For the last decade, Agile approach proved to be applicable in the whole gamut of industries and software development challenges. Yet the clients still utter the dreadful words: “Is agile right for us?” At Miracle Group, we strongly feel that organizations can be successful with Agile, regardless of size, industry, location and any other situation where Agile “just won’t work.” Agile can work, but certain conditions must be met. Here they are:
1. Constant and never ending improvement.
Organizations that perpetually advance their product management, and see themselves as potential market dominators, frequently achieve success with Agile approach. Using Agile just for the sake of it is not sufficient. Agile organizations always lean towards improvement because they know that it’s necessary for dominating the market and sustaining competitive advantage. Making improvements in the organization just because it sounds good is not enough. You need to specify your business goals and provide metrics that will help you to concentrate only on improvements that will lead to success.
2. Train your team. Do it often.
The only constant in the technology world is change. Agile teams need to be prepared to quickly respond to changing client’s expectations, new technologies, legislative regulations and project’s priorities. To respond quickly, all necessary skills need to be in place to design, develop, verify, validate and test the solution before the time is out.
3. Focus on effective collaboration
Consistent and action-based collaboration between business and engineering is imperative to success with Agile. Enterprises (chiefly sales and marketing) need to listen to the “voice of the customer”, while engineering department should hear the “voice of possibility”, meaning, what is the present situation and how should it look in the future. IT and business oriented teams should communicate and describe their needs in detail in order to fulfill to meet the client’s expectations. They should always consult each other when any change is needed to ensure the happiness of the end user.
4. Learn from failure.
If you want to succeed with Agile, you need to create a clear set of measures that will govern your future decisions. It’s crucial to observe those metrics closely and look for learning opportunities every step of the way. In modern agile companies, failure is treated simply as a learning opportunity. It’s much easier to afford stepbacks since work is broken down into 2 week scrums, not 6-12 month projects.
5. Delegation and collaborative decision making are crucial.
In Agile cultures, there is a common misunderstanding about the term “self-managed”, as if it means that only teams should make all of the decisions in the product development process. That kind of approach is far from one used by successful agile teams. We need to create clear guidelines for effective decision making in organization. Some of the decisions should be made by the agile team, some by product management, functional management or other teams altogether (for example, to ensure the right quality standards).
If you want to develop some of the characteristics described above in your own organization, please contact us or try our free trial.