Chapter 2 - The Business Case for Agility

November 9, 2009 — Posted by Jim Trott

Listen to the webinar audio Chapter 2: The Business Case for Agility

This show continues a chapter by chapter discussion about the new book, Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility, by Alan Shalloway, Guy Beaver, and Jim Trott. 

This show focuses on Chapter 2, The Business Case for Agility. We cover the five most important reasons for going Agile and how it is that understanding the whys of Agile helps you with this transition.

It is important to understand the reasons for going Agile. Perhaps as important is understanding the whys of Agile: It helps you navigate your journey as you make the transition. Here are five of the most important reasons for going Agile:

  1. Deliver value quicker.
    Getting to market quicker is good. It is often possible to deliver some important features in stages. It allows faster return with less investment and that is always good!
  2. Helping customers discover what it is they need.
    Agile is best understood as a process that helps customers and developers discover in stages what it is that software should do. It helps customers focus on specifying what they know and avoid having to guess about requirements that they are not yet sure of. The most important book that covers this is Software by Numbers by Denne and Clelland-Huang.
  3. Better project management.
    Waterfall tends to steer projects based on milestones, which is an inaccurate guide about where a project really is. Agile steers based on working code which is much more accurate.
  4. Improving process faster.
    It would be better if teams learned continually but at least Lean-Agile has them learn after each iteration. Short iterations let teams learn quickly what is working and what is not. It is much better to learn lessons after two weeks rather than after two months! 
  5. Letting your design emerge based on what you are learning.
    While it is often ignored, there is also a technical reason for going Agile. With some discipline and appropriate tools (automated regression testing), it is possible to avoid up front design (almost always wrong or incomplete) and allow design to emerge based on what the team is discovering. This is powerful. There are two good books that describe why this is so:

About Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility

The motivation of this book is to create a bigger picture what teams transitioning to agile need to do. Yes, teams need to understand the mechanics of the approach to get working, but there is more. Management needs to understand how to help teams work together. Business leadership prioritizing the right things to be working on. And there is a need to ensure technical quality so that development can be done in a sustainable way.

We also want to introduce Lean and how it applies to the transition. We don't believe "scaling up" is a very effective approach. Rather, taking a more holistic view is needed to get success. That is how Lean thinking helps.

This is not a book for experienced practitioners but for those who are picking Agile, Scrum, or Lean for software development. We expect you do understand a bit about Agile but not anything about Lean.

For more information see the resource page for the book.

Recommendations

For more information, visit us at https://www.netobjectives.com/

Music used in this podcast is by Bill Cushman at http://ghostnotes.blogspot.com and Kevin McLeod: http://www.incompetech.com/. If you need music, I’d encourage you to subscribe to their feeds.

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About the author | Jim Trott

Jim Trott is a senior consultant for Net Objectives. He has used object-oriented and pattern-based analysis techniques throughout his 20 year career in knowledge management and knowledge engineering. He is the co-author of Design Patterns Explained: A New Perspective on Object-Oriented Design, Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility, and the Lean-Agile Pocket Guide for Scrum Teams.



        

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Al Shalloway
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