I spend a lot of my time visiting companies who have implemented agile transformation programmes but complain agile is not delivering the expected results quickly or cheaply enough. The good news is that because they’re using agile, any mismatch in expectation is highlighted early on and work can begin to close the gap.
Let’s start by dispelling a few myths:
- Agile is not faster.
- Agile is not cheaper.
- Agile is not easier.
But… you have a much higher chance of delivering early, realising benefits more quickly, building a solution your users actually want and flexing scope to meet the changing priorities of your organisation.
If you read those points and were thinking “I know all that” then the issue is not expectation vs. reality which is good, many organisations adopt agile believing it will be the solution to all of their problems but unfortunately ‘being agile’ is not enough.
When the expectation of what agile will and will not do for your organisation is realistic then it’s time to look at how agile is being executed. In order to improve the effectiveness of agile I recommend assessment across the following areas (in priority order):
- Is the vision and purpose of the agile programme clearly articulated in a simple way that will ensure the whole team understand the goal and are motivated to get out of bed in the morning. Start with defining the ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘what’.
- Do you have the right hiring, retention, training and evaluation processes in place to ensure you are building a skilled team of motivated and committed individuals.
- Have you fully integrated the operational business as part of delivery.
- Are you dedicated to creating an agile culture and providing the right facilities.
- Process and Tools:
- Have you significantly re-structured your governance and processes to enable (not block) agile delivery teams.
- Have you provided the tools and infrastructure to encourage open collaboration and rapid delivery.
- Is accountability clear throughout your agile organisation.
- Are you producing and analysing metrics that will encourage continuous improvement and give you a true measure of progress?
- Are you hands on enough?
If you make a concerted effort to measure and continuously improve these areas, I guarantee you will see better results.
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