Updated: May 22, 2020
Nearly all software development companies have moved away from the waterfall style of development into somewhat of a more agile environment. This was done in order to increase productivity through shorter workflow interactions, which allow for more deployments to customers. However, a lot of companies seem to not be moving to this practice when it comes to trying new processes within our own groups. Whether it be individual teams or entire organizations.
We seem too still be utilizing a waterfall type approach to process changes. We hold meetings for months on end in order to prepare, attempting to figure out every little problem that could come up before initializing a change. This article will highlight and compare how the agile methodology is changing the world of software development as it pertains to customers, and how companies should be attempting to pull those processes back into their own groups.
Shortening the communication loop is one of the key areas of the agile development methodology. This comes through shortening the length of time between handoffs from business owners to development teams and vice-versa. Somehow, it makes more sense to explain this in terms of personal communication within teams, yet it’s not being implemented that way. We should be shortening the communication time between upper management or board room decisions down to the rest of the employees.
The people making decisions that impact the rest of the organization are having meetings for months on end, attempting to decipher every single little thing that could go wrong. What we should be doing is formulating ideas and then “getting started” by bringing those ideas forward and trusting your employees, as well payed adults, to take those ideas and move them forward.
The next step is trusting employees to change and shape managements initial ideas into their own. Allowing employees to mold ideas and run with them creates a cohesive company and empowers workers. This is done through another Agile practice called “retrospectives.” This is when you look back at the past iteration, evaluating what went well and what went poorly, creating action items to move forward with.
Why are we not bringing these same principles out of development and into organizational practices? We need to trust our educated and experienced employees to take management’s ideas and form them into what works best for them. Past that, we need to have management who allow employees to do so. Management should not be so hard set in their ideas that they do not allow them to be changed for the better. This sums up the agile methodology.
How do we begin? We begin by avoiding in-depth strategical meetings reserved just for management that are going to impact the entire organization. Getting started in the agile methodology also means turning those kinds of meetings into shortened “idea generating” meetings and trusting the employees from there.
This is the essence of “getting started.” Management will not be forced to pre-strategize for every potential mistake. Instead, the ideas become the entire organization’s responsibility to mold into fitting workflow and values. Through this, the agile methodology is implemented into organizational decisions.