Yes, I know.

There is huge demand for Agile as many industries are seeking to gain the Agile advantage.  There are lots of ‘Agile’ consultants making money by introducing companies to Agile frameworks. The sales pitch can be overly simplistic and optimistic: simply learn Agile theories; put in place the roles of Scrum master and Product Owner; work in sprints and basically there will no problem at all – life will be nice and easy…

Except it isn’t so easy. 

The consultants may move on but they often leave behind a customer who realizes that something is wrong.  While the technical team may be keen on Agile, the Business team can often feel frustrated that they are losing their grip.  They worry about losing control and being unable to predict the delivery and quality of the new features being developed.

Documentation may never have been a top priority, but some Agile implementations neglect to use any documentation causing a potential increase in auditing issues.

To avoid these negative Agile scenarios, there must be a focus on the Architecture of the Enterprise.

Instead of allowing different departments to work in isolation and create their ‘own’ apps, there needs to be a well-thought out, agreed and consistent approach to the architecture.  This will avoid problems arising where scrum teams behave autonomously across a scattered landscape of apps and interfaces which I call ‘the Spaghetti Architecture’.

In this scenario the company will sooner or later realize that IT costs are increasing instead of  the expected decrease in costs as a result of the introduction of Agile.

So does this mean we shouldn’t adopt Agile?

Of course not!  I am very supportive of Agile when done right.  In my earlier career I worked for many years in large organisations  with the classic waterfall methodology and the, sometimes very bureaucratic, Prince-2 Project Management philosophy.  There are limitations to these  approaches and Agile can make life so much better.  We do not want to return to waterfall days.

Aspira offers Agile consultancy based on our experience of what works.

In order to reap the benefits of Agile, it must be done properly.  I strongly recommend to our customers that they focus as much on the Architecture as they do on the new Agile ways of working.

The general Business and IT department should work closely on the enterprise architecture in parallel with the design of IT solutions. In my experience, this is when you will see the real benefits of Agile – and those benefits can be huge.

For companies which are developing software, put some serious thought in at an early stage of the project. 

  • First, understand the company’s architecture principles,
  • Create a conceptual design that aligns with those principles.
  • Ensure the company’s delivery model will guarantee the generation of a proper Architecture design.

This combination of Architecture and Agile ensures you will create a sustainable and ‘smart’ solution.  No more spaghetti architecture!

In our experience, by taking this approach your IT costs will decrease and your business satisfaction will levels will significantly improve.

Bringing Agile and your Architecture together delivers a real competitive advantage. Apply industry Agile theories that are accepted in the industry and are best suited to YOUR business.   

My last piece of advice – when implementing Agile, take your time!  Only invite Agile consultants who have a proven track record and who will invest the time to help people to get used to a new way of working.  This is what Aspira do all the time and we are there when you need help.

Author:  Jos van Eck, Digital Transformation Consultant, Aspira Europe.

 

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