AVOIDING AGILE FAILURE

When organizations decide to adopt an Agile initiative, they are generally surprised to discover the downside of the implementation process.  In fact, the majority of these initiatives are driven by upper management who are only interested by the benefits that Agile can proffer them.  They therefore task their IT team with this new initiative, overlooking the fact that management support and involvement is still required to ensure the organization-wide success of Agile.  To avoid engendering the risk of an Agile failure within your organization, here are a few things to consider beforehand:

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1) Time involved:  Although many business professionals believe that Agile development may only take a few months, it can actually take years to be fully implemented throughout an organization.  Moreover, it may take as long as five years to achieve the full benefits of Agile.

2) Change requirement:  Adopting Agile involves more than just purchasing an Agile project management tool.  It is a distinct change in the technical approach to project management and software development.

3) Rate of development:  While Agile can indeed be useful for increasing the speed of the development process, it can also be detrimental if the end product is of poor quality.  Instead, the QA control should remain of utmost importance, while Agile can be utilized to ensure a sustainable pace of the process.

4) Organization-wide transformation:  In addition to the adaptations made by the technical team, the entire organization must also be open to engaging in more transparent processes and honest dialogues. Rather than thinking about the Agile implementation process as an abrupt adoption, it may be more reasonable to think about it as a slowly evolving transformation.

A large-scale change such as this one requires a distinct change in the approach to software development.  To successfully achieve the goal of “being Agile”,  it is important to maintain open lines of communication as well as supporting staff trainings on Agile which can be of tremendous value over the long haul.

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