In the interest of fostering better relationships between business leaders and IT, I’m offering an explanation of Agile and Lean IT for the non-IT executive. Agile is something software and engineering teams are eager to adopt, yet doing so requires support and active collaboration from the business. Agile is not just an IT thing. At its core new engineering processes are involved, but also required are new management and collaboration models and values that the business will also be asked to support. For business leaders, these new ways of working collaboratively with IT may feel uncomfortable and awkward in the early going. In fact, for many organizations the adoption process is downright hard. So why bother? Simple. Sustainable improvements to team productivity, quality, cycle-time responsiveness, and innovation.
Company IT and business performance improvements from Agile are not sound bytes or cheap marketing slogans. Peer-reviewed case studies since 2002 consistently confirm that the average sustainable improvements across core performance measures like throughput, quality, cycle-time, and risk avoidance exceed 200-300%. Is Agile worth it? You bet, but getting there will require a sustained investment and commitment to new values, collaboration practices, engineering disciplines, and engaged business stewardship.
Whether you’re a business executive seeking radically better ways of driving the creation of IT and software solutions for innovation and corporate effectiveness or an IT executive seeking sustainable transformation of your business and IT partnership, Agile software and product development values and practices have emerged as a collaboration innovation that is driving radical improvements to the outcomes produced when business and IT/engineering teams work in short cycles and complete synchronicity.
We joke about Suits and Geeks routinely in corporate America and for good reason. It turns out those who are passionate about running businesses and those who are passionate about building software have very different ways of interacting with each other and the world around us. For this reason, the business/IT relationship has been strained since the outset. It is this difference in how business and software types interact that has shaped the way Agile redefines the nature of collaboration and helps foster the conditions and expectations that help navigate business and IT teams to remarkably better results. I urge you to push through the challenges and remember that your colleagues in IT can drive sustainable improvements with your help. To learn how, download our free whitepaper: Agile for the Non-IT Executive.