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Avanade’s Agile approach to faster & better software development

  • Posted on August 5, 2014

Agile ApproachAvanade has embarked on an enterprise-scale agile transformation journey over the past three years, in partnership with Scrum.org. Although we have only written the first couple of chapters of this journey, we've gained valuable experience as we move along our “path to agility” and continue to refine our strategic agile approach.

It’s all about demand. I've seen a clear indication recently that our customers are increasingly looking for faster and more flexible development approaches to stay competitive. Delivering more value quicker with flexibility in changing requirements, the ability to innovate and improved collaboration between business and IT are becoming key differentiators in helping companies stay ahead.

To address these customer needs, we started back in 2011 with the Agile @ Avanade program, the building blocks of our agile capability. We knew back then that this was going to be a long-term initiative. Our agile approach is quite simple on paper, but difficult to execute because it requires more than simply creating a methodology, establishing a process or following a framework.

A transformation to an agile approach and enhanced way of working requires the right attitude, and above all, a cultural behavioural change that needs to happen throughout all levels of the organization. This is as true for Avanade as it is for our customers. A widespread adoption of agile methods works better by making sure that we foster a culture of transparency, self-organization and collaboration.

I value transparency very much. It implies openness, broad communication and accountability. Every aspect of our journey, from communication plans to quick wins and customer success stories, are shared with everyone through our agile communities of practice and various internal social media platforms.

When it comes to adoption, we must remember that agile in itself is technology agnostic, meaning it can be (and has been) successfully used on various technology platforms and solutions: application development, collaboration, user experience design, infrastructure, Dynamics CRM and Dynamics AX. As such, at Avanade we involve all lines of business and our Global Delivery Network in our agile program.

Another critical component of adoption is support from leadership and business functions such as legal, marketing, and sales. Sales people must understand our capabilities and what we can offer our customers, delivery leadership must be able to qualify agile opportunities, and legal folks need to understand key aspects of agile contracts. Don’t leave any of these groups out.

Avanade’s transformation journey is one that will never really end, it isn't a simple task, but we are determined to improve the profession of software development. I truly believe that our agile approach allows our customers to achieve value faster and with the flexibility required to stay ahead.

This blog post is the first in a series about Agile @ Avanade by author Karel Deman. Each part of the series will be published every other week, so stop back to read the latest installment.

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