According to a recent survey, the top reasons that respondents (top-rated business houses) gave for adopting agile technologies are:
· For enhancing software quality-42 %
· Improving business and IT alignment -47 %
· Increasing productivity -51%
· Enhancing the ability to manage to change business landscapes –63%
· Accelerating software deliverable -72 %
It is a given that the world is moving towards a more Agile working environment that supports the ability to manage change. And change remains the only constant in today’s world; hence the need to adopt Agile
Frameworks cannot be underestimated by anyone who wants to take strides into the future.
How do the agile frameworks work?
Businesses must constantly innovate their product and services to stay relevant to customers’ changing needs and stay ahead of the competition. Any change, if it is not helping the business to meet its customers’ demands and ring in profits, is not worth the investment.
Earlier the process and methodology designed or adopted by organizations were mechanical and rigid, as most of them were influenced by the manufacturing industries, which had a high success rate. However, replicating the same in the software industry was not a good idea, as manufacturing involves machines. In contrast, IT involves humans, who come with varied skills, capabilities, and, most importantly, the emotional factor that cannot be ignored.
A homogeneous implementation across the organizations was the final goal for earlier methodologies, and these also delivered the expected results to some extent. But organizations go for agile implementation, not fully understanding it’s a way of working and not understanding it as an engineering optimization process; they go for it with the understanding derived from the previous process adoption experiences.
Organizations do not realize that agile is more about organizational culture and individual mindset change that eventually leads to business outcomes. This Differentiates Agile from all other process transformation-centric frameworks or methodologies.
Why one size just does not fit all?
Agile Frameworks are amorphous, and one size just does not fit all. Let alone disparate enterprises, even within an enterprise-specific agile implementation, only provided the context of specific teams.
The business demands, performance metrics, team dynamics, current state of affairs, future goals, and many other factors define how the proper fit framework is created. Rigid force fitting of ready-to-use frameworks is a sure recipe for disaster.
Successful transformations happen when the management first nail down the problem statement internally and then involves an agile expert to work out the solution. Could break down complex change where multiple teams with different challenges have to be tackled could be broken down into three levels:
1. Portfolio-level coordination
2. Program-level coordination
3. Team-level coordination
As the teams were widely distributed geographically, having a common language at the portfolio and program level helps coordinate and produce telemetry at the organization level, which could easily collect, because of having one framework at the portfolio and program level. Teams operate under different conditions, so the framework choice at this level is decided as per need.
Another benefit of having frameworks and implementation approaches decided at different levels is that it ensures the involvement of individuals at all levels, thus impacting an overall culture change.
Also, customizing framework as per need helps to remove overheads of agile scaled frameworks and adds value to frameworks like scrum when adding Kanban as a visualization board.
Few examples of using different frameworks or mixing frameworks in different situations:
• Replacing Scrum visual board with Kanban board gives an advantage of understanding flow and bottleneck at the team level, which is not captured in scrum visual board.
• Using a lighter version of SAFe for small teams helps to reduce irrelevant overheads of long planning and longer iteration and gives the advantage of faster feedback from business stakeholders.
• Implementing Kanban over Scrum for teams in exploration mode or with high volatile requirements proves more productive.
• For distributed teams, the agile framework needs to be customized to best use collaboration events like Stand-up and feedback or continuous improvement opportunities like Retrospective and product demos.
• The concepts like Innovation and planning week from SAFe should be taken to reenergize individuals and have better planning and Innovation as part of the culture.
• For technology companies, engineering practices like TDD, Pair programming, and continuous integration must be part of any Agile strategy, irrespective of the framework
One Agile Framework fits only one business period.
How do consultants help?
Creating the right blueprint for agile transformation is a highly professional undertaking that can only be handled by those who are experts at it. The assessment, the planning, the deployment, and the gradual roll-out is an uphill task and calls for intricacies beyond the ambit of an untrained hand. Consultants train the stakeholders within the organization to deliver a high level of communication and collaboration, fast and effective response to change, adaptive planning, and continual improvement.
Below are services that help to make the agile transformation journey smooth:
• Coaching – Coaches help people to find alignment between personal and organizational goals.
• Maturity Assessment – Helps to draw a clear path between the present and future state of affairs.
• Transformation Roadmap Creation—Draws attention to the steps needed to make an organization more reactive and responsive regarding cultural beliefs and behaviour, among other things.
• Transformation Implementation –Coaches here are the key to successful execution for bringing in operational models that are more flexible, collaborative, and communicative across levels.
• Staffing – Having people with the right skills and attitude paves the road to success, and having a good staffing partner can be a blessing.
The turnaround that Agile Consultants can usher into businesses.
Agile consultants give a road map for things that need to be accomplished within given time frames. They are the ones who develop internal capabilities within organizations to initiate and sustain agile transformations.
They are the trusted partners’ organizations need to become futuristic and revenue driven. Enterprises need consultants to work out what framework would suit them the best. With their experience, the consultants can identify the strengths and weaknesses much better and steer organizations towards becoming lean and growth driven. The agile consultants act more like coaches, not as commanders, and through practical hands-on training, facilitate the easy transformation to a business model that can navigate the unique challenges of the changing times.