Saturday, August 18, 2012

Thoughts on Agile adoption at work!

One of the hardest problems in life is to enforce others to embrace change which you believe in. I recently went to an excellent Agile Conference - RALLYON2012 and it opened my mind to the power of team-work, constant collaboration and breaking down barriers. I am entrusted with this unique responsibility of enforcing AGILE in our company and thought I share my experiences on what I have learned.

  1. Everyone has a different notion of the term "AGILE" . Some people think its about faster delivery of features, some people think it is a "Slave-Driver" mechanism, some people think of it as "Open Dialogue Progress".  Lots of people ask me "What do I get by doing this Agile process?"
  2. Some teams change and adapt to Agile concepts of Daily Scrum, Time-boxed Sprints/Iterations and Releases and Burn-down Charts well. Some teams resist it completely due to strong personalities who believe "AGILE" approach doesn't provide benefit.
  3. Product Managers have to assess the market, analyze the Field input, propagate new ideas, push requirements to developers and myriad of other things and hence cannot be Product Owners in an "Agile" World due to the enormous amount of load a Product Owner truly has which is to "Accept" User Stories and Defects on a regular basis
  4. You cannot do Agile without the right level of Metrics at a Team-Level and at Project-Level. You need a tools team which focuses on providing this data to the stakeholders or have an Agile Lifecycle Management Framework like Rally provide the necessary tools and apps for you. Any tool you buy needs to be customized based on Organizational needs.
  5. Changing the Culture in a Company which uses the traditional "Waterfall" model is extremely hard and takes lot of time. Don't force a culture change to happen too fast. Let it happen gradually and it is important to bring new people who embrace the "Inspect and Adapt Culture".
  6. You need to have a "Agile-Process" Police in the company to ensure folks are doing the right thing and making sure the ship is sailing smooth without any pirates.
  7. Cross-Site Scrums are hard to work with and not as effective as scrums with everyone in the team locally.
One thing is crucial : Belief in change and continuous improvement is essential for a company or organization to be truly "AGILE".
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