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8 crucial questions for enterprise scale agility

Choong Sin Fatt, Senior Solution Architect, CA Technologies | Feb. 17, 2016
Software development teams have used Agile to deliver software that customers want, quickly and efficiently, for years. Choong Sin Fatt from CA Technologies shares eight key questions on enterprise scale agility.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Over the last decade, we have seen the effects of digital disruption diminishing the competitive edge of Fortune 1000 companies. To stay afloat amidst drastic market changes, companies must adapt quickly. Software development teams have used Agile to deliver software that customers want, quickly and efficiently, for years. Can companies apply Agile company-wide to gain the same benefits? What can companies learn from development teams?

1. Why is scaling agile to the enterprise and beyond software development so desirable?

Enterprise scale agile is about harnessing speed and value for competitive advantage. Everyone wants to get to market faster and deliver high-quality products that customers really want. With enterprise scale agile, you're taking agile beyond IT and development teams to optimise the entire "concept-to-cash" process within your company -- from identifying opportunities and allocating portfolio resources to shipping regularly and iterating quickly on customer feedback. Optimising for speed and value helps you respond better to market shifts or strategic changes.

The numbers speak for themselves: High-performing agile organisations cut time-to-market in half -- with better quality and 30 to 50% reduction in costs -- and can grow revenue 37% faster and generate 30% higher profits.

Enterprise scale agile is also where you see the real ROI of agility. Agile development has been around long enough now that most large companies have experimented with it. But piloting a few Scrum teams doesn't make a company agile, and scaling agile across teams of teams is where many companies fall down: they discover they lack the know-how, executive buy-in, or cultural support to make agile work at the enterprise level.

Getting dozens or even hundreds of teams working together requires disciplined coordination and cadence, but it also means connecting those development teams' work with the company's highest priorities. Breaking down the silos between IT and "the business" is key to enterprise scale agile, and doing it successfully pays dividends.

2. What are some of the key differences between teams doing agile and enterprise scale agile?

Unlike agile at the team level, enterprise scale agile requires the participation of everyone involved in allocating, planning, building, and delivering value on a particular project (commonly called the "delivery group.") That means everyone from developers, product owners and Scrum Masters to portfolio managers, marketers, UX, testers, operations folks, enterprise architects, and engineering directors. Large companies often have pockets of agile teams, but can't realise the benefits of enterprise scale agile until these teams are coordinated with each other and working on the business' highest strategic priorities.

 

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