Managing a business in a world that’s global, responsive, customer-focused and technology-driven, with software as the key driver of growth, innovation, efficiency and productivity. How deliverables are achieved says a lot about how you’ll compete in this world. A world written by software spells opportunities for those who capitalize on it and risks for those who don’t. The companies that survive—and thrive—in this world will be Agile companies: those able to quickly and confidently respond to change, deliver value faster than the competition and build high-quality products that customers really want.
Agile promises faster time to market, increased productivity, fewer defects, cost savings and better employee engagement. Agile methods help you build and deliver products incrementally, get value to customers quickly and keep development work aligned with business needs.
Have you heard the saying, “Fail forward fast”? I know every project begins with successful intentions, but the reality is that it doesn’t always work out that way. Perhaps it’s not even the project, but an idea or feature that you’re working on implementing and it’s just not adding the value you thought it would.
“Fail forward fast” infers that this failure happens quickly and you can learn from it and move on. In Agile frameworks there are not gigantic up-front analysis efforts; you learn as you go and change as you need to. Companies no longer need to spend $20 million and wait 18 months for a new application to launch. Agile can produce the application incrementally and businesses can experience return almost immediately. The application starts producing Return on Investment (ROI) quickly and with a small investment.
Stakeholders are users, customers, or anyone that has a vested interest in the software. In Agile approaches, stakeholders are heavily engaged in the process and their feedback is constantly solicited. To ensure that we’re adding value every step of the way, we ask the stakeholders their opinions during iterations. Stakeholders feel engaged and part of the process. They know that we’re working for them and are concerned with their needs. The bonus of this is that we’re building the right thing and can test our assumptions in ‘real time’.