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Minimum Criteria for Agile Introduction

posted Oct 7, 2011, 2:29 AM by Marcel Baumann

I often think that is necessary to transform a department or a company to become agile. The following are minimum criteria for being able to get full value out of an Agile environment:

  • Executive support: It may scare executives to imagine a company full of self-organizing groups in charge of the product development process, but Agile doesn't work unless those executives take the risk and respect rules around scrum team organization. 
    • Executives should understand that all development team members, including writers, would experience an adjustment period transitioning to Agile. No one expected a perfect transition. Managers communicated the need for patience across the organization.
  • Whole teams: Development, documentation, QA, and product management should be represented at all Agile meetings. Team members work the majority of their time together on the same project, team members stay in the team for at least until the release is delivered; a release has a duration of at least five sprints.
    • Scrum requests cross functional team so that all team members can work on any task on the Scrum board
  • Training and coaching: Organizations may latch on to a few elements of Agile methods, like just-in-time development or light organizational structure, but it really takes all the parts to make it work well. Your organization should invest in training and coaches to really make it work.
    • One main goal of Agile is continuous improvement to increase productivity and effectivity. Training and coaching are mandatory to improve the effectiveness of teams and individuals.
  • Tooling and effectivity: The team can order tools to improve their effectivity and reduce manual mundane tasks.
    • Working in an Agile environment is easier if all product development teams use the same tracking tool.
  • Occam Razor: If you use Scrum fulfill the few rules of the approach without exceptions. Do not tinker with the process, meetings, and artifacts. Feel free to use other approaches such Kanban or eXtreme Programming. But not call it Scrum.
    • Concept such as "getting to done" became clear after definitions with examples were provided. 

The good news is: you may still be able to use any of the following techniques to improve the documentation process in a not-entirely-Agile environment.

See also the wikipedia article about change management.