It has been long believed that agile is the solution to legacy technology. However, agile is not the answer to all problems in the real world.
Complex situations require innovation to solve complex problems. Agile is the perfect solution. Agile is not a good option for situations like regulatory compliance roadmaps where there are strict deadlines and services must be delivered on time. Agile is not the solution for all situations.
Agile projects are not easy to conceal. Businesses must be clear about what agile means, why they need it, and what pitfalls they should avoid before they embark on their journey.
How to make sure agile is done well
Customers must be involved in every aspect of agile development. This is the first step to adopting agile. Even if this means that the entire project will need to be re-directed at different times based upon customer feedback. This will ensure that customers get the right solution, first time, so they can grow and reach their goals tomorrow.
When implementing agile, people should always be considered before processes. It is the people who respond best to customer and business needs. Let’s take communication as an example. Communication is fluid with people and occurs when the need arises. In processes communication is planned and requires specific content. Businesses might deliver code twice per year when developing desktop products in a traditional manner.
If agile is properly implemented, code is published multiple time per day. This requires processes that make it almost automatic. But it also requires the right people to manage the speed and accuracy.
Documentation can be significantly reduced when done correctly. It is much easier to be innovative in real time than it is to follow a structured process. This allows customers to focus on what they want. Businesses can then collaborate with them to develop and iterate that exact thing.
Avoid these key pitfalls
Many businesses get distracted when transitioning to agile. There are many critical aspects that are often overlooked.
When adopting agile, there will always be resistance from employees across the business. While some employees may believe agile is beneficial, others might be skeptical and hesitant to adopt it. Before making the change, it is important to explain agile and educate the entire workforce.
Businesses risk going back to “business as usual” and allowing the waterfall mindset, which is characterized by tasks being handled in a more linear manner, to continue to exist. This should also include expectations for team members in terms accountability and responsibilities. It will help to determine who needs additional support to make agile projects work.
Another danger to avoid is forgetting project management. Agile does not necessarily mean that the project’s nature will change because agile methods and techniques have been introduced. The vision, risk, budget, and team all remain the same. Agile requires cultural change. Businesses must be clear from the beginning about what they want to change, set the right goals, measure the results and then act on them.
Being agile is key
Every business wants to create a great product that helps customers and drives business growth. It’s important to remember, however, that agile is not a panacea. It does, however, help businesses to see the cracks and force them into realizing where they are versus where their goals are.
Agile could be described as the cure for the legacy pandemic. It helps businesses to identify the needs of their customers so they can position themselves for the next normal. It’s not the solution for all situations.
Jonathan Priestley is Head Po