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How to scale agile development across organization & industries?

  • Agile methodology is a rising framework for large-scale enterprises but how do you transition your company into an agile framework

 How to Scale Agile Development Successfully

Agile software development has become a benchmark for software product development and services. Right from startups to large organizations, IT companies to government agencies, agile is prominent in every industry. Its adoption has grown from being used by a small number of agile teams within a company to many agile teams, larger teams, and the entire organization itself.  

According to VersionOne 12th Annual State of Agile report, the most prominent challenges when adopting and scaling agile are organizational culture indifference with agile values, organizational resistance to change, and insufficient management support and sponsorship. Despite the challenges, 95% of the survey respondents said their enterprise practices agile development.  How can we address the obstacles?The need to scale agile has given rise to frameworks that provide guidelines for companies including Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Scrum of scrums (SoS), Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), and Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD). 

 

What is Agile Software Development?

Agile Software development as you know is a methodology that is concentrated on iterative decision making where requirements and solutions are developed with the help of collaborations between different teams in the organization. Traditionally preferred by small groups, agile development has become popular among larger organizations across all industries.  

However, a scaled agile development process allows teams to deliver better products faster, efficiently, and with better quality. Scaling agile is still one of the most complicated barriers for organizations. The main reason behind this is how these companies are structured with multiple teams and more complex systems than their smaller counterparts. This article is going to look at how to scale in an enterprise environment and examine the following:
 

  • The latest trends in the enterprise agility 
  • Biggest challenges companies face in scaling agile 
  • Frameworks for scaling agile in corporate environments
  • Successful implementation of agile

5  strategies for scaling agile in the enterprise

Agile methodology is a rising framework for large-scale enterprises but how do you transition your company into an agile framework? In this article, we will provide you with five simple and effective strategies for scaling agile methodology to your particular project, team, and organization.

 

  • Create an MVP

Continuous Delivery (CD) is a software development strategy that delivers high-quality, accessible software to clients. Releasing a minimum viable product (MVP) is important for gaining early feedback and tracking usage patterns to test theories. An MVP will prevent wasting engineering time and maintain features such as gold plating among big software teams. 

  • Create a single product backlog

A product backlog is a set of tasks to finish before you release the code.  Product managers should keep a single group backlog for all teams. Having a single backlog allows you to give attention to high-priority tasks while giving access to all the contributors throughout the project. This prevents any sort of miscommunication and creates a collective project environment. 

  • Employ a large-scale agile framework 

The three major frameworks used in large enterprises are SAFe, DAD, and LeSS. Well-guided, multi-level training, and certifications are ideal for small, expanding practices. Scrum of Scrums (SoS) is another widespread approach due to its acceptance of formal training.  One downside of these frameworks is that they can lead to reevaluating a hierarchical organization, which can be challenging for bigger enterprises.   

All three agile frameworks are based on ideas deriving from scrum testing. The SAFe framework consists of five to nine people and uses program, team, and portfolio levels with two-week scrum techniques in extreme programming methods. At the program level, each team’s scrum has around five to ten SAFe teams as a component of an “agile release train.” The portfolio level represents how managers and agile leaders can use processes like value streams to focus better on features. 

  • Build a collaborative environment

To improve agile teamwork, consider hosting meetings that have the product owner, a developer, and a tester to check requirements and test feature requests on the backlog. The process owner defines the business need, the programmer takes care of explaining the implementation and the tester has to evaluate potential problems. This facilitates different viewpoints while providing group agreement on project standing.  

  • Follow training courses and certifications

The Scaled Agile Academy trains on the team, program, and portfolio stages of SAFe. It offers certificates to managers, administrators, developers, testers as well as consultants.  For DAD, the Disciplined Agile Consortium trains and provides certification to people to become a Disciplined Agilist, Certified Disciplined Agilist or Certified Disciplined Agile Coach. For training on LeSS,  certifications contain Certified LeSS for managers. Programs such as Certified ScrumMaster and Professional ScrumMaster help people review basic Scrum knowledge. 

Challenges with Scaled Agile Development Process in Enterprise 

The advantages of agile development for enterprises are apparent- increase in productivity,  faster delivery speed and time to market,  capacity to manage varying priorities of customers, software quality, and uplifting team confidence.

However, the very size of the enterprise organizations and administrative nature that comes along with such size and present countless challenges in scaling agile. The following are some of the main challenges faced by corporations.

