Agile Principles Unleashed

Agile Principles Unleashed: Proven approaches for achieving real productivity gains in any organisation

JAMIE LYNN COOKE
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: IT Governance Publishing
Pages: 379
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hh6tt
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  • Book Info
    Agile Principles Unleashed
    Book Description:

    Agile Principles Unleashed: Proven approaches for achieving real productivity gains in any organisation introduces every industry sector to the Agile approaches that have dramatically improved the IT, product development and manufacturing sectors over the past two decades. Agile Principles Unleashed clearly explains how the key principles of Agile approaches can be used to significantly increase productivity, quality and customer satisfaction in any organisation. Written in non-technical language specifically for business professionals, this book is an essential tool for anyone whose job it is to deliver high quality results on time and to budget.

    eISBN: 978-1-84928-058-7
    Subjects: Management & Organizational Behavior, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-5)
  2. FOREWORD
    (pp. 6-7)
    James Galloway

    Every organisation faces the challenge of how to sustain operations in the face of constraints. Are plans adequate? Do they address the right problems? Both horns of the dilemma are dangerous: over-elaborate planning risks “locking out’ emerging evidence that does not fit with the plan; and the rejection of planning altogether risks trapping the organisation in the unguided pursuit of short-term results. This problem is particularly acute for smaller organisations where there is little margin for error in work specification, cost management, client tolerance or staff capacity.

    Rather than deploying elaborate methods, the key for these organisations seems to lie...

  3. PREFACE
    (pp. 8-9)
  4. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    (pp. 10-10)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. 11-12)
  6. Table of Contents
    (pp. 13-17)
  7. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 18-25)

    In the past 20 years, service delivery has moved from the ‘bricks-and-mortar’ shop front to the home telephone, to the Internet, to the mobile. Consumers have come to expect convenience, rapid response times and ubiquitous 24/7 access to the services that they need, and there does not appear to be any slowdown in the number of delivery channels and services that will be available to these consumers in the future.

    The challenges ofubiquitous service deliveryare compounded by the availability of technologies (most notably, the Internet) which move consumers to aglobal marketplace. Today’s organisations realise that they are...

  8. SECTION 1: A CASE STUDY

    • A CASE STUDY: TRADITIONAL VERSUS AGILE APPROACHES
      (pp. 27-102)

      The following composite case study describes a common scenario for many organisations: preparing for the launch of a new product. In this scenario, two pharmaceutical companies approach the same business challenge in two very different ways. One company uses the traditional process that most organisations would follow, the other uses an Agile approach; and there is a marked difference in the outcomes.

      The best way to start illustrating the value of Agile approaches is to use an example that bridges both business and technology drivers: building a product website in the pharmaceutical industry, a highly competitive (and often volatile) sector,...

  9. SECTION 2: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT AGILE

    • CHAPTER 1: AGILE IN A NUTSHELL
      (pp. 104-132)

      This chapter explains each of the core Agile principles in clear business language, demonstrates how they have revolutionised one market sector (the information technology industry); introduces popular Agile practices and techniques that put these principles into action; and profiles some of the prominent organisations which have successfully adopted these Agile approaches, including Nokia Siemens Networks, Yahoo! and BT.

      At the core of Agile principles is the understanding that change is an inevitable - and essential - part of any business. Market needs evolve, project funding gets re-allocated and staff move on. An organisation whichexpects and embraces changein customer...

    • CHAPTER 2: WHY IS AGILE SO EFFECTIVE?
      (pp. 133-142)

      The pharmaceutical company case study on page 18 paralleled two organisations faced with exactly the same challenges: the same product, the same market demand, the same time-frame and the same budget allocation. The only difference between these organisations was the way in which each chose to approach the business problem. So, why was the outcome of each activity so dramatically different for Agile Approaches, Inc. compared to its competitor?

      This chapter reduces the business case for Agile approaches to three bottom-line factors:

      Agile approaches protect organisations fromcontrollablerisk on a number of levels

      Agile approaches cost relatively little for...

    • CHAPTER 3: WHY DON’T MORE ORGANISATIONS USE AGILE?
      (pp. 143-146)

      The Agile community is a tightly knit and extremely supportive group of professionals who are passionate about using - and refining - Agile practices and techniques to provide the greatest benefit to their organisations. The only problem is that the work that they do - and the language that they use - has been so heavily focused on two specific sectors (IT and manufacturing) that other industries have had minimal exposure to the benefits of these approaches.

      For example, books on Agile project management techniques have focused, almost exclusively, on how these approaches can improvesoftware developmentprojects, even though...

    • CHAPTER 4: AGILE SOUNDS GOOD, BUT …
      (pp. 147-148)

      The decision to shift to (or even trial) a new way of doing business can be daunting for any organisation. There may be inefficiencies in your current business process - and times when you wish that staff were more productive - but is this enough of an argument to forego the ‘devil you know’ in favour of unchartered territory? Moreover, even if you are convinced that your organisation has room for improvement, that does not necessarily mean that moving to Agile approaches is the answer.

