Be Agile to make IT integral to your company’s growth & success

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In my last post talking about several ways to get your product to the market faster, one of the big things I pointed out is to be Agile in your product development and application development activities. And I also emphasized actually using proper Agile development methodologies.

You often hear IT people talk about how they’re doing Agile product development in some way or at some level. But as technology professionals, we need to understand what being Agile really means. In other words, in our development methodology, we need to ask ourselves what is the business value Agile is giving?

As I see it, one of the core values of Agile development is delivering business value quickly. And it’s about being flexible. Just using the Agile development methodology for project management is good – there’s nothing wrong with that. But the true value of Agile will come when IT professionals can convert this method into a true business value.

I started thinking about this after reading a recent article in Information Week. The article analyzes an interesting survey covering how companies’ non-IT and IT people each perceive their own IT departments and their core capabilities.

The survey shows a fairly big difference in perceptions. For example, 57% of IT pros believe their organizations use Agile and flexible project methodologies, while only 29% of non-IT people feel that’s true. So there it is – only about one-third of non-IT staff think their IT people use Agile. Now, it may be true that IT shops are using Agile methodology, but they likely struggle to show their non-IT colleagues the real business value of their Agile posture.

reality_checkIn addition, the survey shows 60% of IT pros believe their IT departments are integral to the overall business. Yet, in contrast, only 43% of non-IT people believe that’s true. So here’s a case in point: you want to truly show how your technology development work makes IT meaningful and integral to the health and growth of the business. Anything we do in IT – whether in product development or application development (and especially in an enterprise company) – needs to help fuel business growth, efficiency and productivity. And that’s the only way IT can become an integral part of the business.

So, again, being Agile makes us realize anything we do in our technology and application development needs to tie back to the business value.

One final data point. According to the survey, 68% of IT people believe business users are satisfied with the quality, timeliness and cost of their IT projects. Yet only 50% of non-IT people would agree. While that’s not a huge gap, I believe that gap can be filled using proper Agile methodology.

My point is that Agile will help you bring your non-IT business people inside your development shop (think of the value of being transparent about your backlog prioritization) so they can understand what’s happening in your development efforts and you can understand the critical business value of your efforts.

Motifworks partners with companies to accelerate their application development focusing on emerging technologies like cloud, mobile, social and data analytics.
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