Smooth agile adoption

Ritu Mahandru, VP Solution Sales, Agile Management, EMEA, CA Technologies, explains how to minimise disruption during your agile transformation.

In today’s application economy, the most successful companies are those that are able to dynamically adjust to and take advantage of the new market realities and changing customer expectations. However, in order to display this level of business agility, not only does a business ‘operating system’ need to be designed with speed and agility in mind, but the team behind it needs to understand, support and maintain the processes needed for such agility to take place.

Rapid advances in software technology have put business agility in the spotlight. It not only provides businesses with numerous ways to help streamline processes, speed up product delivery and efficiently address issues when they arise, but often serves as a competitive differentiator. In fact, recent research from CA Technologies has found that 94% of executives face increased pressure to release apps more quickly, underlying the important role that rapid delivery and iteration of software apps plays in driving revenue.

Agile is slowly becoming an adopted principle – development teams practice it on a project basis and senior teams are doing it for project and portfolio planning to work faster. However, whilst many organisations think they are successfully implementing agile, many aren’t doing it to scale due to the fast paced, technologically-driven and often complex changes it requires. A lot of the time, agile transformation causes disruption across teams and across different business lines. As such, it is important to educate teams on the agile process and provide context to how these changes will improve their own productivity and essentially, help them do their job better.

So what can businesses do to ensure agile adoption runs smoothly across the entire company?

Think about your culture

In order to fully embrace agile, companies need to foster a culture that empowers individuals and teams, embraces change and doesn’t punish failure but encourages employees to learn from it. Companies will need to build a culture of collaboration, which helps break down functional silos, minimises dependencies and opens up channels of communication. Encouraging a joint sense of accountability through shared leadership models will ensure support for agile is firmly rooted in the structure of the company itself.

Find a leader

Companies need to identify an executive sponsor for agile transformation. Adapting company culture is one thing, but having someone at a senior level who believes in agile methodologies and is able to help drive it programme by programme from the top down is very important – if the push for agile comes only from developers, the wider business won’t see the benefits it can bring and this can significantly slow down the adoption.

Plan for measurement

Finally, it’s very important to properly plan for tracking and measuring progress. Before implementing any agile projects, businesses need to set up key metrics that will measure how agile their projects have really become, a so-called “agile transformation dashboard”. This will not only help businesses take corrective action when needed, but also enable them to demonstrate to teams the very tangible businesses benefits brought on by the introduction of agile.

Today’s businesses need to strive to break down silos and improve collaboration to ensure their people are prepared for the agile journey. Careful planning will pay off in the end – organisations that achieve business agility note better alignment to their customers’ needs and are able to regularly redeploy teams to work on the highest value initiatives with minimal upfront analysis and estimation.

 

Edited for web by Cecilia Rehn.

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