Legacy systems

Legacy systems create a lot of difficulties for several reasons, ranging from the technology to the fact that teams working on these systems have previously worked within silos. From a technical perspective, legacy systems are not designed for agile practices that are focused on quick and frequent delivery. The mindset of the surrounding Legacy systems is equally challenging; this is indicative of larger enterprise challenges that involve skepticism of new approaches and resistance to organizational shift, the “things have always been done this way” mentality. 

Getting Executive Support

Change influences all aspects of a company;  from workflows to satisfying employees. The admin needs to be prepared to address any issues or clashes that might arise in the future during the time of change by delivering constant support and assure that the company stays focused on an agile mindset. This becomes quite difficult as the mindset at the organizational level also needs to be changed as decision-making is often fixed in more rigid, waterfall frameworks. Executive leadership support is not the basis of scaled agile transformation. 

Successful transformations are a result of leadership teams that are committed to organizational change and encouraging innovation and collaboration as new techniques of working are implemented. 

Change Resistance 

One of the most familiar and difficult challenges in the scaled agile development process is resistance to change. In environments where deliveries are extensive and processes are so entrenched and teams are big, it is very tough to implement change that will impact organizational culture and processes. Change resistance can play out in many ways, from skepticism towards the effectiveness of agile methodologies to resistance at the managerial level to change and delay from the bottom-up design. 

Knowledge Acquisition 

Lack of experience is a significant challenge and may include factors such as lack of investment in coaching and training, misconception about agile concepts and their purpose, general organizational and unskilled personnel in implementing and delivering with the help of agile frameworks.

For an organization to scale agile in the right way. A training and coaching schedule on agile values and processes is necessary  A training and coaching program on agile values and processes is necessary as lack of guidance leads to confusion and poor implementation. Without a comprehensive understanding of agile, organizations that try to scale will face significant challenges.

To address this trouble, provide agile training opportunities for team members, and spread awareness with team meetups and conferences. Make sure you have ongoing coaching support for teams in the process of an agile transformation. Getting rid of old habits is more difficult than starting fresh, so a lot of support must be provided to those rooted in the old method of working. 

Engineering Excellence

Strong engineering culture is essential while scaling agile. In short, a lack of strong engineering practice comes in the way of teams productivity and results in poor quality deliverables. Technical debt is faced due to the pressure of continuous delivery and the issue gets worse as more teams should coordinate their agile efforts. When pressed for time due to extra interactions between teams, teams may skip essential quality assurance activities, and quality degrades.

When scaling agile practices, organizations should implement engineering excellence by employing end-to-end test automation, creating a cross-functional DevOps culture,   growing skilled team members, collaborating across teams constantly, and utilizing visual radiators to track the quality of the code. 

Tools and Infrastructure

Companies have to invest in modern tools and infrastructure to sustain fast and frequent agile deliveries.  The intricacy of programs and integration of delivering across the teams rises with scaled agile adoption, so existing tools, and infrastructure might be obsolete or insufficient in meeting the needs of agile ways of delivering products.

Latest software development practices like continuous integration and deployment, containerization, behavior-driven development, cloud-native apps, design review, and agile planning are often a crucial part of the modern agile delivery process. The demand for tools and infrastructure to sustain these practices grows with the increasing number of agile teams and the requirement to synchronize work. Along with that, what's also important are workplace facilities, video conference tools, virtual meeting rooms, and collaboration tools to help a distributed agile and collaboration tools when scaling agile, even if teams are collocated. 

How Evon Suggest Successful Agile Scaling 

The implementation of agile in an organizational environment for internal projects has helped organizations enhance software quality, increase team productivity, take care of priorities better and increase time to market. But companies still face problems with scaling agile past small teams or groups of teams.  The challenges mentioned in this article are only a handful of challenges that interfere with the wider adoption of agile methods. 

Scaling Agile requires expanding agile practices beyond software development and IT to the rest of the business. It can bring about many benefits at every step of the organization but it also brings more challenges than the simple process of implementing Agile in a single team. Even with these challenges,  implementing a scaled agile development process in the corporate environment is possible. as the successes of some organizations indicate. A few key factors for its success are executive support, organizational way of thinking, shifts in delivery, consistent process, and the right training and coaching should be areas to stress for companies that are looking to enforce agile or scale their agile efforts past single or small teams. 

Evon Technologies is an offshore software consulting company that will assist you in executing the Scaled Agile development process and deal with its challenges. If you are here looking for web and app developers or a software development company in India that has previously worked using Agile project management. Then you are in the right place, contact us today or drop an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

 

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