“To become a mainstream methodology, Agile had to overcome many potential obstacles. The first was geography…One of today’s most daunting obstacles is compliance, often bringing heavyweight documentation, required procedures that are very waterfall-ish, complex approval work flows, and complicated approval processes” begins Compliance Is A Hurdle, Not A Barrier, To Agile a Forrester Research paper published in July 2011.

This presentation will walk attendees through the problem of why organizations trying to manage a software development life cycle or PMO in a heavily regulated industry are fraught with challenges (e.g. externally mandated documentation levels, limiting the requirements and scope of the Product Owner, morale of employees). The presenters will discuss the fact that many of the external compliance standards (FASB, MAS, FSOC) are vague, and worse yet not written with the software development team in mind. In fact one of the risks is the interpretation of policy or external compliance standard remains on the business or with an executive (through personal / fiduciary guarantees). For example, authors of US Federal legislation (e.g. Dodd Frank Act) do not specifically consider software development when writing laws and are often ignorant to the downstream effects of said legislation for a development team based in Russia or India. When asked for clarifications the FSOC does not know enough about software development to provide clear and concise answers and the amount of documentation in the said legislation can be (a) in the thousands of pages and (b) within living documents.

In addition, organizations are feeling pressures of their employee base to go Agile / Scrum / Lean. As the way in which we chose to work – our process – is a very personal or team based choice undoubtedly more software developers regardless of regulatory levels will move from Chaotic, Structured and Waterfall environments to Iterative and Agile, following the same pattern as non-regulated industry trends. In fact, as the Forrester/Dr. Dobb’s Global Developer Technographics® Survey dated Q3 2010 reports – the #1 and #2 choices of developers working inside an organization that is heavily regulated are Agile and iteratively based. As the Agile adoption wave continues along the path of market maturity and grow there is no debating that employees working within regulated industries will follow their colleagues in non-regulated industries, leaving business executives within regulated industries no choice but to embrace the Agile software development movement head on as a means to mitigating and navigating uncertainty within IT.

31 January 2013: I uploaded a new deck. In addition, I have the scenarios flushed out (please ask for them and I can send them via PDF). Lastly, I have created the corresponding web portal (www.scrumandcompliance.com).

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