Big Organizations Need Your Help to Be Agile

Organizational structure can be a major roadblock to agile adoption. Consider that software development, quality assurance, business development, product marketing, etc. are separate organizations. Then it gets worse.

Even within a functional group, organizational silos evolve. For example, within software development there may be a database group, a java apps group, a .Net apps group, etc. They likely use different development methodologies or variations of waterfall.

Your mission is to get them all to adopt something agile like Scrum. Mission impossible, right?

Almost. Such an organization isn’t going to change quickly or easily. Corporate behaviors tend to be deeply entrenched and highly resistant to change.

How fast you can drive a change agenda depends on the degree of senior management support you receive. The more such support you have, the faster you can go.

Let’s assume you don’t have much support — a common scenario. You likely won’t be able to change too much, too fast. Plan on small steps — incremental changes.

You may have to derive stories from a formal business requirements document. You may have to file weekly progress reports in addition to tracking a burndown chart. You may have to deal with a QA organization that does not want to be part of the dev team.

None of this is ideal but if you can live with it and demonstrate success, you’ll be in a better negotiating position for the next project. The key is to be successful and use success as leverage to drive your agile agenda.

Don’t get discouraged and don’t lose sight of your agile goals.

Updated: December 31, 2010 — 5:12 pm