Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What do leaders want from agile?

Jim Highsmith has a suscint posting on the title question: "What do leaders want from agile", so I thought I would pass it along: click here.

Mr Highsmith posits these four answers, gleaned from his recent and continuing networking in the business, but--as of now--provides no companion strategy, thus a work in progress:

  • Are eager to understand their role beyond delivery
  • Want to explore how to expand Agile concepts outside IT
  • Are figuring out ways to be more responsive to business and technology opportunities
  • Are eager to connect with other leaders and managers.
It's not hard to see the value in these four "wants".

Agile has been delivery centric focusing as it dows on quality, timeliness, and faithfulness to user needs. But of course, delivery is only the end of earned value and the beginning of business value. It's natural that everyone wants to contribute to business value, and so the first place to look is in product support and maintenance--those things that enhance the brand and attract users.

To get beyond IT, agile will be challenged by the more structured world of projects that have to meet ordained specifications so that all the parts have fit and function with the larger scope. One can't be a too evolutionary and emergent when building software for safety centric systems, for instance, like flight controls.

Agile is already one of the most responsive methodologies, so perhaps this is not the highest priority

A lot of managers are not comfortable with, nor do they understand, the non-predictability of agile scope, even if they buy into the predictability of iterative delivery and capped investment. A lot of incentive systems and business scorecards are simply not compatible with emergent scope. Thus, a lot of work to be done here.