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Agile Goes Mainstream

>>Agile Goes Mainstream

Reinvigorating Agile’s Promise of Increased Quality and Speed to Value

“Agile” has been going mainstream in the last few years. Now, we see Agile concepts applied to organizational leadership, company management, and – even – personal time and resource management.

It makes sense that, in our VUCA world — volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous – Agile concepts would influence other parts of the organization and work-life management. In fact, this shift could make Agile more relevant and adopted in software development circles as well.

It points to the fact that Agile has a much bigger agenda; the need to adapt and respond to demands for continuous innovation.

LET'S TALKA recent Economist article cites Simon Hayward’s book, The Agile Leader: How to Create an Agile Business in the Digital Age. The aim of agility is to bring the company as close to the customer as possible. Ideas can be tested on a small scale and abandoned if they fail to work. Feedback from the customer is essential at every stage. Teams work on small tasks in short cycles, achieving their immediate goal and quickly moving on to the next.

One of our previous points of view stated, “Whatever Agile method you choose, it must address shifting customer demand and be balanced with leadership’s need to iteratively control the outcome.”

While no Agile transformation plan will be free from course corrections, a well-planned roadmap leads to Agile’s promise of increased quality and speed to value.

To avoid getting lost along the way, it’s important to stay focused on a holistic Agile transformation roadmap that: 

  • Remains focused on eliminating waste and driving value 
  • Includes Agile management and Agile engineering practices
  • Establishes a culture that embraces Agile principles
  • Responds to changing priorities and stakeholder needs as the transformation evolves
  • Provides stakeholder support at different stages of engagement
  • Facilitates timely automation of low-value repetitive tasks to drive efficiencies

At SDLC Partners, we have seen how our client experiences boil down to five characteristics that help Agile stick: 

  1. They stay focused on the value of Agile in the long-term.
  2. They keep an open dialogue and discuss perspectives while trying to validate any assumptions.
  3. They realize that one size or type of Agile does not fit every organization.
  4. They use techniques, like Value Stream Mapping, to uncover the unique needs of their customers.
  5. They tailored their approach to their people and culture.

And, because Agile development prioritizes customer satisfaction and team collaboration, we use two methodologies to encourage Agile success – Human Centered Design (HCD) and DevOps.

You can read more about how HCD and DevOps support an Agile environment in these articles:

HCD: Just-in-Time Design: Five Keys to Agile UX Success

DevOps: Automate to Innovate – A Practical Guide to Effective DevOps

DevOps: Five Must-Haves to Ensure DevOps Success in Your Organization

To continue the conversation on agile, contact us.

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