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By: Debbie Madden

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September 5th, 2017

9 Reasons Why Everyone Has Gone Agile

Agile/XP

 

Gone are the days of endless meetings of tech teams pouring over project timelines, only to see the first version of their product released months or years later.

With Agile officially embraced by most Fortune 500 firms, I can confidently say it is mainstream now. So, it’s worth taking a minute to highlight just how much of an impact Agile has had on the world of tech.

There are many reasons why Agile has changed tech teams forever. Here are 9 of them:

1. Problems Are Exposed Immediately

Have a bug? You’ll know in 1-2 weeks. Have a team member not pulling their weight? You’ll know quickly. Teams that use iterative, Agile sprints have the benefit of quick feedback loops. Therefore, problems bubble to the surface quickly. There is no ‘hiding’ in Agile. Identifying root causes of problems quickly means mistakes are fixed quicker. The quicker, the cheaper. Less time spent going down the wrong path, less money spent building the wrong features or building code on top of broken code.

2. It’s The Great Equalizer of Startups and Enterprise

Before Agile, startups didn’t stand a chance at competing with enterprise tech teams. Building software required time and money, and lots of both. Now, an Agile team has an ADVANTAGE over a traditional waterfall team. This means startups can truly compete against enterprise. So much so, that enterprises are now creating ‘labs’, ‘skunkworks teams’, ‘innovation’ teams, so that they can innovate on pace with startups.

3. Change Is Easy

With large swaths of code bases covered in tests, embracing change is easy. Tests are a big giant safety net. Agile teams can be confident that changing one area of code won’t break another area unknowingly. If adding a new feature does result in a problem elsewhere in the code, the team knows immediately, and knows exactly where the problems are. Thus, teams can be very aggressive with embracing any change that comes their way, whether from shifts in the market, a new competitor coming onto the scene, or the request of a stakeholder.

4. Individuals Are Empowered

Individuals are significantly more empowered on Agile teams. Teams are trusted to get the feature into production in a way that works for them. This is a good thing. With so much competition in tech right now, teams that can truly empower individuals have an advantage.

5. Retrospectives!

Retrospectives are one of the most valuable team practices emerging out of Agile. If done well, they can quite literally improve your entire organization. Retrospectives enable teams to reflect upon the past in a blame-free, constructive way. When retrospectives are facilitated well, they lead to fruitful action items that drive increased productivity for the entire organization.

6. Sustainable Pace Is Achievable

Gone is the need for ‘death marches’. Sure, we’ve still got project deadlines and sure we sometimes still rush to get all the scope in on time. But, with the promise that another release is around the corner, there’s really truly no need to burn the midnight oil. Get the highest priority features done and then do another release in a few weeks.

7. No More Empty Promises On Feature Delivery

I’m sure there are many folks, especially the nice humans that have to deal with Agile contracts, who still want us to commit to a specific set of features done by a specific date. Yet, we know better now. Stakeholders, marketing teams and business owners can rest assured that their tech teams are working on the most important features in the correct order.

8. The Consumer Has A Real Voice

Knowing that it’s relatively ‘cheap’ to iterate on features, it’s easier now more than ever to react to consumer input quickly. This is the way it should be - get software into the hands of real users as quickly as possible so that they can use it and provide feedback.

9. Less Waste Means Higher Profits

Imagine if Amazon had a feature that no one used. They’d know in one day, and they’d change it. We’re so used to software being useful that we’ve forgotten how unuseful most of it used to be. With Agile, teams waste very little time on unuseful features. And, the pace at which features can be changed results in less wheel spinning, which leads to higher profits.

 

About Debbie Madden

Debbie has over 20 years of experience in NYC tech. She is passionate about helping businesses improve through software. As CEO, Debbie has unparalleled leadership experience in the technology space - she built 4 companies from the ground up prior to co-founding Stride.

With a reputation as a passionate woman executive in technology, Debbie is a sought after writer and speaker. She has appeared in popular media outlets such as Harvard Business Review, Huffington Post, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal.

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