The Agile Ecosystem

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 the acceptance criteria pass. 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 the 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!

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

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Jason Little

Jason Little

Jason is the author of Lean Change Management (leanchange.org), Agile Transformation (agiletransformation.ca) and founder of the Lean Change Management Association, an organization dedicated to modernizing change management with agile, lean startup, and design thinking practices. Originally a software developer, Jason has been involved in agile transformations since the mid-2000s and has worked as a Product Owner, Scrum Master, Internal and External Coach in all sorts of small, large, and enterprise organizations. Jason is an international…

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