      The most compelling argument in favour of trialling Agile approaches is the fact that it...

  10. SECTION 3: 12 AGILE PRINCIPLES THAT WILL REVOLUTIONISE YOUR ORGANISATION

    • CHAPTER 5: RESPONSIVE PLANNING
      (pp. 150-167)

      Reality is every plan’s worst enemy. Plans represent a snapshot in time, an approximation of whatmight occurbased on the information known at the time the plan was developed. At best, plans are reasonable estimates of required activities, resources, costs and time based on previous experience with similar work. At worst, they represent educated guesswork of whatmay berequired in order to achieve the desired outcome.

      Organisations develop business plans, project plans, financial plans, marketing plans - all designed to provide managers and executives with a sense of control over the future. The problem, of course, is that...

    • CHAPTER 6: BUSINESS-VALUE-DRIVEN WORK
      (pp. 168-183)

      Is your organisationtrulyproductive? Real productivity has little to do with how hard the staff works, how many hours they put in, or even how much output they produce. Real productivity is measured by thebusiness valuethat their work generates for the organisation, which can be quantified throughprimaryandsecondarybusiness-value outcomes.

      Primarybusiness-value outcomes directly relate to the core function of the organisation. For private sector organisations, where the core function is generally increasing the bottom line, primary business value can be measured by:

      increased revenue

      increased profits (or profit margins)

      reduced overheads.

      For public sector...

    • CHAPTER 7: HANDS-ON BUSINESS OUTPUTS
      (pp. 184-197)

      Would you buy your next house from a website profile alone? No matter how much information is provided about a house on a website (detailed descriptions of its features, three-dimensional views of each room), most people would prefer towalk through the house themselvesbefore deciding whether or not to purchase it. They know that seeing the description of a house is no substitute for checking the quality of its construction firsthand, for speaking with the people in the neighbourhood, for physically going through it to see if it will really meet the needs of your family.

      Doing a hands-on...

    • CHAPTER 8: REAL-TIME CUSTOMER FEEDBACK
      (pp. 198-211)

      Throughout this book, the terms ‘business owners’ and ‘customers’ have been used almost interchangeably. In the traditional business environment, there is a significant difference between these terms:

      A ‘customer’ is an external client. Customers are the ones who use your products and services. They provide the funding that drives your work. In many organisations (particularly commercial ones), they are the only ones that matter.

      A ‘business owner’ is usually an internal staff member. They are a part of the organisation, but their needs may not be considered as important as those of external customers.

      In the Agile world, the terms...

    • CHAPTER 9: IMMOVABLE DEADLINES
      (pp. 212-225)

      New Year’s Eve celebrations provide a fascinating study in human perseverance. Every year, cities prepare for these events months (sometimes years) in advance of the 31 December deadline. They know that it is a fixed, time-frame, a deadline that cannot change.

      In most cases, the New Year’s Eve event coordinators aim to present something even more spectacular than the year before – despite inevitable increases in the costs of materials, equipment and security. It is a daunting challenge for them to accomplish in a relatively limited time-frame. So, they hold planning sessions, allocate tasks to teams, acquire sub-contractors (e.g. fireworks...

    • CHAPTER 10: MANAGEMENT BY SELF-MOTIVATION
      (pp. 226-239)

      Employee motivation is an incredibly difficult thing to quantify, let alone influence. There are some employees who are extraordinarily self-motivated; no matter what circumstance they are put in, they always find a way to be challenged by (and be productive in) their work. Conversely, there are employees who cannot be motivated to do even the simplest tasks without heavy supervision or substantial rewards. For most organisations, employees fall within the spectrum of these two extremes, with management forever searching for ways to move them in the direction of self-motivation.

      One factor that inevitably influences the level of employee motivation is...

    • CHAPTER 11: ‘JUST-IN-TIME’ COMMUNICATION
      (pp. 240-253)

      I can’t get that proposal to you until tomorrow … I’m inmeetingsall day today.’

      It is no wonder that meetings have earned a bad reputation in the corporate world. They are often seen as non-productive time-wasters that stop employees from getting theirrealwork done. Which is reasonably due to the fact that, most of the time, meetingsaretime-wasters.

      The meetings themselves are not actually the problem. In fact, the graph from Alistair Cockburn41, shown in Figure 15, identifies face-to-face discussion as one of the most effective forms of communication.

      So, the problem is not with the...

    • CHAPTER 12: IMMEDIATE STATUS TRACKING
      (pp. 254-276)

      For many organisations, status reporting is anen masse activity, generally allocated to time-based increments where employeesstop what they are doing, in order to provide management with a ‘snapshot’ of their work progress (e.g. monthly status updates). This monthly reporting cycle is intended to provide frequent enough updates to keep management aware of the status of the work in their area - without overloading the team with reporting activities (or the manager with paperwork to review). It creates apaper productivitytrail where managers can confidently take action based on the appearance of productivity provided in these reports. Additionally,...

