set of metrics and benchmarks designed specifically to assess the success of the pilot project. For example, what value did it deliver for the money spent? What was the pace of the team? How about the time to react to changes in requirements or the ability to add new features in the middle of a release?
Demonstrating measurable results in a pilot project can be beneficial in multiple ways:
- It can generate support for future agile initiatives - quantifying business value is a powerful driver behind many corporate programs.
- It can teach the company what works and lead to saving capital during a large-scale process adoption.
- It can be a playground for new ideas by encouraging innovation and risk taking.
To sum up, enhancing business value means that companies have to rethink how they formulate their agile adoption strategy. A five-party methodology can be effective:
First, companies need to select a pilot project. It's much easier and less costly to try and fail and learn in the pilot project before a wholesale adoption.
Second, companies should define business value in clear, concrete and measurable terms. It's all too often that projects spent too much time on activities with little or no real value or they deliver too many, mostly useless, features to the customers.
Third, activities and technologies need to be evaluated according to their contribution to the business value. Agility promotes faster business value, but not necessarily the latest and greatest technical framework.
Fourth, the companies should carefully incrementally select adopt key agile practices. Agile adoption does not have to be an all-or-nothing process. Every practice should be assessed with respect to business goals and only adopted if it makes business sense.
Finally, companies should develop a set of objective evaluation criteria to measure the success of the initiative. Since it is very difficult to improve things that cannot be measured, it is imperative to develop a set of measurable goals to assess the success of the agile initiative.
About the author
Levent Gurses is a Washington, DC-based technology consultant. He is also the co-founder of a US-based technical consulting and development firm specializing in transformations through Lean and Agile development practices. As a Certified ScrumMaster, Levent helps his clients develop better software through SCRUM, XP, and agile. His expertise is in transitioning companies to Agile by establishing technical infrastructure, mentoring, and coaching for Rapid Product Development (RPD). Through his company, Levent provides vital resources such as agile coaches, project managers, architects, and developers.
 Product Development for the Lean Enterprise: Why Toyota's System Is Four Times More Productive and How You Can Implement It (Hardcover) - http://www.amazon.com/Product-Development-Lean-Enterprise-Productive/dp/1892538091/ref=cm_lmf_img_3/104-0858217-8760748
 Thomas Edison, inventor (1847-1931) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison