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Time for Holistic Agile Practice

May 14 2019
Author: v2softadmin

As we step into 2019, we are set to witness how most businesses are inclined to adopt Agile practices in it’s entirety. 2017-18 data reveal that Agile Practices have been permeating the business community irrespective of its size, globally. As per Version One’s State of Agile Solutions 2018, a whopping 97% of organizations practice Agile methodologies in some form or the other. Studies indicate that most organizations are looking to adopt agile practices in a holistic manner in their organizations.

What exactly is Agile Practice?

Agile Practice is essentially an iterative way of developing software in sequences that are known as “sprints”. Agile Practices enable developers to adapt to the changing requirements in any process. It empowers developers to deliver relevant and competitive products in the marketplace.

Agile Practice in software development is known as Scrum. Scrum is essentially a framework for managing a process. A scrum team is a cross-functional team, where the team strategizes how an idea reaches the implementation stage. There are no team leaders to assign tasks. However, there is a Scrum Master who is the coach to guide the team regarding various aspects of agile practice and a PO or product owner who guides the team

Why is there a need for Agile Practice?

It was in the 1990’s, when PC computing became popular, it was a common experience for businesses to face a lag or delay between the development of a software and the actual need for it. In fact, it was quite common for software development to take nearly three years. This impacted the businesses negatively because by the time they had the solution, the entire business scenario had undergone drastic changes and the software was of little use. This drawback of software development led to frustrating businesses operating in a variety of areas.

In 2001, various like-minded individuals got together at Utah for the Snowbird meeting. Brainstorming led to a common conclusion for addressing this issue. This was basically developing a working software that could be delivered to the end-user. The end user would be in a position to evaluate the benefits of the software and check if it fulfilled his needs. The user would be in a position to provide feedback to the developer to iterate and modify the software according to his requirements.

Seeking quick feedback and iterating the product to meet the needs of the client became the basis of Agile Practices.

Agile Practice as we now know it can be understood as a process wherein you:

  • Perform an Activity
  • Measure the Output
  • Apply the necessary modifications
  • Repeat steps 1-3 until you achieve the desired output.

Although Agile Practices have become a mainstay of the software development industry, recent studies reveal that organizations are no longer restricting agile practices to IT.. In fact, 2018 has witnessed organizations opting for a broader approach, adopting Agile Practices at an overall organizational level.

As per Harvard Business Review, agile practices have made their place in the following areas:

  • R&D 83%
  • Production & Operations 82%
  • Customer Service and Support 79%
  • Marketing & Communications 79%
  • Sales 78%
  • HR, Finance, and Administration 78%

In the recently conducted Business Agility Survey in which 394 respondents from 29 countries participated, it was found that most of the participating companies are facing issues with transforming the existing culture and processes. Hence, there was felt a need to adopt agile practices in support functions for the complete organizational transformation.

A peek into 2019 reveals that this year there will be thrust in agility being practiced in areas such as:

Human Resources

Agile Practices in various HR functions such as hiring, career paths, training, performance management, etc. will help the organization in its overall transformation to an agile system.

Finance

Shorter market cycles have necessitated the need for improved efficiency in processes such as rolling budgets, better forecasting of market conditions, etc. Agility in finance will empower organizations to leverage data and analytics efficiently unleashing new opportunities.

Portfolio Management

Agile Portfolio Management helps in aligning strategies as it offers more visibility and collaboration.

Product Development

Agility in product development aims at providing project management with a new working methodology so that they can understand and prioritize their tasks and deliver the highest value to the clients.

As is apparent, the way ahead for organizations is adopting Agile Methodologies in a holistic manner. However, a comprehensive change such as this is easier said than done! One of the best ways forward is by engaging a professional “Agile Coach.”

Agile coaching will help transform the mindsets and mental models that the individuals in an organization have cultivated over the years. An agile coach focuses on changing the small, everyday decisions taken thereby impacting the bigger or more critical decisions taken in the organization.

For holistic changes in your organization, you will need to focus on agility being adopted in:

  • Technical practices such as coding
  • Process and management practices
  • Cultivating the agile way of thinking among individuals in the organization.

Although agile practices work perfectly for specific tasks, the problem arises when the agile methodology is applied to multiple dependent teams as one of the shortcomings of Agile is scaling.

Organizations can resolve the issue of scalability by adopting SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework).

How SAFe works?

SAFe allows for flexibility by taking a long-term view of the products and timeframes. It is a framework that empowers complex organizations adopt, lean agile software and systems development that is scalable.

SAFe works by identifying and minimizing inter-team dependencies. This enables the teams to work independently for a limited period of time.

An example of SAFe practice can be seen in a manufacturing company.

The manufacturing company releases products into the market. Having a long-term view of the project enables:

  • Sales and marketing divisions to assess the date of release
  • Finance to plan the budget and funding
  • The stakeholders and customers get a peek into the future at a fairly accurate level.

SAFe is being adopted by most large organizations globally because it offers:

  • Faster time to market
  • Enhances productivity
  • Improves quality
  • Boosts employee engagement

Looking Ahead

Agility is not just a set of fancy vocabulary or following some fixed steps. It is a complete transformational change that impacts the mindset of every individual in the organization. Proactive collaboration, team spirit, flexibility are the needs of the hour if an organization is looking for holistic agility. And, holistic agility is the way forward for any organization.

If you are looking for an agile transition, V2Softwill be happy to help! We are a leading company that provides software solutions. We have a team of experienced agile coaches who will help your organization transition seamlessly into the agile framework.

Let’s Talk!Contact Us to have one of our experts reach out and discover how we can help you with your challenges.