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Charting the Agile impact on the enterprise

Editor's note: An Agile approach to software development has ripple effects throughout the business, from the sales and marketing teams to finance and HR.  In this video, SearchCIO columnist Joseph Flahiff outlines the Agile impact on other groups in the organization, specifically how they will be affected as IT starts to deliver products faster. Below is the transcript edited for clarity.

As your organization begins to become nimble -- begins to become an Agile organization -- you are going to notice more than your development team is impacted by this. If you just think about it for a minute, you come to realize there are dramatic, [positive] impacts across the organization.

When your teams are delivering in micro increments of a couple of weeks or a couple of months, it shifts everything.

Agile: Impact on every department

  • Sales: Your sales teams are used to an 18- to 24-month time frame before something is available for them to sell. They have all of this time and they know exactly what is going to be in it. Now you're delivering a new product every two to four to six weeks. That changes their whole sales approach. They don't know exactly what is in that thing and it is changing [fast] for them.
  • Marketing: Marketing changes for the exact same reasons.
    [Agile] is not just a development practice -- agility becomes an organizational change.
  • Internal training programs: What about your training people -- the people who are doing training or certification? Their whole model had to change. Now there are all of these different versions out there. [They ask], "What are we certifying people on? This one or that one?" Or, if it is a web-based product, they have to keep updating it as the web-based product updates. Oh, and, think about your tech support. If you are using a drop product that is installed, then there are multiple versions anyone can be on -- any number of versions. Or, if it's a web-version, then they need to keep up with what people are on.  So, it changes the way they interact with people and the way they keep up with what's changing.
  • Finance: Budgeting has to change because you are no longer doing these ginormous projects. You are supporting products that are launching [one after the other], really fast.

All kinds of changes have to happen. [Agile] changes the way you hire people. It changes the way work gets assigned or is taken on. It changes HR and how you do annual reviews. If so much value is found in the team and in the interactions of the team, then do you get bonuses by team or graded by team?  That all has to change and you need to look at that.

There are so many areas. [Agile] is not just a development practice -- agility becomes an organizational change: You are changing the culture of your entire organization. 

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