Bring Agile to the Whole Organization

Terry Olaes

I Used to be the [H] News Guy
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Nov 27, 2006
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Agile methodology is pretty much the de facto software development project management framework nowadays (you can go here to learn more about Agile if you're not familar with it). Harvard Business Review takes a look at extending Agile methods into more traditioanal towers, such as HR or Finance. It does sound odd to think of Iterations and Stories in a tax management context but what manager wouldn't want continuous improvement in their organization?

As the nature of software continues to shift towards continuous delivery, we are able to create a new type of conversation with the marketplace – a continuous one. We deploy products, observe, measure, interview, learn, and optimize in hours, not months. Decisions are made quickly. Directions shift overnight. To support this rapid, iterative optimization of our business the internal organizations that staff, fund, manage, and reward our people need to exhibit that same level of agility. “The way we’ve always done it” starts to put the management tier in direct conflict with the potential of the execution teams.
 

4saken

[H]F Junkie
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Sep 14, 2004
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I'm a believer. Coming from a company that was a "The way we've always done it" to being at a Finance company who has been Agile/Scrum/Sprinting for almost 4 years now, I am amazed at the increase in productivity and proficiency across all departments, not just IT. Even mundane day to day tasks/projects no matter how small or 'unimportant' they seem have begun to benefit from us continuing to push this philosophy downstream.
 

steakman1971

2[H]4U
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Nov 22, 2005
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I've been in software development for years and have never truly worked in an agile environment. Management once decided that it meant "everyone gets stuff done faster". I have friends using it, with proper management support, and it sounds like it would be a better way of running the shop.
My experience - the team at the top have to embrace it or you are just screwed.
 

Quix

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Jun 12, 2011
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I'm under the impression that all management trends are total bull. I expect we'll all be hearing about how "Agile" is terrible because it causes poor quality output or massive stress or something else. It's just like 6-sigma. I think certain systems work in certain situations, but if you try to apply one idea out across everything you're totally doomed to failure and that seems to be exactly how management-types like to do things. Without actually consulting anyone first, of course.
 

CreepyUncleGoogle

Supreme [H]ardness
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Mar 10, 2013
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Like almost anything else, it's a spinny way to add fluffy terminology to "get organized" and "work harder peons!"
 

atp1916

[H]ard|DCoTM x1
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Jun 18, 2004
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Customer interaction is critical throughout the development lifecycle, but that doesn't mean you go and do something stupid like try Agile on anything larger than a side project.
 

JaccoW

Weaksauce
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Jun 1, 2014
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100
Agile often fails because people without proper understanding try to implement an idea that has shown to offer incredible improvements in other places without understanding what they want to change first.
And more importantly, how long it took the successful companies to properly implement it. Successful companies often take a few decades to lead up to a proper implementation.

Agile is not the goal, it's a tool to get to a more efficient, more innovative and more flexible organization. Some cases however, will hardly benefit from such a change. (source)

Or as a commenter in that blog said:
"Another very good reason for not going Agile is “Going Agile because everyone else is, and you fear that you will be seen as ‘behind the times’ if you don’t.”

Similarly, Six Sigma provides a philosophy and a toolset to analyze the organization and from there you can decide where you are lagging, where you are ahead and where your next step should be. What you should do is not part of Six Sigma.
'What' is a decision that is based on personal preferences of the company and its people.
 

JaccoW

Weaksauce
Joined
Jun 1, 2014
Messages
100
I'm under the impression that all management trends are total bull. I expect we'll all be hearing about how "Agile" is terrible because it causes poor quality output or massive stress or something else. It's just like 6-sigma. I think certain systems work in certain situations, but if you try to apply one idea out across everything you're totally doomed to failure and that seems to be exactly how management-types like to do things. Without actually consulting anyone first, of course.
Classic (project) management error. This is usually the main reason why a change project fails.

Management trends are not necessarily all bullshit because they offer solutions to certain organizational challenges that come with changing times.
Can you imagine not using e-mail, IM or online systems such as databases anymore? That only works in smaller teams but as soon as you work with global teams, 50+ people and people in different shifts you need different ways of managing everything.
 

oROEchimaru

Supreme [H]ardness
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Jun 1, 2004
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4,662
I went to agile training. I was responding to a page (work for a hospital IT) to a critical issue. I was "talked to" for using my smart phone during the training from a person that was on their laptop surfing the internet the whole time. Thats all I remember.
 

oROEchimaru

Supreme [H]ardness
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Jun 1, 2004
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one benefit of agile is changing the layout of cubicles into more collaborative spaces.
 
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