Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Agile: To be or not to be

Greetings everyone. This article is about a fantastic dilemma for any leadership about if we shall decide for the organization to follow agile or not.

Now-a-days Agile is the buzz word. If you are a leader in your organization, and meet some one at any business conference or seminars you would probably be asked the question "So, do you follow agile?". And then if you already are agile, then you are lucky. But if you are not yet agile, then you fall in the dilemma "To be agile, or not to be?" And the person who asked you in the first place, is also not sure about why s/he went on agile?

Now, first of all, it would be a bad idea to arrive at your cabin one fine day and announce that from today we all will be agile. You need to do some pre-work and feasibility study to make some informative decision about agile adoption.

1) Type of your product/customer
This is the era of competitions. Faster and Consistent wins the race. You need to ask yourself "Does my customer want faster delivery?", "Is s/he ready to spend time daily with my development team?", "Do we need to release frequent updates to our product?", "Are we clear about the vision of the product?", "Is the market ready for frequent updates to the product?", "At what speed my competitors are coming up with new product ideas?"
Agile will be valuable when -
- customer has enough time to spend with your development team.
- market is ready to accept frequent updates to the product.
- there are many competitors coming up with new ideas every now and then.
- there are changing requirements based on market direction.

2) Early to market
By following different agile methodologies, we can bring our product early to market. This helps to make the consumers use the product with its bare minimum features. If our product development can be done early in chunks of features, then agile is best suitable for it. For e.g. new mobile device - can be launched early in the market with bare minimum features of calling and texting. Later we can add camera, Bluetooth and hundreds of other features in chunk.

3) Early ROI
Once we bring the product early in the market, we start getting return on it early. If we are looking for early ROI, then we surely can go for agile.

4) Continuous feedback
As the product is being used by end customer, and we invlove our customer in the product development, we start getting regular feedback on the product deliveries. This helps us improve the product as well as the process. This way we can also come to know changing priorities in the market.

5) Type of work
If the type of work required to build the product is repetitive, then agile might not be a good choice. Agile is best suitable for creative product developments. e.g. if your team works on software installations, then it might not require agile. If your team works on developing a internet banking website, then it will get benefited from agile.

6) Adaptability
Every change follows reluctance to change. If your organization is flexible and adaptable to changes, then agile implementation will be smooth. Agile demands complete shift in the mindset of each and everyone involved in it. Everyone from the top management to the actual development team should be open for this change. Training helps but the continuous coaching is required to transform the team into a successful agile team.

7) View of IT department
Do you look at your IT department as a cost center? If yes, then it will be hard to change the mindset of people. IT department, in agile, should be looked at as a valued partner. This will help in improved customer involvement and improved team collaboration, which are the basics of agile manifesto.

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