When clients come to us asking for “Agile”, they’re usually thinking of Scrum. They’re expecting us to come into their organization and solve all of their IT problems through standups and burn-down charts, or sending a scrum master or an agile coach to work with their teams. To this kind of IT services buyer, “Agile” is a hammer and every IT problem they have is a nail.
They’ve bought into “Agile” because of the benefits they’ve heard about – they want the faster time-to-market, the increased visibility into their teams, and the ability to release software whenever they want. And they think that each of these nails can be pounded in with the Agile hammer; that by simply switching to iterative development cycles and implementing a few ceremonies, everything will be fixed.
This confusion is often the root cause for why Agile projects fail. Agile is more than just Scrum, and Scrum is not a cure-all for your IT woes. Agile is a buzz word that is misused to cover a multitude of IT sins. It is time to take the buzz out of the buzz word and get a reality check.
How do we do that? First and foremost, at Mindtree we have stopped selling hammers. We sit down with our clients and do real analysis. We immerse ourselves in our client’s organization. We dig to identify the root cause of the issues that they are experiencing. We then apply the most effective tool to mitigate risk and optimize productivity.
Sometimes, that will be an Agile Framework. Sometimes it won’t. We need to make sure that we are well-versed in a variety of problem-solving tools. We need to reach out to internal experts to validate our hypothesis and gain knowledge from their experience. Only then can we begin the process of change that will be needed, beginning with helping our clients build a strategy and roadmap that will guide them on the journey of change. We then walk this journey with them and adjust course as necessary to ensure changes are adopted and institutionalized.
Hey, IT services world, it is time to stop selling “Agile” and start helping clients solve their problems. The sooner we start digging deep to find the problem our clients actually need solved, the sooner we can see real business value delivered.
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