Agile in the Enterprise: How Tools and Processes Enable Interactions

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deployment. In these organizations, backlog items are constantly being created and modified. There are likely to be several thousand items across the products. Some are low-level details and are not relevant to the business. But others are quot;roadmap worthyquot; and can require visibility at the corporate level. So now, when a team is in the heat of battle driving towards a release that's critical to the overall business, and the schedule is getting squeezed, how can team members make a scoping decision and know that they are not impacting the business? And how can this change or request for change be communicated to the stakeholders? This is a development methodology-agnostic challenge. You've got to know what you are working on, who it's for, and when it's required. And you better make sure that if it is business critical, the decision to scope manage a feature out of the release is well vetted. Requirements and issue management tools have effectively been applied to solve this class of problems for years.
Agile methods are no longer relegated to small teams of nonconformists disillusioned by Gantt charts and voluminous specifications. Their ability to predictably create high-quality products that meet customer needs has been recognized and embraced by many large companies. But, to ensure continued success and adoption, we need to figure out how to coordinate our tie-dye shirts with new blue pin-striped suits. The reality of large complex businesses today is that team collaboration necessitates process and tools. Enabling agile methods in large organizations will require creating a fine balance of top-down systems while preserving and encouraging team flexibility and innovation. And, it will require careful and pragmatic acceptance of tools and processes by the agile proponents and trust and support from business leaders.


About the Author
John Scumniotales is Vice President of Product Management for Serena Software. Prior to Serena, he was Vice President of Products for Pacific Edge Software, a leader in Project and Portfolio Management. He was the first ScrumMaster and co-created Scrum with Jeff Sutherland at Easel Corporation in the early 1990's. John has held senior technical and management positions at Rational Software (now IBM) and several other large and small software companies.

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