How CIOs Make Agile Work

MARCH 16, 2016 // By Adrian Kearns

These days, everybody is writing about agile; what it means to them, what it means to their business, and the struggles they have. Agility means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but for all of the books and courses and blog posts, successful execution is elusive.

In my role as an account executive, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many different businesses and CIOs and the message I’m hearing from the top is that many companies are struggling mightily in their adoption of agile.

Here’s your proof: In a joint study with Magenic, Forrester found that 74% of organizations expect improved technical quality from using agile yet only 30% of companies are realizing it. [1]

Don't lose hope! Agile does work. Below is the short list of my observations of what works for companies that have successfully implemented and adopted agile as well as some of the pitfalls companies are facing.

The business owns adoption

  • The companies that successfully deploy agile have businesses owning and driving that adoption. Without buy-in from the business, it's going to be an uphill battle.

The business owns the product

  • The product owner is a representative of the business. They own the product. It is assumed that IT can build the product, but the business, through the product owner, must own it.
  • This includes MVPs, Stories/Epics, Delivery Dates/Deadlines
  • In order to own the product, product owners must be engaged in and educated on their role.
  • Agile purists may argue that in true agile there is no delivery date/deadline - the business does need to come to terms with agile being a flexible delivery methodology. If they don't internalize this concept, it may not work.

The business owns collaboration

  • The original Agile Manifesto values collaboration over process. If the business is unwilling to collaborate with IT, then the product is going to fail.
  • If your agile adoption is failing, this is a great place to start.

IT owns collaboration

  • This is not a misprint. Collaboration is not one-sided. The moment one party fails to meet this requirement, agile fails.

IT owns quality

  • QA gets a bad rap, but in a collaborative environment, the team needs to own quality and ensure that products are tested and delivered in step with the development cadence.
  • Manage your capacity efficiently - Magenic typically deploys a 3:1 ratio with great results.
  • Speed up your testing with QA automation
    • I've got some great resources around automation with proven test cases that work and I’m happy to share them [2].

IT owns velocity

  • Velocity is speed of delivery and is measured by the team's cadence. Whether you measure using story points or hours, the development team is responsible for maintaining a cadence and eliminating obstacles to deliver a consistent product.

Agile was developed around a flexible, collaborative and iterative delivery model. Buy-in from both parties is not simply a requirement, it’s imperative to a company’s successful adoption of agile.

See full report, page 4.

If you’d like to contact Magenic directly, email us or call us at 877-277-1044.

Categories // Agile
Tags // Agile, Business, IT

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