    • CHAPTER 13: WASTE MANAGEMENT
      (pp. 277-300)

      Waste in an organisation can take many forms. It can be anovertwaste of:

      budget funds (e.g. equipment that is purchased, but is never used)

      skilled resources (e.g. a product that staff dedicated eight months of their time to, which did not meet the needs of the marketplace)

      available time (e.g. staff spending three months developing a discussion paper, leaving them only one month to act on the resulting decision).

      Or it can be a muchmore subtlewaste of finances, skilled resources and available time by having:

      products and services that are ‘over-delivered’ to provide more than the...

    • CHAPTER 14: CONSTANTLY MEASURABLE QUALITY
      (pp. 301-318)

      Althoughhow much does quality cost?is not a trick question, it does have three different answers - particularly where thecostof quality is considered against both thevaluethat high-quality outputs can bring to the organisation, and theissuesthat producing low-quality outputs can create for the organisation:

      Benefits for the organisation: high-quality outputs can deliver strongexternalbenefits for an organisation, including a positive public image, repeat customers and competitive advantage in the marketplace. However, it can also deliver significantinternalbenefits, such as reduced overheads, more satisfied employees and fewer last-minute ‘fire-fighting’ activities that create unnecessary...

    • CHAPTER 15: REAR-VIEW MIRROR CHECKING
      (pp. 319-326)

      No process is perfect. Agile approaches endeavour to create a more perfect environment by focusing on high business-value outcomes, establishing regular communication channels, encouraging hands-on teamwork and directly involving stakeholders, but even the most well-run business activities can always be improved. This is why the Agile world includesretrospectivesas part of the outcomes review session at the end of each iteration.

      Retrospectives are a dedicated time when the Agile team can step back and review the work that was undertaken in the previous iteration. Retrospectives provide the business owners and the delivery team with a chance to collectively reflect...

    • CHAPTER 16: CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
      (pp. 327-334)

      At the very start of this book, the following challenge was put forward to readers: how is your organisation going to sustain its current business processes and practices in an ever-increasing high-technology global marketplace? Organisations that want to survive (and thrive) in a rapidly-changing marketplace need to focus oncontinuously improvingthe way in which they do work.

      It does not take an enormous crack in your organisation’s business process pipeline to cause it to burst. Even small leakages can lead to compounded issues in the long term.

      Everything about Agile approaches is designed to provide continuous improvement for the...

  11. SECTION 4: MAKING AGILE WORK IN YOUR ORGANISATION

    • CHAPTER 17: SELECTING AGILE APPROACHES THAT BEST MEET YOUR NEEDS
      (pp. 336-346)

      The flexibility of Agile approaches allows organisations to select the most appropriate Agile practices and techniques to suit both their specific business activities and their overall corporate culture. The low overhead costs required for adopting Agile approaches means that organisations can often get started without the usual budget approval processes. This is both the appeal - and the danger - of Agile.

      Although it might be tempting for you to want to ‘dive right in’ and start using Agile approaches within your organisation, it is valuable for you to step back for a moment and consider the specific needs -...

    • CHAPTER 18: INTRODUCING AGILE WITHIN YOUR ORGANISATION
      (pp. 347-354)

      Although the prospect of introducing Agile approaches within your organisation may seem a bit daunting at first, itcanbe done. Agile approaches have been used successfully by numerous organisations worldwide over the past two decades, including Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google. These approaches have been equally successful in commercial, government and not-for-profit organisations of all sizes53, particularly throughout the United States and Europe. Making Agile approaches work in your organisationisan achievable task, it may just require some creative introduction, in order to get the attention of key decision makers and the interest from staff.

      There is no one...

    • CHAPTER 19: USING AGILE TOOLS
      (pp. 355-368)

      Once you have selected the Agile approaches that are best suited to your business activities - and the participants have committed to using (or trialling) these approaches - you are ready to begin.

      This section provides additional information on the tools that you can use to implement the ACTION plan steps described inChapter 5: Responsive Planning.

      TheUsing the customer to manage your budgetsection ofChapter 8: Real-time Customer Feedbackidentified the value that Agile approaches can bring in allowing the organisation to better manage budget expenditures. In particular, this section focused on the use ofresponsive budgeting...

    • CHAPTER 20: EXPANDING THE USE OF AGILE IN YOUR ORGANISATION
      (pp. 369-371)

      Once you have a few successful ‘runs on the board’ with Agile initiatives within your organisation, the next step is to establish a strategy forbroadening the awarenessof the value of Agile approaches across the organisation - andencouraging other areasof the organisation to trial these approaches.

      This strategy should include four key elements:

      educating the organisation on the business value of Agile approaches

      encouraging specific people in the organisation to trial these approaches in their area

      helping interested areas of the organisation in selecting the Agile approaches that are best suited to their activities

      providing assistance (and,...

  12. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 372-375)
  13. AUTHOR’S NOTE ON AGILE RESOURCES
    (pp. 376-376)
  14. ITG RESOURCES
    (pp. 377-379)