Integrating Systems Thinking into Enterprise Agile

Alan Shalloway, Net Objectives

While Scrum and XP have become very popular in agile development shops, most companies adopting them run into problems beyond just a few teams. These challenges often fall into a common set of patterns, which points to a lack of systems thinking-the process of understanding how things influence one another within a larger whole. Alan Shalloway shares his ideas on how the agile community can move beyond its team-centric approach to adopt a more holistic, systems-based approach. Systems thinking creates new opportunities to create substantially larger development teams-Alan calls them “pan-teams.” These teams work interdependently with a common vision and context. Pan-teams enhance the motivations for the teams and individuals to collaborate as a normal part of their daily work thus reducing the amount of forced collaboration. Although not a panacea, systems thinking provides a better platform to solve enterprise-wide challenges because your organization learns to approach problem solving holistically and avoid the trap of unintended consequences.

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