Phy-gital Roundtable: Breakfast Roundup from Germany and Netherlands

02 May '15 | Debjyoti Paul

German Shoppers: Meet Them in the Fast Lane to Phy-gital

15 January '15 | Ralf Reich

Shoppers Will Share Personal Information (But They Don’t Want to be “Friends”)

15 January '15 | Anil Venkat

Modernize or Perish: Property and Casualty Insurers and IT Solutions

14 January '15 | Manesh Rajendran

Benelux Reaches the Phy-gital Tipping Point: Omnichannel Readiness is Crucial

13 January '15 | Anil Gandharve

The New Omnichannel Dynamic: Finding Core Principles Across Industries

13 January '15 | Debjyoti Paul

Technology does not disrupt business – CIO day 2014 Roundup

02 December '14 | Anshuman Singh

Apple Pay – The Best Is Yet To Come

02 December '14 | Indy Sawhney

Digital transformation is a business transformation enabled by technology

01 December '14 | Amit Varma

3 Stages of FATCA Testing and Quality Assurance

06 October '14 | Raman Suprajarama

3 Reasons why Apple Pay could dominate the payments space

18 September '14 | Gaurav Johri

Beacon of Hope: Serving Growth and Customer Satisfaction

05 August '14 | Debjyoti Paul

The Dos and Don’ts of Emerging Technologies Like iBeacon

30 July '14 | Debjyoti Paul

What You Sold Us On – eCommerce Award Finalist Selections

17 July '14 | Anshuman Singh

3 Steps to Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

04 June '14 | Koushik Ramani

8 Steps to Building a Successful Self Service Portal

03 June '14 | Giridhar LV

Innovation outsourced – a myth or a mirage or a truth staring at us?

13 January '14 | Ramesh Hosahalli

What does a mobile user want?

03 January '14 | Gopikrishna Aravindan

Agile methods in stage-gated IT environments – Involving Business Users

Posted on: 19 July '13

In my first post in this series, I shared six reasons for adopting Agile in enterprises. In spite of those reasons, several IT organizations in North America, Europe and rest of the world have not initiated agile adoption. Why? This is not because they have not heard or learnt about the benefits of agile methods. This is because of factors related to organizational culture and several myths and misinterpretations on agile. In the second post, I discussed the three barriers I have come across in some situations.

In this post, I am going to continue this topic and discuss about what it takes to bring business users and IT teams together in forming cross-functional teams.

Stage-gated IT environments are known for gates such as ‘Requirements Sign-off’. When requirements are signed-off, IT teams are left alone as business users get engrossed in their day-to-day activities. There are no weekly meetings or monthly demos which bring IT teams and business users together.

When we introduce agile methods in an environment like this, the first step is about forming cross functional teams. I know, it is not easy to have a fulltime business analyst in your team – I mean a business analyst who is a representative of your business users. However, you can have a cross functional team with all other roles – developers, testers, DBAs, etc. When this happens, the next step is to experience how iterative and incremental development and engineering practices can help IT teams. That is when IT teams learn agile practices and align towards delivering working software in short iterations.

With this accomplishment, you must be able to demonstrate working software to business users. When you are confident of demonstrating working software, involve business users in demos at the end of two or three iterations. Let me tell you, it is very important to identify two to four contacts in your team of business users. These two or four contacts have to be team players who believe in the power of collaborative spirit. When you do this, those two, three or four representatives are going attend your demo to see features that they are going to use in future and provide some meaningful feedback; and, they are going to talk about this new way of developing software with their peers! They are going to be your success champions!

Well begun is half done! Next, how about a half-day workshop on agile methods to our business users with the help of our success champions who have experienced the benefits in going through the demonstration of working software and providing feedback? Does this sound like a logical sequence of steps to involve business users?

Let me recap.

  1. Form a cross-functional team. It is ok if there is no business analyst.
  2. Learn and implement engineering practices (e.g., continuous integration, automated unit test, etc.)
  3. Experience iterative and incremental development by ‘doing’.
  4. Identify two to four contacts – team players and believe in the power of collaborative spirit from the team of business users.
  5. Let them experience the benefits of demo couple of times.
  6. Organize a half-day workshop to all business users and share your experience.

Do you think these steps will work in your organization? What do you have to share?

How fixed or mandatory are your stage gates? Let us find answers to this question in the next post!