journey, not Destination – One of the major principles of Agile is to allow the team to continually improve and evolve with the needs of the business and their customers. The transformation shouldn’t be looked as ‘set it once and done’. When first adopting Agile, teams should find what is the bare minimum (start small) of what they need to get started, apply those quickly, put it to use, and continue to grow & learn and never stop.
- Manage Your Space – With any major change introduced, it’s easy to fall prey to overstepping your area. Trying to ensure that the entire end-to-end process is being followed properly. If each person only stays within their jurisdiction, then the entire system will function best. Product Owners should manage the product, not projects. Scrum Masters should manage the scrum and sprints, not the team. The team should manage itself, and nothing else. People Managers should manage individuals, not the team.
- Fully Self-sufficient Team – The team needs everything within it to fully empower it to be successful and at the end of the day, deliver real value. This means the team should be cross-functional – including individuals from the different subject-matters to help achieve success. The teams contain developers, testers, analysts, and users. In addition anybody can be in the teams long as they are helping to turn an idea into tangible, realised output. The less external dependency the team has, the nimbler it can be and the more traction it can make.
- Wider Departments Change – Agile is a transformation targeted at software development. I have seen first-hand that if other departments evolve to better enable Agile, then the whole organization benefits. It can be a wide systematic change if the leaders allow it to be. This can go as far as how the organisations manage projects, control their financing (operating expense), treat their employees, customer engagement and business strategy. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list nor even a checklist. These are just high-level observations that I have seen from teams that have realised Agile achieve success early on.
I believe LPS has poised itself to be in a great position. To be a proven instructor and enabler to help clients in realising the full potential of what Agile may offer. We have some amazing, talented and smart folks amongst the staff that can architect and execute an Agile transformation that will offer the best benefit and impact to a client. I am excited about the future of how digital organisations will continue to evolve & improve and how LPS will be at the forefront of that transformation.