Big Agile, the Route Less Travelled

PMI Southern Alberta Chapter

Mike Griffiths is a consultant and trainer who help organizations improve performance through shared leadership, agility and (un)common sense. He maintains the blog LeadingAnswers.com.

Agile methods have been found to be extremely effective when used correctly. A reasonable reaction to witnessing any great performance in an organization is to demand more of it. So a tremendous amount of time, effort and resources have been expended over the last few years on scaling agile for the enterprise with all the new processes and models that can go along with that.

I admire a lot of the work done to scale agile methods in the attempt to replicate the success of the initial “golden teams” to all groups in an organization. Unfortunately, these roll-out attempts largely result in disappointment or failure because the investment and effort have been applied in the wrong place. It is not process we need to scale and duplicate, it is the art of collaboration.

Agile methods are successful when they equip motivated subject matter experts to collaborate in an effective way with minimal process overhead. In attempting to make agile methods scalable, it is tempting to add more process to assist larger-scale coordination. However, that is the last thing we should do. Not that we don’t add more process, just that we add it last, not first--after you have replicated and established collaboration models. Adding process first kills collaboration, and then even the best intentioned and resourced development environment is doomed.

This phenomenon of …

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