In my last post, we discussed some of Agile’s weaknesses and why enterprises are not quite ready for pure Agile transformation. We believe Agile best practices, especially in the domain of enterprise applications, will continuously improve as the Agile framework becomes field driven. Based on our experience, we have several conclusions on enterprise or point solution Agile projects.
1. Enterprise Agile will be different than Agile for commercial applications
Commercial applications that are point solutions, such as a typical Salesforce.com install, where the application is normally implemented as is in Phase 1 and then incrementally changed over subsequent phases, can be delivered in pure Agile.
But, an enterprise application, typically a larger and more complex install (Siebel as an example) will require modification to the Agile framework at the front and back end of the deployment in order to accommodate the increased business requirements like gathering, testing and defect resolution. Based on experience we have our doubts if pure Agile (versus modified Agile) and an enterprise commercial application can cohabitate.
2. Application development projects require modified Agile approach
Application development projects for point solutions or enterprise solutions will require a modified agile approach for several reasons. First, the business or end users are typically deficient in understanding the total scope of work, so it’s necessary to do a greater amount of analysis before any development takes place. And second, any comprehensive testing cannot be accomplished in an Agile framework.
3. Enterprise Agile will eventually be surrounded by best practices
This is akin to the 1990’s when most management consulting companies marketed a proprietary waterfall deployment process as the cheaper, quicker, faster and better methodology. In reality quicker, cheaper, faster and better was a combination of best practices that evolved as a result of the successes and failures of a deployment. We predict agile will follow the same road.
4. Enterprise Agile will be hybrid Agile model
The road to Agile best practices, especially for Enterprise Agile, will create a different Agile model, a hybrid or Adaptive Agile model, meaning a combination of Agile and waterfall. We predict this hybrid Agile approach will be the offspring of today’s modified Agile strategy.
Today, we use the term Enterprise Agile, hybrid Agile or Adaptive Agile synonymously with modified Agile. We do this to distinguish that pure Agile is not being used based on the reasons above and because the organizations we work with—both IT and the business—have not yet matured into using pure Agile.
In conclusion, the Agile approach has transformed us from a historic commercial application integrator to an Agile development and implementation company. But, converting to Agile has been and still is a journey that will continue to evolve as hybrid approaches and best practices continue to be developed.