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Driving an Automobile called Agile

Created by Raghunath Angara

Principal Consultant, RCL, Infosys Limited


CxOs today are feeling the pressure to build dynamic companies which can easily adapt to the rapidly changing markets, customer demands and technologies. Their quest for minimizing overall risk, improving quality and reducing production time has made Agile Adoption a part of their organizational goals....

Adopting Agile is, however, a little more complicated than turning on a switch. It is analogous to switching gears on an automobile.  The transition from low gear to high gear is gradual and needs synchronization and dexterity of manipulating the vehicle. Starting from the business drivers, need & commitment of the low gear to the scaled & distributed High Performing Teams of the top gear, the adoption journey takes into account various factors that emphasize hanging mindsets, roles & responsibilities and responses to unforeseen events. Like manual shifting automobiles, Agile adoption too could become complicated very easily, be intimidating and unappealing to inexperienced groups or organizations, and has learning curve. Upon successful adoption of Agile most organizations go into an overdrive mode which allows them to perform at sustained velocity with little or no overhead.

The organizational objectives of high returns on investment with minimal marketable features and total satisfaction can all be easily accomplished or achieved through successful adoption of Agile methods, using the gear shifting analogy. In such a phased approach it becomes easier to track and monitor progress in terms of costs, benefits, satisfaction and collaboration - essentially returns on investment and technical debt.

Global companies tend to focus heavily on the distributed element of Agile methods. The various flavors of Agile, combined with different levels and mechanisms for global distribution, provide organizations with a plethora of options which can be tailored to their specific business needs. Whether distribution occurs within a single geographical location or includes temporal distribution and boundary, the underlying concerns of communication falling through the cracks and process noncompliance play a major role in the successful adoption of Agile methods. Most of these options depend on the structure of the distributed teams and the extent to which they are independent, empowered and self-organized.

In summary, the art of adopting agile in a distributed environment is to gradually shift from the low gears of evaluating the available options to the higher gears of tying these options to the business goals.

Now that we have understood this, let's drive Agile successfully across our respective organizations.

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