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Rethinking Mobility: A Business Leader’s Guide to an Agile Enterprise

 

By now, business leaders are well aware of the buzz surrounding agile transformation, and the positive impact it promises to have across an organization. Fast-moving agile start-ups are showing great success in business by capturing market share from well-established enterprises. In comparison, enterprise leaders who chose to follow their mobile-first peers are seemingly missing the mark in their agile transformations.

 

Agility requires time, buy-in, dedicated resources, and for enterprises, there is a unique set of obstacles in the way. For business leaders wanting to begin the agile transformation process in 2020, it is crucial to have a strong understanding of everything related to agile. Leaders need to know what agile is, how it works, and how to scale its methodologies in an enterprise environment. Even an understanding of how agile affects traditional risk and change management processes is necessary for success. 

 

The following blog post is a business leader’s guide to agile transformation. We’ve curated a list of our top articles that will address common concerns and questions leaders may have about agile to help them gain a better understanding of the methodology, its risks, and how to develop holistic strategies for a successful transformation. 

 

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Building an Agile Transformation Strategy: Getting Started

Agile is more than just a methodology; it’s a mindset. An organization can not simply “go” agile overnight; in fact, going agile entails a minimum five to 10-year plan that overtime transforms an organization’s mindset, invokes cultural change, and involves the implementation of dedicated resources across the board. Failure to fully transform into an agile organization is often due to a lack of knowledge on the methodology itself, what it is, and what it entails. 

 

This article will address the gap in understanding and will act as a primer on developing an agile transformation strategy, explicitly providing a high-level overview of the following:

 

  • What is Agile
  • Agile Terminology
  • Four Core Agile Values
  • How Agile Works

 

If an organization wants to become agile, they can not pick and choose what aspects of the mindset they want to implement and discard the others. To truly experience the benefits of agile, an organization has to be prepared to dedicate 100 percent of their time and resources to the transformation. There is no benefit in an organization “going” agile for the sake of going agile.

 

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How To Scale Agile In Enterprise Environments

Scaling agile is one of the most challenging obstacles for enterprises. A methodology focused on iterative decision-making, where requirements and solutions develop through collaboration between multiple teams, traditionally favors small groups. However, agile development has become increasingly popular with larger organizations across almost all industries. 

 

 According to the 13th Annual State of Agile Report

  •  97 percent of enterprise respondents report practicing some degree of agile process 
  • 73 percent of enterprise respondents say they have planned or started a DevOps project 
  • 46 percent of respondents are using agile methods to manage outsourced development projects 
  • 40 percent of respondents indicate they plan to use agile practices in outsourced projects in the next 24 months

 

For many enterprise organizations, agility holds a high standing on the list of priorities. In response, enterprises are restructuring operations in multiple areas across the organization to become more agile. The article below looks at how to scale agile in enterprise environments, specifically covering: 

 

  • Current trends in enterprise agility 
  • Significant challenges enterprises face in scaling agile 
  • Frameworks for scaling agile in enterprise environments 
  • Successful agile implementation 

 

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How to Select and Develop Individuals for Successful Agile Development Teams

Finding success in agile largely depends on talent, whether developed or recruited. Great agile development teams don’t necessarily require the most experienced individuals; instead, they hinge on the right values and mindsets. Thriving agile team dynamics explicitly rely on a management culture of mentorship and growth mentality, as well as team members who embody distinct personal characteristics and values. 

 

The following article explores how to build top-performing agile development teams, as well as the structures and conditions necessary for these teams to move fast and actualize the full potential of an agile team dynamic.

 

When put into practice correctly, agile development teams almost always result in heightened team productivity and morale, faster time to market with better quality products, and lower risk. For organizations looking to build successful agile development teams, senior executives must step away from the outdated command-and-control team dynamics that are quickly becoming unsuitable for the rapid changes of modern business frameworks. 

 

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How to Manage Software Development Risks in an Agile Environment

 

While the inherent cadence and iterative nature of agile practices make them well suited for the management of a wide range of risks familiar with software development, these practices can also instill fear in those tasked with driving and safeguarding process changes. In an agile environment, risk management doesn’t have to involve the formal documentation and meetings of traditional development settings. Instead, risk management is inherent in scrum roles, sprints, and events. However, threats are still prevalent in many agile environments. Often, these risks are a result of project team mistakes, planning errors, failures in process, and unexpected changes as products evolve. 

