Chapter 20: Expanding the Use of Agile in Your Organization – Agile Productivity Unleashed, 2nd Edition

CHAPTER 20: EXPANDING THE USE OF AGILE IN YOUR ORGANIZATION

Once you have a few successful ‘runs on the board’ with Agile initiatives within your organization, the next step is to establish a strategy for broadening the awareness of the value of Agile approaches across the organization – and encouraging other areas of the organization to trial these approaches.

This strategy should include four key elements:

  1. Educating the organization on the business value of Agile approaches.
  2. Encouraging specific people in the organization to trial these approaches in their area.
  3. Helping interested areas of the organization in selecting the Agile approaches that are best suited to their activities.
  4. Providing assistance (and, where appropriate, experienced staff members) to help each area in their initial application of these approaches.

Educating the organization about Agile approaches and encouraging selected people to trial Agile approaches can both be achieved through a number of channels, including: networking through the business owners who have seen the power – and success – of these approaches firsthand; holding internal ‘roadshow’ events to show people the tangible outcomes from your Agile work; and identifying an internal champion within senior management with sufficient influence to encourage its use.

Helping interested areas in selecting Agile approaches can be done using The Agile approaches selection tool, along with the resources listed in the Bibliography for any additional information that may be required.

The flexibility of Agile approaches allows each area of your organization to apply the most appropriate Agile practices and techniques (and combinations thereof) to suit their specific business activities – and to adopt Agile approaches at their own pace. When an area of your organization is ready to trial Agile approaches, providing assistance for each area’s initial Agile work is an important element in ensuring that their first exposure to these approaches is as positive and productive as possible.

Every time employees apply Agile approaches, they grow more confident in their use. The initial gut reaction to resist empowering the delivery team is replaced by the proven knowledge that this is an extremely effective way to achieve successful outcomes. The inclination to want everything delivered at once is replaced by an appreciation for prioritizing outputs by the business value that they can bring to the organization.

As new areas in the organization trial Agile approaches, they can benefit greatly from involving one or two people on the Agile team who have been through the process before. These experienced Agile resources can act as advisers and facilitators in the process, ensuring the approaches are followed correctly and allaying any concerns that staff might have as they move away from their traditional ways of working. Furthermore, once these areas have been through a couple of Agile initiatives, they can take on the adviser role for others in the organization. This not only creates a larger (and stronger) network of Agile practitioners within the organization, it decentralizes the responsibility for any one area to be involved in each Agile initiative.

The bottom line is that your organization can achieve real productivity gains using Agile practices and techniques. The challenge is to implement Agile approaches in a way that best meets the specific needs, constraints and dynamics of your organization.