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Posts tagged ‘agile adoption’

The PATH: a model to facilitate the diagnosis of the Agile maturity level

Pyxis created the PATH model to facilitate the diagnosis of the Agile maturity level within a team in order to recommend the appropriate intervention. PATH is:

  • An intervention approach within the organization;
  • A model allowing to lessen the impact of an Agile transition.

PATH is an acronym for Process-Added value-Technologies-Human, the 4 dimensions of software development.

Processes: Efficiently deliver value with a simple process adapted to the project’s needs (lowest cost within time).

Added value: Deliver functionalities and maximize their business value (prioritization and flexibility).

Technologies: Deliver quickly and consistently with appropriate engineering practices (sustainable pace and skills development).

Human: Deliver at a sustainable pace and in harmony while promoting team work (collaboration and communication).

In addition to the dimensions, the PATH model introduces 3 influence levels—vision, funnelling and emergence—that, when applied to all 4 dimensions, produces 12 intervention areas.

Vision

The ‘Vision’ level shows the orientation to meet established objectives. This level is generally linked to the strategic vision of the organization. The vision represents the objectives to achieve.

For instance:

Maximization of return on investment:

  • Connection between the IT group and business units, and globally between all stakeholders
  • Development of inter-project synergies in order to adopt best practices and pool them
  • Management of simple and adaptable projects in order to reduce administration fees
  • Capacity to innovate in order to be equipped with the tools required for the organization to evolve
  • Capacity to anticipate in order to gain a competitive edge
  • Greater respect for budget allowance

Maximization of a cooperation and collaboration culture:

  • Better team organization
  • Evolution of the strategy and change culture
  • Adaptation of the leadership model

Performance:

  • Quick project execution compared to traditional approaches
  • Quality improvement of software delivered
  • Establishment of parameters allowing to measure performance
  • Adaption of the competency model and expertise development
  • Process implementation to select initiatives

Funnelling

The main objective of the ‘Funnelling’ level is to implement mechanisms promoting collaboration (e.g. communities of practice, wikis, and blogs).

This level:

  • Allows to implement a communication approach in order to make the vision visible
  • Allows to make sure the field practices (emergence) are aligned with the objectives established at the ‘Vision’ level

Therefore, funnelling allows the emergence of the best practices arising from development teams as well as the dissemination of these practices to all groups that may benefit from them. Therefore, the ‘Funnelling’ level acts as an information catalyst and aggregate.

Globally, the objective of this level is to ensure reuse of:

  • Tools
  • Practices
  • Experience acquired by stakeholders

Emergence

The ‘Emergence’ level is the level for project teams developing software solutions. It is important to implement new development processes and train team members on how to apply Agile principles.

At this level, transformations imply:

  • New ways of doing
  • A behaviour oriented towards collaboration in order to achieve established objectives
  • The implementation of methods allowing to obtain best results

Seven wrong reasons to adopt Agile

Picture by eir@siIn conversation with potential clients, I almost always ask them the following question: “Why do you want to move to Agile?” and in most circumstances their answer makes sense. I would get answers such as:

  • We are hoping to improve productivity;
  • We aim to decrease time to market;
  • Turn over has been high and we wish to implement an approach that will increase employee morale;
  • We need to reduce costs;
  • Etc.

And then, I get what I would call “wrong answers”. Those answers address my question at face value but also show that the decision has not been evaluated for more than thirty seconds. Here are 7 “wrong reasons” to adopt Agile. Go ahead – share yours!

1. We recently attended a conference and Agile is becoming more popular. If others are doing it, so should we.

2. Because Gartner and Forrester say so.

3. Because employees asked us to do so.

4. Some of our people are available to experiment with a new approach.

5. Our competitor is gaining market share and they are using Agile. We need to use the same approach if we want to be able to compete.

6. We produce too much documentation.

7. Because our boss told us to do so.

Other interesting articles:

Destination: Agile Top Eight Reasons Why Organizations Are Making the Switch

3 Reasons Why I Would Not Do Agile Project Management

Introducing Agile Methods: Mistakes to Avoid

Why Agile doesn’t sell with Management ?

11 Ways Agile Adoptions Fail

Gartner Predicts 2010: Agile and Cloud Impact Application Development Directions

Gartner studied the market and attempt to predict trends in their latest report: Predicts 2010: Agile and Cloud Impact Application Development Directions.

As organizations seek to improve productivity and reduce application operating and maintenance costs, we will continue to see an evolution of software development tools, platforms and practices. To take advantage of this, organizations must shift structures and practices while embracing new technologies — a challenging proposition.

Gartner’s analysts (Thomas Murphy and David Norton) predict that by 2012 “agile development methods will be utilized in 80% of all software development projects”. The authors explain that although Scrum will continue gaining in popularity over the coming years, organizations will not be successful in their transition unless they move toward a team-focused culture. As was mentioned in their previous report, very few organizations use a pure-Scrum approach and most rely on an hybrid approach (waterfall and Agile).

The report highlights that organizations struggle to implement true collaboration in the context of globally distributed teams. A situation that has amplified in recent years with outsourcing and off-shoring of software development projects.

In the other hand, the report confirms that teams who have successfully moved to Agile do see productivity improvements especially in “the flexibility of the development team to respond to shifting requirements”. This is especially true for web-based application developments where rapid responses to a changing environment is critical.

The authors point out that organizations need to properly invest in such a transition in order to achieve success.

Organizations that do not make use of key agile practices and do not invest in training and supportive tools’ infrastructure will find that a shift to pseudoagile, while potentially delivering a short-term productivity bump, will end in long-term declines in quality and productivity (…) the promise of four times the improvements in overall productivity has been and will be achieved by select organizations.

Gartner’s report highlights that “development organizations have been making a shift toward agile methods, but this is still slow to move beyond development, and often is a mixture of waterfall practices utilizing an agile or iterative project cycle”. The authors also recommend to “look for opportunities to utilize agile development practices, but recognize that it requires changes and commitment on the part of business and IT”.

Gartner concludes with a few recommendations to help organizations maximize their return from an Agile transition.

  • Recognize the cultural changes that are at the heart of agile.
  • Don’t allow agile excitement to drive cowboy-coding practices.
  • Agile requires discipline.
  • Recognize that scrum is only a partial solution, and focus on a collection of practices.
  • Find tools that enable collaboration and help automate repeatable, consistent practices.

Related documents:

Gartner’s “The Current State of Agile Method Adoption”

As part of a market research for one of our customer, I came across this report published by Gartner in December 2008.

As the pace of agile adoption increases, development organizations must understand the different levels of agile maturity. CIOs and product and development managers need to assess where they fit on the maturity scale, and which level offers the biggest return in their organizations.

The report presents the 6 levels (from 0 to 5) of Gartner’s Agile Maturity Model and corrects a few myths.

  • Agile adoption and penetration rates are being overestimated. Although the number of companies that are adopting agile practices is, indeed, reasonably high, most organizations use agile in a very small percentage of their overall work.
  • An agile maturity framework is necessary to help make the case for adoption, process improvement and benchmarking.
  • Current adoption rates for agile and iterative methods are between 15% and 25%, when taking into account penetration and maturity, with waterfall still the dominant approach. The pace of agile adoption is increasing.

The report concludes that :

As part of an agile readiness assessment, IT development organizations should access their current agile practice maturity at technical, project management and organizational levels. Practices should be assessed for, among other things, their effectiveness and adoption levels in the organization. Adoption should follow initial pilots, and should normally be Level 2, with the aim of developing a consistent set of agile practices at Level 3.

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