Adapting agile in the Enterprise

I’ve created a new area on the site to house any articles, whitepapers and ideas I may have that I can share. Over the last couple of weeks I challenged myself to create a proposal at work on how to adapt teams to a more agile process of application development. With any organization, the challenge is always around change. Sure, you can throw numbers at the PTB and do a fancy song and dance about how great agile is. You can even have the organization buy into the principles and concepts. The trouble is when the rubber hits the road, it’s usually business as usual because either the teams haven’t worked in this type of collaborative environment or there’s just too much pressure to deliver and anything that may change the way things are done will shift that.

Enter my workshop proposal. It’s a fairly simple premise to seclude the team off from the rest of the organization for a controlled amount of time, provide them with whatever technical expertise you can (even if it’s outside the company), and in a very short time (no more than 2 weeks) turn them into a walking, talking, effective machine that delivers quality production code, even if it is only the first (of many) iterations. It’s like teaching a baby to walk (or in this case, monkeys using tools for the first time). You can’t expect your 8 month old to run the Boston Marathon. So don’t throw a project team together and expect them to pump out a killer-app on their first outing. You have to take baby steps. This proposal (which we’ve proven out in a few pilot scenarios) seems to be a way to do this unobtrusively. It’s had effective results and I’m certain it can work. Sure, it’s not the silver bullet any project is team is looking for but at least it’s a way to show how to get somewhere rather than a VP directive of “just do it” (which can resonate at times, but it can still be unclear as to how).

Anyways, check out my workshop paper here and feel free to adapt it to your organization.