The Wrap: Making the Move to an Agile Environment

Over the past few years, many companies have adopted Agile methodologies within their internal software development organizations. In fact, nearly 10% of the IT leaders polled in IDG’s 2018 State of the CIO Survey report that agile initiatives and DevOps drive the most IT investment at their organizations this year.

The benefits of doing so include: improved predictability and transparency, more rapid and continuous development and delivery cycles, improved deployment pipelines, and tighter collaboration with line of business managers since they may be closely aligned with agile development teams.

The CIO Executive Council recently produced a Power Hour webcast on the topic that focused on the initial steps to take in launching an Agile initiative, as well as the critical missteps to avoid when working toward the proper implementation of Agile practices. CEC member presenters included: Haroon Taqi, VP of Information Technology at TKC Holdings, Inc.; Bill Byrd, VP, IT Business Solutions & Portfolio Management at CareFirst, Inc.; and Bryan Harrison, IT Director, IT Governance and Release Management at NCR.

Among the tips offered during the hour-long virtual session:

  • Get business involved early in the Agile process to adapt to a new development mentality and prepare for the fact that some teams may adopt and perform faster than others.
  • Develop a methodology structure by forming a central governance team that can provide oversight of the process without impacting the self-autonomy of Agile teams.
  • Create a ‘practice playbook,’ that allows everyone to see where teams are working together and what are their goals short-term and long-term.
  • Get others in the organization involved and briefed from a communications perspective. If you don’t, there’s an assumption that you may be delivering software to production every month, which can create concerns about support and resource capabilities.
  • Consider using external coaches. They can come in and work with teams to develop consistent processes and instill a ‘DevOps mindset’ across teams.  This can avoid problems that may come as Agile efforts impact existing legacy structures – especially customer service and key applications systems.
  • Be aware of the impact on the existing IT culture. Agile requires a different working mindset, which is much more rapid, much more visible, and much more accountable. Some people may not be comfortable in that environment, compared to traditional work routines that allow for weeks or months to produce deliverables.

If you’re interested in participating in virtual sessions like this and others that target strategic IT issues or would like to learn more about the CIO Executive Council, please contact us