Inserting “Agility” into Business Enterprises
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Agile stepped in when linear requirement-based processes were playing around to impose project management processes and predictable delivery methodologies across complex software domain, driven by time and output. Even with a certain percentage of success, Agile hasn't managed to kill off the embedded waterfall behaviors, prescribed linear plans and over-complex management layers for delivering software en masse.
Going forward, Scrum and Extreme Programming (XP) have turned out to be the most trusted and established agile software methodologies for building software in dynamic environments. The agile methodology does not resolve every software issue, but these act as a cue stick for relatively small, self-organizing teams.
Introducing: The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)
Organizations have propelled their efforts to imbibe The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) that is meant to address scaling Agile to the enterprise level, as it quickly combines Agile approaches with more enterprise-centric organizational practices. But as enterprises undergo the broader change necessary for digital transformation success, SAFe still faces certain challenges.
Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is an interactive knowledge base for implementing the Agile model
at an enterprise scale. It is difficult to understand the scope of SAFe for scaling agile software development to the enterprise. Agile development practices are not limited to Lean Startup, Right Shifting, Beyond Budgeting, Management 3.0, Human-Centered Design, Theory of Constraints, Cynefin, Portfolio Management, etc.
How can Agile Planning turn the tides in favor of organizations?
Agile implies: adoption, willingness to throw out a plan, know your minimum viable product, ship it, gather feedback, iterate. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just good enough for the next development cycle.
Agile organizations have an extra ability to manage changing priorities, improved visibility, increased productivity, improved quality and reduced risk. All this leads to customer delight, joy at work, engagement, innovation, creativity and continuous learning etc.
Agile organizations face the challenge of managing the local autonomy of squads (bottom-up input) consistently with a bigger picture represented by the tribe’s goals and by cross-tribe interdependencies and the strategic priorities of the organization (top-down view). Governing this tension requires new processes and routines for planning and coordination.
Associated frameworks and tools are always capable of:
- The need for quality time to be invested for a true strategic conversation rather than simply being a numbers game;
- Resources and funds are available in a flexible way for emerging opportunities.
- And the ability to cope with more frequent and dynamic changes;
Prepping-Up Enterprises for more “Agility”
As the discussion unfolds, scrums, grand-masters, stand-ups, and sprints help organizations align, co-create and collaborate and leverage more operations and make their business move, let’s find out how to pursue this complex goal of adopting Agile:
- Knowledge Dispersion: Let knowledge move across all layers of the organization. Create a platform to network, communicate, crowd-source the issues. Introduce and inspire self- learning and delegating the knowledge to staff.
- Bringing Various Skills on the Table: Creating project teams across various business verticals (HR, Marketing, Sales and Promotion, Automation, Testing, Development, etc.), for more successful adoption of Agile based around a specific customer or project.
- Making a Team Build Its Efforts: Project teams allows all stakeholders to be brought into the process early. This creates a true sense of collaboration resulting in a greater sense of ownership from beginning to delivery with fewer compromises.
- Empower your staff: Give them the tools, and make them learn. This process brings the required agility into the business.
- Assign Daily Tasks and Set Expectations: Daily stand-ups are important as are an analysis of daily hurdles is important to learn and become proficient. It also helps break your production timeline into iterations, organize face to face meetings and measuring success at the end of the process.
Agile as a Breather to Traditional Project Management Approaches
A certain level of understanding is required to compile the fact that Agile methodologies alone are not sufficient to address top-down questions of business strategy. As Agile teams work bottom-up adding up the opinions of people to come up with the business strategy must be combined with centralized decision making.
Companies need to imagine possibilities and pick the one for which the most compelling argument can be made. Compelling arguments need to be backed up with a qualitative judgment.
In Agile Software Development organizations, teams make use of design thinking and other exploratory techniques (including data) to make rapid decisions and change the course every week. Decision making is done by a team of people, offsetting in this way the potential biases of a single person on their judgment.
To some extent, an agile team-based organization enables the possibility to leverage qualitative data and judgment – combined today with infinite hard data – for better decisions. Get the minimal requirements and start working.
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