The Agile path to digital

  • Posted on February 25, 2014

I've previously talked about how the Digital Business that harnesses digital technologies will be able to compete smarter in the marketplace and create better products, services and customer experiences. But how do organizations actually deliver ‘digital projects?’ As I look at some of our customers, which have successfully embarked on their digital journey, I've come to realize some commonalities:

  • Realizing that the end goal is something we discover together along the journey, and embracing change as a competitive advantage, even late in development. Trust and collaboration are more important than contract negotiations.
  • Business and IT working closely and daily together throughout the project rather than relying on comprehensive documentation, realizing that the conversation between motivated individuals is the most efficient and effective means of communication.
  • Mixing an empowered, diverse and multi-faceted team working in a supportive environment with a healthy dose of tension. Allowing more, faster, lower-cost experiments, with more attention paid to lessons that come from all experiments, including those (the majority) that fail. Give them the support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  • Recognizing that complexity kills. Systems break in complex ways and digital innovation often means making them simpler in some way. Simplicity is important. Reducing the amount of work to reach the goal is essential.
  • Substantial change does not happen overnight. Whilst it is important to think big, start small and move fast. Sustainability is even more important. The sponsors, developers and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  • Honoring the trust of the organization, the team can frequently and honestly reflect on how to become more effective, then tune and adjust its behavior accordingly.

If these principles seem familiar, it is likely because you have seen them before as some of the core pillars of the Agile Manifesto.

Avanade realized back in 2012 that the path to digital often means embracing an agile mindset and we subsequently launched the beginning of an enterprise-wide Agile @ Avanade mission. It’s more than simply creating a methodology, establishing a process, or following a framework. It requires the right attitude, and above all, a cultural behavioral change that needs to happen throughout all levels of the organization.

I’m really pleased that we’re taking the next step in our journey by furthering the Avanade partnership with Scrum.org and Ken Schwaber (CEO of Scrum.org and one of the co-creators of the Agile Manifesto).

The path to Digital is often Agile!

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