Flexibility and collaboration are key ingredients to agile success
Agile development is becoming more popular, but it can be challenging for organizations. This is a major shift in the way your software-development organization interacts with IT operations as well as how they interact with business. For agile to work, executives must empower developers with a balance between more leadership and less hierarchy.
Although Waterfall software-development is still a popular approach (and may be a better one depending on the situation), agile is the preferred method for software development in most organizations. Forrester reported that in 2011 only 4% of organizations even considered agile. Today, 59% have been more than five years on their agile journey.
“When I say that executives shouldn’t just be committed but should also lead the transformation, that means they must take the values and principles of agile and infuse these into their strategy,” stated Diego Lo Giudice. He is vice president and principal analyst for Forrester, and the author of Forrester’s Executive guide 2022: Agile Transformation. “People don’t always introduce Agile in a lasting way. They just do it in a sustainable manner.”
Lo Giudice said that the Agile Manifesto is a framework to facilitate this type of change. It includes approaches that most software developers are familiar with and prefer. It focuses on culture and behavior and enables new work styles, such as working in self-governing teams.
“Managers should read the manifesto and ask themselves if they want truly autonomous teams. . . They should allow autonomy to the teams,” Lo Giudice said. “They should identify the obstacles that people have and remove them.”
Autonomy is possible
Agile is for small, autonomous and integrated product teams that are focused on small, manageable items with short time horizons. According to the Executive Guide 2022, leaders should provide flexible and modular development platforms that minimize dependencies among teams. Lo Giudice’s analysis suggests that these platforms should be built on cloud-based microservices architectures.
agile, as the name suggests, is fast-moving that is less hierarchical and more experimental than traditional . Peter Vollmer is a leader consultant and works for Micro Focus in the Office of the CTO. He urges managers to allow their development teams the freedom of being creative and taking risks.
Vollmer stated, “We must use the collective brainpower our workforce has to offer.” “We can’t afford to have hierarchy, and that only a few people at the top take the decisions.
Vollmer warns however that managers and development teams need to still follow an outcome-based approach.
Vollmer stated, “The goal is not to fail often, but to truncate failed paths quickly.” “So it means that in the digital age, it is more like an organism. We have to adapt to ever changing market requirements, everchanging conditions, and ever-changing technology.
“Autonomous teams. . . Managers need to be different,” Lo Giudice said. They must be change agents and not command-and-control managers.
Forrester reported that 38% said that the lack of leadership was slowing down agile adoption. Many companies have a dedicated executive who is responsible for leading the agile transformation. This helps to facilitate change and remove obstacles. These leaders are able to align culture and behavioral change, create road maps and prioritize investments while selecting the right projects that will accelerate the organization’s agile journey.
For these leaders to be successful, Vollmer advocates that they should become students–continuously learning about agile and the needs, wants, and desires of the people they are leading. They must also embrace collaboration and be humble.
Vollmer stated, “If you think that you are the only one with all the answers, then you will lose.” To make the right decisions, you need to consider the perspectives of your team members and your experts.
Avoid being agile.
Agile isn’t always possible to do 100%. Lo Giudice said that agile is not always the best option for all projects and times. waterfall is a better option for legacy software that doesn’t change quickly or needs constant updates.
Lo Giudice said, “If you try agile on siloed system, you will eventually hit the wall, and then you’ll return to using waterfall.”
The Executive Guide 2022 points out that even digitally-native businesses have trouble adding formal governance frameworks in their development processes.
The Executive Guide 2022 states that “the rewards of being agile in all systems drop sharply” and “as many system don’t require frequent modifications, the additional resources you need don’t yield as high a return on investment as innovative product development.”
Combining agile and DevOps
Agile allows you build software quickly. You may lose any competitive advantage if it takes too long for it to be put into production.
Lo Giudice stated that while each approach can be used to manage the software-development cycle, it is possible to combine agile and DevOps. They should run them together as one program. Forrester reports that 56% of agile developers are using a combination program of DevOps and agile. 61% of them say they have a better customer experience.
Lo Giudice said that Agile and DevOps were two sides of one coin. You can have one without the other but it won’t give you all the benefits.
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