Since the early 2000s, Agile methods have evolved and gained widespread adoption in large and SMB organizations. Agile methodologies and practices have become popular due to their ability to demonstrate ROI for software development. In fact, Agile usage has increased from 37% in 2020 to 86% in 2021. Agile concepts, like daily stand-ups, backlog grooming, and regular cadences, have become everyday occurrences for many who deliver IT solutions. Many companies have adopted Agile using a bottom-up approach, typically starting with their core development teams. Many other companies have not been able to increase efficiencies and ROI because they could not scale Agile vertically throughout their enterprises.
How can enterprises scale Agile, and what exactly does it mean for an enterprise to be Agile? How can everyone in the organization — the development teams and non-technical departments — use Agile best practices to drive value for companies and their products?
This white paper will discuss issues that arise when scaling and adopting Agile mindset and practices throughout an organization. In response to these issues, Nisum will present four key considerations that organizations need to deploy in order to help them maximize their potential with successful enterprise Agile implementations. The final point of this paper is to demonstrate how using Nisum's Enterprise Agile Framework (NEAF) increased time to market by 20% for one of our Fortune 500 clients.
Being an Agile enterprise is no longer optional — it's a necessity.
Agile has become the standard software development framework used across most industries. Agile methodology was created to be a better framework for software development than the more traditional waterfall method. In many regards, Agile has succeeded by consistently delivering software of value in quicker iterations. Agile has proven its worth, and there is general acceptance in software circles that, when done well, Agile is good for the team, the customer, and the entire organization. After twenty years of maturity and following the principles of continuous improvement, executives are now asking, "How can we scale Agile at an enterprise level to bring this mindset to the rest of the company?"
Most companies today use Agile mainly at a team or product level. The challenge lies in scaling Agile to work in complicated settings, with larger cross-functional teams, in conjunction with ever more complex systems, longer timelines, and diverse operating environments using multiple engineering disciplines.
Scaling Agile means similar sustainable processes are dispersed to multiple teams, projects, or products under the same organizational umbrella. It is important to note that these processes need to survive larger workgroups and be sustainable across multiple platforms. Scaling Agile at an enterprise level is not isolated amongst technical departments. It also means adoption across non-technical teams, such as human resources, marketing, and finance. This topic is beyond the scope of this paper but essential enough to be pointed out, at least in concept. This paper focuses on what enterprises need to strive for and what they need to watch out for when implementing and scaling Agile methodology.
Enterprises using Agile will need to shift their hierarchy from a top-down to a more horizontal structure. Turning to an Agile mindset requires changes and intervention at various company levels. It requires a cultural shift at a molecular level, and management styles need to change with it. In general, Agile teams are incredibly self-organized and require less day-to-day involvement and interference from management. Enterprises need to commit to the Agile mindset to effectively scale it to an enterprise level.
Nisum has identified four essential factors enterprises should follow when scaling Agile:
Nisum Enterprise Agile Framework (NEAF) Improves Time-to-Market by ~20%
A Fortune 500 grocery client faced challenges with planning, executing, and delivering critical business initiatives and could not keep up with changing business needs. The waterfall project management methodology practiced by the organization led to delays and diminished engagement of team members.
Nisum created an Agile transformation roadmap based on the Nisum Enterprise Agile Framework (NEAF). This reduced delays and planning time and increased team motivation.
Agile transformation established a product-centric structure and changed the working culture, which led to:
Read more about this success story at Nisum Helps Improve Initiative Time-to-Market by ~20% Through Agile Transformation.
Enterprises need to have some Agile principles that they can abide by and then develop Agile practices that fit the organization. The sustainability of these processes and principles are required for successful scaling. The sooner enterprises realize the value in scaling Agile, the faster they can harvest its benefits.
For organizations to be more flexible to market changes and grab market share early to build brands, building a product-centric and innovative culture and a bottom-up leadership approach can go a long way. It requires patience and practice.
Large organizations have found that Nisum gives them a competitive edge through lean and Agile coaching. They're using Nisum to build change management systems that address critical organizational challenges related to team efficiency. Contact us if you need help scaling your Agile processes to the Enterprise level.
Nisum’s Business Agility is an experienced partner who orchestrates measurable, holistic Agile transformation anchored in cultural change and enabled by technology excellence. Nisum has a team of full-service certified agility experts who seamlessly integrate with clients from a cultural and mindset change perspective.
For more information on the business benefits of an Agile enterprise, take our free assessment, How Agile is Your Business? or reach out to us for a free consultation today.
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