 

This article addresses five software development risks and how they can be managed to mitigate delays, mistakes, and other barriers to shipping a successful product. The key to managing agile software development risks is to ensure your process encourages flexibility. A flexible process helps team members adapt quickly to changing product needs, promotes rapid and frequent delivery, and contains change management controls.

 

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Agile Transformation Challenges: 6 Mis-steps That Slow Down Change

As the number of enterprises deciding to embark on an agile journey increases, how many of them are successful? The number of obstacles that stand in the way of enterprises achieving desired results is exponentially higher than those faced by start-ups. Some challenges, like size, are beyond their control; however, there are common challenges that enterprises can avoid if they know what to address. 

 

This post will look at six agile transformation challenges that slow down organizational change, including failing to create buy-in around a goal and forgetting the importance of culture. Educating the organization on how to drive an agile transformation, learning from the mistakes of enterprises who have previously attempted to transform, and respecting the complexity of this transformation, are the first steps to setting your organization up for success.

 

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Building a DevOps Culture: DevOps Principles and Methodologies

DevOps emerged from a set of agile practices promoting collaboration and communication across development and operations teams. Today, every enterprise needs to be agile enough to respond to fluctuating market and business climates, customer demands, competitive strains, and regulatory conditions with reliable digital solutions. In modern society, it’s not a matter of how quickly technology companies will overtake long-standing enterprises, but how those enterprises will rebuild business processes to become technology companies. 

 

Enterprise services, product offerings, and applications, in particular, are so elaborate and formed of various technologies, databases, and devices that DevOps is quickly becoming a requisite methodology for delivering business value to customers continuously and efficiently. 

This article is intended to help build a stronger understanding of DevOps, how it operates, and the business value of building a DevOps culture. 

 

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DevOps and Change Management in the Enterprise World

One of the more prevalent challenges enterprises face is how to ensure changes (be it logistical or technical) impact the business positively. Traditionally, change management processes such as Information Technology Infrastructure Libraries (ITIL), for example, are used to implement these changes effectively. However, as DevOps initiatives have gained momentum in recent years, promising more frequent and faster development, organizations are struggling to find a balance between the two seemingly conflicting goals from each method. One offers continuous integration and delivery, while the other focuses on following a protocol, ensuring changes integrate with larger business initiatives, and mitigating the risk of oversight. 

 

This article examines how DevOps and change management can coexist in an enterprise context and how the two strategies can work more closely together and automate the deployment process. 

 

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What Other Industry Experts are Saying

The Wisdom of Transformations: How Successful CEOs Think About Change

Embarking on a transformation is one of the most critical decisions a CEO will ever make. It requires big commitments, both internally and externally, and puts the spotlight on their ability to lead and deliver. This article from McKinsey explores how CEOs can commit to transforming, lead the transformation from the front, and sustain a new way of working.

When Waterfall Principles Sneak Back Into Agile Workflows

AgileFall is an ironic term for program management where you try to be agile and lean, but you keep using waterfall development techniques. This article from Harvard Business Review discusses how teams can address this issue to ensure they stay true to agile practices, giving themselves the best chance to enjoy the benefits that come with it.

10 Agile Project Management Tips From the Masters

Leaders who truly want to transform their culture around agile should look to the masters. This article from the Enterprisers Project looks to several experts for advice on how they succeed with agile project management in their organizations. 

The CIO’s role in driving agile transformation

CIO’s have a unique opportunity to evolve their agile processes to transform how businesses and technologists collaborate and drive results. This article from CIO takes a look at some of the leadership roles the CIO should take on to drive agile transformation.  

Is Agile Really Worth It? Evidence Says Yes, If You Do These 4 Things

For leaders still skeptical of whether the investment agile requires—time, people, budget, energy—is worth it in the end, this article from Forbes presents some solid proof that if done correctly, it certainly is.

Agile in 2020

Becoming an agile enterprise is no easy task. While it may seem straightforward to learn and understand, agility is challenging to master. For business leaders, becoming agile should be about more than wanting to follow a trend but rather wanting to change fundamental business processes to provide more value to customers. For leaders who take the time and commit to incremental change, learning, and ongoing improvement, agile transformations can set off a chain of positive results.

 

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Chris Ciligot
Chris Ciligot