The Agile Ecosystem

Added to The Alliance

The Agile Manifesto was created 15 years ago. Since then, Agile has undergone a substantial evolution. Early on, the organizations that just got it, did it. Then as more people adopted Agile, the focus shifted toward tools and processes that helped people build a bridge between how things used to work and how Agile practices changed those things.

Soon the Agile community realized that tools and processes weren’t enough and the being Agile versus doing Agile debates started. That era has come and gone, and now the Agile community has realized that Agile is more about organizational change than it is about Agile itself.

This year’s theme for Agile Alliance’s OnAgile Virtual Conference is Agile Transformation: the Enterprise, the Team & You. We believe the best way to succeed with Agile is to recognize that the entire organizational ecosystem is affected by it. While there are plenty of solid practices that can help teams execute Agile projects better, the limit of improvement will occur when the teams start bumping up against the organizational boundaries.

That’s where things get hard.

I recently started working with an enterprise organization that is defining an Agile Testing Framework. During a discussion, the topic of defect management came up. Generally speaking, tracking in-process defects isn’t something I recommend because the team is aligned on an overall goal. Instead of testing, logging defects, and fixing them later, Agile teams prevent defects by bringing testing further up the value stream.

This means that the teams define acceptance criteria and don’t consider the story done until that acceptance criteria passes. The challenge one of the testers brought up was that if they aren’t logging in-process defects, they can’t justify that testing is providing any benefit.

This is a classic example of an organizational impact that is beyond control of the team. The same is true when it comes to budgeting for projects, along with the manner in which many large organizations move people between teams and assign people to multiple projects.

OnAgile2016 brings together the Enterprise, the Team, and You by having speakers like  Esther Derby, Johanna Rothman, Jurgen Appelo, Niels Pflaeging and more, who will not only talk about team-level practices but also how the entire organizational ecosystem is affected by Agile.

I’m happy to be the co-chair for OnAgile2016, which means next year, I’ll be the chair!

Check out the full program here, and sign up today!


About the Author

Jason began his career as a web developer when Cold Fusion roamed the earth. Over the following years, he moved into management, Agile Coaching and consulting. The bumps and bruises collected along the way brought him to the realization that helping organizations adopt Agile practices was less about the practices, and all about change.
In 2008 he attended an experiential learning conference about how people experience change and since then, he’s been writing, and speaking, all over the world about helping organizations discover more effective practices for managing organizational change. He is the author of Lean Change Management and an international speaker who has spoken all over the world from Canada, the US, Finland, Germany, Australia, Belgium and more.

This is an Agile Alliance community blog post. Opinions represented are personal and belong solely to the author. They do not represent opinion or policy of Agile Alliance.