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How To Get The Best Out Of Agile At Enterprise Level

Using agile methodologies can transform the way you and your teams work, but are you using them as well as you should? As Sanjay Zalavadia of Zephr explains, the demands of the enterprise mean a different approach to agile is needed if you want to get the most of our your collaborations.

Every organization is unique. Businesses come in different sizes, ranging from a few workers to thousands of employees, and they use a variety of processes to deliver products and services to their customers. However, the benefits offered by agile testing methodologies and development approaches are something that all businesses should try to achieve.

Agile offers a means to create quality applications more efficiently and effectively. But changing over to these strategies isn’t easy. For an enterprise especially, pursuing agile can be a different experience to smaller organizations, and it’s important for enterprise operators to understand what types of challenges and considerations they may be facing.

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Adaptability to Change

One of agile’s main tenets is the ability to adapt to changes. This flexibility helps to ensure that any adjustments can be accounted for quickly, creating a unique, positive user experience. However, facilitating this type of adaptability is considerably challenging for enterprises. Larger organizations simply don’t have the same agility or fast response rate as smaller businesses. When an enterprise needs to make a move, its size can hinder it from making necessary alterations.

Enterprises also have a number of mission-critical systems and practices that are linked together, making it hard to make changes on the fly. As industry expert Archie Roboostoff told TechTarget, enterprises that have been building with waterfall testing development approaches have big, bloated processes that are difficult to overcome when transitioning to agile. It’s important for organizations to work out the best way to roll out agile in a way that empowers change, even within a large organization.

Going Lean

Agile’s tenets considerably shook up the software development industry. Since each organization is different, a number of subsets were created as a means to support agile operations while capitalizing on business requirements and capabilities. As VentureBeat contributor Marcio Cyrillo noted, there are a number of pitfalls involved with agile’s main principles that enterprises have a difficult time with.

For example, comprehensive documentation might be necessary for a highly regulated service, although this process might be despised by agile operators. Similarly, agile doesn’t value measuring performance or creating a plan, both of which an enterprise might need to monitor budgeting and ensure optimal team productivity. Cyrillo explained that lean processes helped his team strike a balance that allowed them to scale and overcome agile pitfalls.

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Communication and Clarity

The agile development process emphasizes the need for people to collaborate across departments. However, years of being siloed from one another and feelings of animosity are hard to overcome in a short time. A major culture shift is required for agile efforts to be successful, and this mindshift must be facilitated with clear communication and effective collaboration tools. In an interview with StickyMinds, LeadingAgile president and CEO Mike Cottmeyer noted that finding the best combination of people and resources can be a significant challenge.

“At scale in larger organizations, it’s incredibly difficult to find a pattern that allows teams to be able to come together and stay together and be held accountable and establish stable velocity and all that kind of stuff,” Cottmeyer said. “We look for places to align business process and technology and teams into these units that can ultimately become agile teams and become more loosely coupled from the rest of the organization.”

To ensure that everyone is on the same page, project management and test management tools are essential. These solutions provide real-time updates to project progress as well as test failures. Quick feedback empowers teams to fix items before production while adhering to scheduling and budgetary requirements. This can help enterprises better support agile efforts and achieve clarity across the many moving parts involved.

Enterprises have a number of different requirements and considerations to make when it comes to moving to agile software development. For one, their size prevents them from being as flexible as a smaller organization. They also need capable tools and processes like test management solutions and lean practices to help overcome agile pitfalls and facilitate clear communication across the board. Before moving to agile, build these considerations into your strategy to ensure that your enterprise is able to meet challenges head on and successfully support agile.

Going agile in an enterprise can be difficult without the right collaboration tools.

Would you like to know more about agile methodology? Read ‘The Essential Guide to Agile Business Strategy’, in which we look at the positive impact that being agile can have.

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As the VP of Client Service for Zephyr, Sanjay brings over 15 years of leadership experience in IT and Technical Support Services. Throughout his career, Sanjay has successfully established and grown premier IT and Support Services teams across multiple geographies for both large and small companies. Most recently, he was Associate Vice President at Patni Computers (NYSE: PTI) responsible for the Telecoms IT Managed Services Practice where he established IT Operations teams supporting Virgin Mobile, ESPN Mobile, Disney Mobile and Carphone Warehouse.