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Agile Software Development

More and more CIOs are under pressure to support evolving digital business scenarios, but are finding traditional project and development methods to be non-successful. This is why companies are increasingly turning to agile development methods to speed up projects and show their value.

When executed well, the use of agile methods has the ability to transform IT business relationships and have a major positive impact on IT value delivery. If it’s done correctly, agile development can be an integral part of the portfolio of methods that the CIO uses to deal with increasing business demand for innovation. However, if done badly, agile development will create a lot more problems than it solves.

So here are five guiding principles for agile development that will ensure your success:

  1. Cross functional teams

Teams aren’t the only way to be agile, but it surely is hard to build an agile enterprise without them. Unless the individual can deliver an increment of business value all by themselves, you need a team of people that have everything they need to deliver, and can be empowered and held accountable for delivering the outcomes the business needs to be successful.

  1. Value all the way

Regardless of your business industry, you always need to make sure that the organization is delivering value on a regular cadence. This means that not only the team is delivering working software on a regular basis, but that any of the other teams required to deliver the product are delivering value as well. It means that all the work product, of all the teams required to deliver value, are delivering value, and their work products are coordinated and synchronized. If agile is applied to only a part of the overall delivery process, you won’t see those successes translated into better business results.

  1. Continuous feedback

It doesn’t matter how fast or effectively we are building software if we aren’t building the right product or we are building a product that our customers don’t want to use. It is imperative that we construct a means of getting product in front of our customers early and often, and have the opportunity to take what we learn and factor it into the plan. Feedback and adaptability are mandatory.

  1. Empowered team members

One of the problems with traditional software project management is the high focus on activity, instead of business outcomes. By having a cross-functional team, we can worry less about the activities the team is working on, and more on the business outcomes that are charged to help create. When we focus on business outcomes, we are free to empower the people on the team to solve problems, and we don’t have to worry about managing their activities.

  1. Trust

Agile without trust is not agile. We have to create an environment and a culture where we can rediscover how to trust each other. We need to be able to count on each other to do what we say we are going to do, how we said we would do it, and when we said it would get done. Trust has to exist at the interpersonal level, within the team, and across teams.

What do you think? Is there anything you would add to the list? Share your feedback in the comments.

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