Introducing Agile

Agile practices need to be introduced carefully into an organisation. I have multiple experiences of working in organisations that want to change and the path to change is long and hard. I have discussed this in one of my other articles.

Agile itself is definitely worth trying to introduce but the change required takes the following form:

  1. Management practices (e.g. scrum, sprints, retrospectives)
  2. Technical practices (e.g. pair programming, test driven development, unit testing, continuous delivery)
  3. Culture changes (e.g. cross functional teams, personal accountability)

Always start at the top of the list above.

Management practices are the easiest to introduce. Send your people on training course. Let them understand new ways of working. Then start to create a group of people that have shown the most interest in the training. Ensure this group is cross functional and cross department. This will give these people a conduit of communication into different areas of the organisation that they did not previously have and it will be directed through people who want what they want which is to improve their knowledge and skill-sets in agile.

Technical practices actually bring in much more value than the management practices but they cannot come first unless developers are brining them in. However, this is not really coming in under the guise of agile if that is the case but under the guise of a better way of working. Developers also tend to pick up new ideas and try them out all of the time so they are all at different stages of their own journey. This leads to lack of consistency and approach which is never ideal.

The cultural change is what comes last and this takes time, lots of time. And once you have this can you really only say that you are truly agile. This is all about trusting your people to make the right decisions themselves and not to manage them like a factory from the industrial revolution (command and control).

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