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How to make your (entire) enterprise more agile

Sharon Florentine | July 29, 2015
Think your company's too big, too 'legacy,' too process-oriented to reap the benefits of the agile development methodology? Think again.

"After a sprint is completed, we do retrospectives with the entire company to look back and see what worked, what didn't, and develop concrete steps for improvement -- we do this all the way up to the executive level. You'd think each department showing what's behind the curtain would be really difficult, but our people take great pride in showing what they're working on, what they've accomplished in front of the rest of the business, and it feels very rewarding," Paull says.

Moving to Agile has also increased Extensis' release frequency from four to six per year to nine over the last twelve months. In addition, Extensis was able to introduce two new products while improving customer satisfaction, and the change has allowed the firm to move into adjacent markets more quickly, too, according to Martin.

Extensis was also able to address a long-standing issue that was driving most of their customer incident reports, but that developers hadn't been able to address before. "We put that [long-standing issue] into a series of three sprints, and it was fixed in six weeks. Suddenly, we saw a 60 percent drop in service calls - 60 percent! I had to go back and check to make sure we hadn't changed our reporting, or were using a different tool or something when I saw that because it was unbelievable. Nope! We just fixed it quickly, efficiently and effectively," Martin says.

Extensis customers are much happier with the product and feel they are getting more value because of the faster releases and increased version control enabled by agile, says Martin. Not to mention that the firm is seeing lower costs associated with quality assurance.

"We've also been able to get into adjacent markets more quickly. It's freed up creativity from all directions, because no one's saying, 'Well, I know what I'm working on for the next two years, so why bother trying something new that won't ever see the light of day?' Now, we can do more with what we've got, and try new things. It's been an incredible transformation," Martin says.


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