Friday, November 13, 2015

Agile Scale Up

Agile values, principles, and practices are tightly coupled.

Agile is historically a set of preferences and principles per the Agile Manifesto. Related practices already existed at the time of its manifestation. The interactions between Agile values, principles, and practices are tightly coupled. Many forward-looking organizations start scaling Agile to run a high-agile business in order to sense and adapt to change promptly and improve overall business competency.

To make Agile successful, the entire "organization" has to be agile. For agile to deliver considerable "maximum" benefits, it needs to work across the whole value stream. The whole value stream needs to be able to support an agile delivery model sufficiently. This includes service company, customer, operations, procurement, hr, finance etc. In a services situation, the "organization" is the amalgam of both the service company and its customer. If either side of that equation isn't agile, and then agility is not possible.

Agile success can improve the entire business competencies because they can do IT quicker and better. Corporations have to evolve, corporations that can't manage IT properly will eventually lag behind. Implementing a big change requires a buy-in and push from upper management. Once there is a support from them, then it becomes easy to get that change implemented. It does not mean that an agile delivery model needs to be selected for the creation of every product, service, or project, as there may be cases where actually a non-agile delivery model is a viable option. Agility also has little to do with metrics, distribution, history. The business model is relevant, however, an organization with customers who use a phased-development (waterfall) approach really can't take on an entirely different approach internally. For one thing, you won't be able to come up with a contract that will support things like loose schedules, changing requirements, incremental delivery, etc.

Agile will focus more on partnerships rather than pure vendor relationships. Transparency will prevail. It will be progress driven. Making mistakes should contribute to the learning process. There is more to be gained by doing the work quickly and efficiently. Change management and negotiation are a big issue when applying agile methodology to fixed bid programs. The agile methodology being applied have an umbrella contract between Vendor and Customer. And most projects that are executed in Agile methodology are in Time and Material mode. Only for a known customer where the expectation, process are all known and vendor executed few customer's projects, agile methodology attempted for fixed bid projects - it becomes easier to handle the changes in the requirements and priorities. Hence, Agile focuses more on partnership rather than a pure vendor relationship.

The Agile manifesto indicates the things on the left that are more highly valued than the things on the right. You can measure whether practices are being done and to what degree, but each team is different, hence, it isn't really prescription, but more guidelines and heuristics. The challenge and direction now are to bring agility, and design thinking holistically to the entire business. It's a journey for any company looking to digital transformation radically.


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