In my last post, I talked about two of the crucial organizational capabilities for Agile’s success. Once you’ve empowered Agile teams and prioritized based on business value, here are three more capabilities to develop.
1. Establish a collaborative business and IT management framework
Agile teams benefit from the pragmatic flexibility engineered into a collaboration model that embraces a “just enough” attitude toward process compliance and control. This approach helps foster the required level of control that satisfies the business constraints surrounding the desired solution while enabling the flexibility the business requires to easily course correct. Transparent planning, daily reviews, iteration reviews, and a short retrospective comprise most of the few project management tasks, all of which are constrained to short timeframes. To further speed development and decision making, the business appoints a single product owner as the sole arbiter of the features of the product and their importance.
Collaborative management empowers the business to focus resources on building only those capabilities that are deemed most valuable, resulting in higher business impact and shorter development times.
2. Drive project speed and predictability with small, frequent delivery increments
Rather than building one very large, complex software feature, Agile teams strive to break work down into smaller features that can be designed, built, and deployed in progressive increments. This simplifies the development process and gets software to market faster and more frequently. Because Agile teams frame their work in short iterations—typically one to two weeks—the business can more easily and profitably redirect development work. The business also faces less opposition from development teams because the process and opportunities for making changes are well-defined and agreed upon. Further, costs are reduced when the development team builds the right software over small, successive iterations.
3. Risk management engineered directly into Agile execution lifecycle
The work of Agile teams is highly visible to the business at large because Agile teams publish their daily progress for all to see. This ensures that the team is always focused on the objectives of the business. A daily progress and risk management meeting is strictly time-boxed to allow development and release impediments to surface rapidly so that they can be dealt with on a timely basis. This means that problems are solved quickly—reducing cost and improving quality.
Daily progress tracking allows additional features to be added to an iteration when the development team works faster than expected. This has obvious productivity benefits.
By now you can see how these capabilities allow for efficiency, cost savings, and greater business impact. In my next post, I’ll suggest engineering practices that are required to drive productivity and product quality.