See How Agile Can Improve Everyday Operations

Jun 23, 2017 12:41:00 PM / by Eric Taylor

Eric Taylor

computer stock.jpgEver since taking hold in 2001, Agile has done nothing but grow in popularity. This osmosis of the Agile methodology is due to the positive effect is has had on helping organizations of all scope and size become more flexible, react quicker, and improve the quality of their product or service.

By applying Agile to your business, the decisions you make and actions you take will all be focused on maximizing business value delivery. The areas where Agile can have the biggest impact are:

  • Software Delivery
  • Prioritization of Business Needs
  • Building Compliant Products
  • Organizing Product Releases
  • Organizing and Incentivizing Teams
  • Funding New Initiatives


Here are several more specific examples of how using Agile can improve your processes.

Example # 1: Your last software release went into production with a big requirement missing.

  • Without Agile: You perform a thorough review of your entire software development life cycle process; identify every gap where requirements might not be properly documented, coded, or tested; and then add an extensive, multi-step review process to triple-check that every requirement is traceable.
  • With Agile: You hold retrospectives at the team and release levels and determine that you should have more frequent collaboration sessions between the business and IT teams during the sprint. The entire team, business and IT, now have skin in the game to make sure the product delivery is as intended.
  • Agile lets you see that customer collaboration over contract negotiation is the clearer path to business value delivery.

Example # 2: A late-breaking requirement with relatively small impact is revealed with four weeks to go before the scheduled release.

  • Without Agile: The change-management committee will meet to review the new requirement and determine whether to delay the release or continue it without the new requirement being addressed. Given all the impacts at this late stage of the release cycle, no one can see any way to get this new requirement done in time for the release.
  • With Agile: The product owner and the rest of the sprint team will meet with the customer to review the new need, quickly develop a user story with appropriate acceptance criteria, estimate it, and then accept it (because it is relatively small) into the next sprint that starts in a few days. The team expects late-breaking changes and is always working to make the business successful.
  • Agile lets you see that responding to change over following a plan is the clearer path to business value delivery.

Example # 3: It's April, and the marketing department wants a six-month warning (OK, they really want a commitment) on all feature-function coming in the late fall release (seven months from now).

  • Without Agile: The team will perform extensive analysis on the feature set targeted for that release, trying to determine which features will make it into the release. The team has been burned before when it promised too many features; therefore, it will under commit to make sure it doesn't repeat another miss. Given all the slack from the under commitment, the team will fill the time with non-value-added activities rather than push to deliver more. The pace of development will heighten as the deadlines for the release approach.
  • With Agile: The sprint team will collaborate with marketing and explain why smaller, iterative deliveries will get them some features earlier. Additionally, they will all discuss which marketing activities are requiring longer lead times, which features are critical to the market, and then work together to determine ways of shortening these lead times through collaboration, lean planning, and prioritization of key feature sets. The sprint team commits every two weeks to what it can accomplish in the next sprint. Marketing gets a clear view every two weeks of real, working software. The team members are familiar with the two-week cadence and what they can accomplish in that time frame without killing themselves.
  • Your Agile lens lets you see that Agile processes promote sustainable development is the clearer path to business value delivery.

The next time you ask yourself “Is this Agile?” consider whether it is focused on maximizing business value delivery.

Jumpstart your agile assessment 

Topics: ops

Written by Eric Taylor

Eric is a results-oriented IT leader, agile enthusiast, and technical expert with a proven track record in delivering large-scale web and mobile applications while focusing on quality, timelines and people leadership. He has over 19 years of experience in IT in medical, retail, banking and education industries. Eric is a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), has a Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from Bloomsburg University Pennsylvania, and a Masters in Information Science from Penn State University.

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