Being digital in 2018 : be agile everywhere !

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Agile is trendy. Most businesses eventually adopted it, even reluctantly, to deliver their digital initiatives.

The benefits are undisputable. Just to mention the most obvious ones : be sure to stick to changing needs, don’t realize one year after starting the the deliverable does not match the specifications, show the internal or external client progress instead of leaving them in a tunnel effect that may suggest the contrary.

In a more indirect way, there’s also a positive impact on change management. Rather than a big bang, new functionalities are delivered frequently, one by one, making it easier to adapt and lowering the step height for users. Small steps rather than a leap in the dark.

Even if we now that digital is not a matter of technology (or not only) the way technology is delivered matters.

That said, the way agile is being implemented can be improved. First because not everyone is as mature as claimed regarding agility and that many businesses are still doing a kind of “light” agile, poorly mastered. Second because only development teams are involved.

So we have clients and developers working on a weekly pace. A team that organizes on a daily basis through quick stand-up meetings. But what happens when for any reason, an issue need escalation to make a decision, an arbitration ?

In such situation the pace dramatically slows down. One waits for the next scheduled meeting to escalate because they don’t have time to meet at another moment because of overloaded agendas. So they wait for 15 days or a months before stating the issue. State only because sometimes more meetings are needed with people that are even less available and make even slower decisions.

Then the information must do down the ladder.

And meanwhile ? The people supposed to deliver are stopped or moving in the wrong direction.

I indirectly addressed the issue of agile management in a post about remote work. As a matter of fact why do not make the whole organization agile, including management and support functions ?

No matter the function, there are projects to deliver, digital or not. The need to deliver on time, on budget and to stick to the need exists, no matter you’re a developer, an HR or a marketing person.

More : knowing the speed of business today it is not acceptable that information that matter does not reach the manager on a daily basis.

Last : it is not sustainable to have a business working at two paces ar same time, one for management, one for execution. These two models can not live together without frictions at their touchpoint, mostly for speed reasons. I don’t even mention that an exemplary management that would require those who manage to follow the rules they want others to follow.

For all these reasons and many others, in 2018 it’s high time agile spreads beyond development teams.

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