January 14, 2015 Mainframe Agility

Agile for Business Agility

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31020_Agility_blog_231x300_image (2)In my previous blog (Going Agile), I identified the need for executive sponsorship in order to transform into a business agility model.

When you hear of Agile software development, some of the first thoughts that come to mind are Scrum teams and Sprints. But did you know that there are Agile frameworks besides Scrum, such as Kanban? What about Scaled Agile Frameworks? Before you begin the journey to Agile, you first need to know why. Agile software development frameworks alone will not provide business agility. They provide the Software Engineering group with the “how” to get things done. But they don’t address the “what,” “when,” and “why.” These are aspects of other business functions, such as Product Management, that are needed before any Agile work is to begin.

In most software companies, the Product Development (Product Management and Engineering) group is often the largest within the organization. They are the engine that drives the pace of the entire company. The cadence deliverables from Product Development set the pace for the sales cycle, that in-turn impacts the company’s financials. If Product Development can deliver a release sooner it would allow Sales additional time to engage customers within the sales cycle.

So, how could Product Development deliver releases sooner? The Engineering group could use Agile frameworks to deliver releases more frequently, albeit smaller in scope. But how does Product Management provide the input (the what, when and why) to Engineering? And would Marketing be prepared to handle the additional go-to-market campaigns to promote each release? Hopefully you are starting to see that Agile software development frameworks are dependent upon other groups within the organization like Product Management, Marketing, etc. to achieve business agility.

To realize the maximum benefit of a Software Engineering group using Agile frameworks, a business agility model must be adopted across the entire organization. The ability to rapidly respond to changing market opportunities requires all of the business functions to work more closely together, simplify processes and reduce bureaucracy – essentially embracing lean business practices. However, for Agile to have any chance at success, the Engineering group is dependent upon Product Management to provide the inputs of “what,” “when,” and “why.” These two groups form a symbiotic relationship that are at the foundation of the business agility model.

In my next blog, we will discuss the preparation needed before the transformation to Agile begins.


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David Rizzo

David Rizzo is the Vice President of Product Development for Compuware. He has more than 20 years of IT experience with roles in development, architecture and strategic planning.