Agile Ascending

Previously we told the story of a big organization executing a Bureaucrat process to create a new innovative product. Their process included tens of millions of dollars worth of planning and execution and it delivered a good product to the market at a competitive price.

Had it been the 1950s their product would likely have been a resounding success. There was just one problem, it was the 2010.

In the 21st century, high-tech is a dramatically different world. It is now possible for a new and tiny competitor, an lightly funded startup, to enter a market and eat Goliath’s lunch.

The startup followed a new process, not Hero and not Director. The process was designed to build better products faster. It is a process specifically designed to succeed in the presence of complexity and change.

The tiny startups’ process was Agile.

Agile is a philosophical approach to software development created to specifically address modern business challenges. Birthed out of the most volatile industry on the planet—high-tech—Agile is succeeding in making small teams substantially more productive in a manner that manages risk, while reducing complexity and embracing change.

The best way to understand Agile is to experience it, because Agile exists primarily in the habits and behaviors of the team, not in rules, roles, or checklists. Agile strategies, however, can be described and studied, with four worthy of special attention: Feedback, Focus, Small, and Verbose.

Feedback—Manages risk.

Focus—Ensures delivery of value.

Small—Drives forward movement and increases feedback.

Verbose—Over communication prevents surprises.

To really appreciate what is happening in agile, understand the philosophy behind these four strategies.

TL;DR: At the dawn of the 20th Century a new philosophy was proposed to specifically to address the challenges of developing high-tech software products and services. The philosophy is called Agile.

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Organizations both large and small are keenly aware of the challenges created by wickedly complex problems and the accelerated rate of technological change. Our largest and most successful corporations are continually experimenting with new process frameworks to foster innovation and restructure operations. Most of our large software technology clients execute…

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