Becoming agile

Agile, through the storms

Becoming Agile on Becoming Agile

I am sharing a post from our LinkedIn group on how to commence your journey:

Original Question:

How to establish agile development in a very tight and constrained department

I have been studying Agile development (Scrum in particular) and wish to implement it within my team. Team is around 20 over developers, QA engineers and several key role personal (DBA, S.A,B.A and such). Problem being the team turnover rate is high. To add more complexity to the situation, lots of delivered products require CRs and bug handling while new assignments keep piling up, and the team keeps answering customer care 30%~40% of their time. 

Is agile good for this situation? Is working in “small” amount of work units the answer to better productivity? I have my management full support to move the team forward into agile development yet I find it hard to drive it given the conditions described above. Any advice from the masters?”


Photo by Schplook at http://www.flickr.com/photos/45040273@N02/5444960010/

My response:

@****, I am starting from the last part of your statement: You have full management support, which is wonderful. It means they trust you to make changes that are good for the organization. You will need to find out whether this includes also management commitment, that it, are they willing to change to accommodate your changes. If they don’t you will need to adapt in order to become agile while still answering their needs.
As for becoming agile:
The complexity you describe exists in many places, in many different manifestations. You will need to find a way that is suitable for your context. In order to do so, you will need to experiment, and find if what you do works well for you. If it doesn’t, you will need to design another experiment. If it does you will design experiments to make it even better, and to adapt to the changing reality.
The big question you must be facing now is HOW? How do I even begin to design the first experiment?
In order to design good experiments, you will need to acquire knowledge – both practical and theoretical. What makes an organization become agile, and what diverts it away from agility?
This can be done through experiences – courses and workshops. Practical Agile (my organization) runs such courses. Find out more about it here. Of course, there are others to choose from.
You can also read books. Shirly just posted in this group Agile Bench’s list of books by category.
I have recently posted Jurgen Appelo’s 100 most popular books on agile

What’s your idea of becoming agile?

If you’ve got your own ideas of effectively becoming agile, please share them! You can either share them as responses here, or, even better, respond directly on the post in LinkedIn, to help the guy by sharing your way. If you think I am wrong, or maybe not good enough in my response, heck, you will also help me grow better Agile Practitioners

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3 thoughts on “Becoming Agile on Becoming Agile

  1. Excellent post…designing the process to match your specific context (and maintaining the process just as you maintain your product) is key. The only additional thing I could add is some analysis to determine where the bugs/changes are clustering and why. Not to fix blame, but to try to identify opportunities to reduce the amount of support needed.

    • Thank you Gene, for the feedback and the additional points.
      In the comments made on the discussion in the group, Esther Derby also suggested to analyze the sources for the high support turnover, and suggested options for further work. Elad Sofer suggested to look at turnover from a different angle – follow the money. Maybe big support efforts are good for the organization’s bottom line?

      • Nice to be in the same company as Esther Derby. 😉

        I may have misunderstood about the usage of “turnover”, I assumed that he meant people joining and leaving the team/organization. That being said, any organization where the management thinks they can turn support of a shoddy product into a value stream over the long term is delusional.

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