Does My Whole Department Need to Be Agile?

a phased approach to agile

One of the common questions that companies have when starting agile development, is whether entire organizations will need to go agile.  The simple answer is no, but the complex answer is much more interesting.    When your organization begins a pilot of agile development, it is entirely possible to cherry-pick one or a few teams to try out the methods and learn first.  This phased approach to agile  is actually very common.   The scrum team can consist of a few developers, a tester or information developer, a PO and a scrum master.   What happens next is where it gets interesting.   If the team performs well, they will start to see the benefits of agile and will spread the message to their peers.   Sometimes this takes time, and a lot depends on the attitude and willingness to try the process of the team members.   The scrum master in particular can help the team by adapting the process to fit their needs and by offering daily guidance and encouragement.

As agile spreads to multiple teams in your organization, you start to realize  even more benefits.   Teams become better able to plan and develop to a schedule.  They begin to share ideas and a common language for getting the job done.   Organizations can apply agile at a higher level by introducing a global company or department backlog that is prioritized.   Once this happens, teams can start to choose the top priority items and tackle tasks and features in the best order for the organization.   Marketing, R&D, etc. will all start to take note and offer feedback into your new priority list.  They will have visibility and will become engaged.   As you begin agile development, you can start with only part of your organization, but soon the effects will ripple throughout.

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