2011 Prediction: Organizations will Continue Applying Agile Strategies at Scale

  • on outsourcing projects.
    • Technical complexity .  Some applications are more complex than others.  It’s fairly straightforward to achieve high-levels of quality if you’re building a new single-platform system from scratch, but not so easy if you’re working with multiple platforms, existing legacy systems, and existing legacy data sources – all of which are typically less than perfect.  The complexity only seems to grow from year to year, so as agile is applied to more situations we’re going to see more teams running into harder technical situations.  As a result I predict a greater focus on agile architecture strategies and agile testing and quality strategies in 2011.
      • Organizational complexity .  Your existing organization structure and culture may reflect waterfall values, increasing the complexity of adopting and scaling agile strategies within your organization.  To make matters worse, different subgroups within your organization may have different visions for how they should work.  Sadly, I predict that this will continue to be a challenge for many years to come.
        • Enterprise discipline .  Most organizations want to leverage common infrastructure platforms to lower cost, reduce time to market, improve consistency and promote a sustainable pace.  This can be very difficult if your project teams focus only on their immediate needs.  To leverage common infrastructure, project teams need to take advantage of effective enterprise architecture, enterprise business modeling, strategic reuse, and portfolio management disciplines.  These disciplines must work in concert with, and better yet enhance, your disciplined agile delivery processes.  Surveys show that we are seeing successes with agile teams working well with enterprise teams.  However, I still see too much project focus in the agile community and far too much skepticism regarding agile from enterprise professionals, and I predict we’ll see little progress on this scaling factor in 2011.  Hope I’m proved wrong.

        In general, I predict that existing trends within the industry surrounding applying agile strategies at scale will continue, and in some cases accelerate.  One of the reasons why I run my various IT surveys is to find out what is actually happening out there.  As a result, I’ve seen the adoption rate of agile techniques grow over the years, the superior success rate of agile strategies compared to traditional ones, and the successful application of agility at scale.  I’m starting to see clear evidence that in scaling situations agile strategies are superior to traditional strategies, which bolsters my confidence in the predictions I’ve made in this article.

        About the author

        Scott W. Ambler's picture Scott W. Ambler

        Scott W. Ambler is Principal at Scott W. Ambler + Associates. He is author of several books, including Disciplined Agile Delivery, Agile Modeling, Refactoring Databases: Evolutionary Database Design, and The Elements of UML 2.0 Style. Scott works with organizations worldwide to adopt agile software development techniques at scale.

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