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Agile2012 preview: Emerging strategies for Agile enterprises

At Agile2012 in Dallas next week, Mike Cottmeyer, Enterprise Agile Coach at LeadingAgile, LLC, will be giving two presentations. He gave a preview of what to expect from both. His Wednesday talk, “Patterns for Agile Adoption and Transformation” and his Thursday talk, “Understanding Agile Program and Portfolio Management,” both offer strategies for managers to adopt Agile and change the structure of project management within the organization.

“How do you enact the cultural shift that inevitably has to happen? That falls into the category of non-trivial problems,” says Cottmeyer. Sometimes completing a total transformation takes months or even years, depending on the organization. Fortunately, Agile has evolved to the point now that there are several success stories out there, as well as failures that provide current practitioners with a basis of what not to do, so Agile adoption can prove highly beneficial despite the complex changes involved.

Senior leadership teams can make a total Agile project management transformation. “Where it really works best is when you’ve got an engaged senior leadership team that understands the problem and is able to make the changes organizationally, enterprise-wide, that are necessary to make Agile work.” It goes beyond just a development process, extending into the other team members’ functions as well.

Agile transformation, the focus of Wednesday’s talk, requires attention to organizational structure, practices and culture, Cottmeyer explains. Furthermore, he emphasizes the importance of the inter-relationship between those three factors. Organizations can achieve success with systematic, incremental steps that consider each of these dimensions.

Thursday’s presentation on program and portfolio management will focus mainly on practices, techniques and tools that teams can use to efficiently accomplish their goals.

Cottmeyer hopes participants will leave with a different view on what is possible with Agile. “As Agile moves into its second decade, there are a lot of us out there dealing with the real, corporate realities that these managers are facing, and there are strategies beginning to emerge that can help them be effective as long as they’re willing to look beyond the traditional boundaries of Agile that people have been talking about for the last ten years. And really focus on business-level agility. There’s some good ideas out there that people are having success with.”

For other recent SSQ articles on enterprise Agile, see:

Scaling Agile requirements management to the enterprise level
Textbook vs. Enterprise Agile development: Adapting Scrum to scale
Managing requirements as production applications scale

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I agreed with the view point you have provided here that it requires attention to organizational structure, practices and culture. This will be helpful for achieving the required goal.