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Transforming Into Agile: Pitfalls to Avoid

Transforming Into Agile: Pitfalls to Avoid

Digital transformation is happening across nearly every industry. Everywhere you look companies are fighting to become more reactive to customer wants and pursuing more progressive delivery methods. Companies with traditional internal processes and methodologies are struggling to stay ahead of younger, more nimble companies. The investment potential may be there, but the traditional mindset on delivery of development is holding back timely progress. It is in this volatile climate that mid-size companies are fighting to stay relevant and many are pursuing agile methodology as the remedy.

The appeal of agile is simple. Rather than spending a year producing a full album and hoping for mass acceptance by audiences on the end product, individual singles are produced and released throughout the year, each song developing around what audiences preferred or rejected from the previous. Conceptually, incremental releases allow companies to be responsive to changes in consumer behavior and reactive when a solution is not having the intended results. However, implementing this is generally easier said than done and most companies are faced with avoidable pitfalls with transforming into agile.

Mid-size companies are challenged by issues of quality control when they release software updates following an incomplete agile structure. Many find themselves hemorrhaging money into half-baked solutions that are destined to underperform when provided to consumers because they are not following a true incremental delivery method. They may also see security issues arise and additional complexity appear within the technological landscape. The underlying truth is that agile cannot solely serve as a development tool, but should push for an organizational shift in addition to project delivery methodology.  There can be many reasons for this that vary with organizational structure, adaptiveness to change, and employee buy-in.

For example, mid-size companies will struggle with expectations of product delivery. In classic project management, resources and cost are planned around a specific scope and timeline ending in a final product. Incremental delivery means a dramatic shift in expectations of what constitutes a final product. For leadership that are not accustomed to working in agile, it can give an appearance of constant cost for little immediate return. This is because in true agile incremental delivery may not yield return until several releases.

In addition to this, organizations typically do not spend enough time onboarding the business to agile delivery methodology.  Business needs drive change; agile does not change this fact. Many companies struggle with incomplete or low quality delivery because the business may only be active in the initial conversation but fall off as the incremental changes are implemented by developers. This is related to another common pitfall: the adoption of a scrum master and product owner. Traditional mindsets will typically struggle with the lack of hierarchy between the two roles. However, in true agile these roles have clear responsibilities and should rather act as accountability partners in ultimate product delivery.

Digital transformation means changing how your company interacts with its customers. In nature, this can be a daunting task. However, when the customer is king, companies have to be responsive to meet their needs and wants. Mid-size companies may have the expert resources to identify what the customers want and may even have the technical resources available to implement the change, but they are missing the direction and discipline needed to successfully operate in agile. Fortunately, there are companies with experience in introducing and setting up agile in a traditional project delivery environment.  With the right support and direction, mid-size companies will find transformation to be much more manageable and successful implementation achievable.

Interested to know more about digital transformations, agile adoption, and how Apexon can help your company avoid these pitfalls?  Contact our experienced delivery team today.

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