Friday, January 11, 2008

The Truth About Agile Processes

After my previous long-winded entry about "What do you wish your CEO knew about Agile?", I came across this Forrester report on "The Truth about Agile Processes"

It has a summary of what CEOs/CIOs and managers need to know are the changes they need to make in order to adopt agile:
  • Larger-teams should be broken into smaller ones
  • Functional silos have to be broken down, or at least weakened
  • Specialists may have to pick up new skills
  • Teams must learn to self-manage, and managers must learn to let them
  • Routine activities have to be automated (integration, builds, testing, etc.)

These underlie the message that "going Agile" is more than just a change in one's technical processes. It also requires changing (mind-set as well as process) how one does not only project-management, but also overall management - including status-accounting and reporting of results. And it requires a great deal of rigor/discipline (even tho it may be less formal) in these practices as well as the technical/engineering practices.

You can't expect to make a successful go of Agile by modifying only your technical process & practices. Management has to make some changes too, and the most significant change may be the mind-set for how they are accustomed to measuring and reporting progress (especially for those currently using stage/gate management).

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