Scaling Agile for Enterprise: Biggest Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
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Applying Agile methods to an organization on an enterprise level can be difficult. Scaling Agile is challenging due to a variety of factors – employees accepting change, proper training and organizational alignment of goals are all crucial to the success of an enterprise Agile transformation. In order to ensure product quality, minimal time-to-market and increased value, avoid these mistakes when embarking on this transformation.
Poor communication. Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make in an Agile transformation is the lack of much needed communication. The process of adopting Agile is a monumental change for an organization to undergo. Transparency and clear goal-setting are both extremely important to ensure that change agents, middle management and Agile teams are aligned and understand individual roles and responsibilities.
Insufficient training. Educating employees about Agile methodologies and best practices is vital to a successful transition. This can be initiated through company workshops, lunch and learns or educational events where your team can hear from Agile experts and thought leaders. It is important to not only educate your team during the Agile transformation, but to also offer ongoing coaching to provide continuous value and consistent reinforcement.
Unrealistic deadlines. Setting unrealistic deadlines for delivery puts stress on your development teams and can cause product quality to suffer. The root of this problem goes back to the first mistake, poor communication. Team input must be taken into account when setting delivery deadlines, or you run the risk of overpromising and under-delivering.
Failure to measure. Measuring team progress is paramount to tracking completeness. Lack of correct measurement and reporting leads to disorganization and will ultimately create a disconnect between delivery expectations and actual capabilities. Utilizing Agile tools, like Rally to plan and measure workload, to-do’s and team capacity will help your team stay on track. Make sure that teams are consistently, clearly reporting their progress so you can easily manage product delivery expectations.
“One size fits all” thinking. While the Scaled Agile Framework provides a model for enterprise Agile transformation, it is up to you to determine how Agile best works within your individual organization. For example, the number of Agile team members that can best deliver for your company, frequency and length of sprints and ideal release timing are subjective. If something is not working for your organization, find out what does and run with it.
Keep these mistakes in mind while undergoing an Agile transformation and you will be better equipped to handle any challenges that arise. Although an enterprise-wide Agile transformation can be bumpy at first, it will ultimately result in a more streamlined, transparent and collaborative process that will create increased value for your organization in the long run.
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