Using Agile To Scale Agile – Part 1
Ok, so you have either been experimenting with agile software development and have had solid success, or your leadership has read about or heard from their peers that this agile thing is worth taking a look at.
Regardless there is considerable overlap between these two situations.
Let us go with the scenario where we have had several individual teams deliver value much more effectively than our other non-agile teams. There is a general feeling in our leadership that we can enjoy the same type of improvements if we were to leverage Agile development more broadly throughout our organization.
We have identified or created what we feel is a reliable process. We have standardized high-level process steps, deliverables, agile tools and artifacts. We have developed metrics for tracking progress and measuring the delivery of value.
So we’re ready to scale, right? Maybe not… it looks like we might have a problem.
The problem is that our organizational structures, resource management approach, governance model, HR practices and other aspects of our business are all aligned for waterfall delivery. These types of misalignment call for possibly significant organizational changes.
We have to ask ourselves, how skilled are we at planning and executing change management?
So, where do we go from here? Where do we seek help?
Why don’t we leverage what we’ve already learned with our initial Agile successes? Use Agile to scale Agile.
Now if you will, imagine if our organization was to identify a vision for itself that was purposeful and inspiring, that our leadership has also provided a list of challenges to our teams that needed to be overcome to realize that vision. They then empowered the teams to solve the problem and the team themselves came upon Agile as a solution.
Now that is the stuff of successful Agile Transformation… When the whole organization can carry the banner for change, its probability of success is much higher.
In my experience, unfortunately, most organizations are not in a position either structurally or behaviorally, or both, to do this, so we’ll need a bit more traditional leadership driven approach to using Agile to scale Agile.
This series of posts will explore using an agile release model for transforming our hypothetical organization to an agile organization, as is required to successfully scale agile principles and practices.