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Agile Development: A Manager’s Roadmap for Success Contents

Introduction .................. ..................................... ...................................... ................................1 .............1


Executive Summary ................... ...................................... ....................................... ....................22

The players change but the story seems to remain the same – most software projects are late, over budget, and mis-matched with market needs by the time they are delivered. Regardless of the continuous stream of technology advances in the software field, just getting software out the door continues to be our challenge. In a $250+ billion industry, one out of every four dollars is wasted on failed or cancelled projects; with considerably more waste if you include ongoing delays and cost overruns.

Understand Agility ................. .................................... ...................................... .......................3 ....3 Initiating Agility .................. ..................................... ...................................... ..........................4 .......4 Embrace Organizational Change .................. ..................................... ....................4 .4 Promote Early and Often ................. .................................... ................................5 .............5 Scaling Up and Out .................. ..................................... ....................................... ....................55 Tooling for Success .................. ..................................... ....................................... ....................66

Which Agile methodology do you follow most closely?

All Others 29%

Scrum 49%

Scrum/XP Hybrid 22% Scrum


Scrum/XP Hybrid


Extreme Programming (XP)




Don’t Know


 Agile Unified Process Process (AgileUP) (AgileUP)




FeatureFeat ure-Dri Driven ven Develo Development pment (FDD) (FDD)


Lean Development


Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)




 Agile Modeling




Despite mounting Now is the Time ................. .................................... ...................................... ..........................6 .......6 evidence that traditional, “bigbang” and ad-hoc approaches to software development do not work, software organizations organizations continue to use the same development processes that have existed for decades. While we may take comfort in consistency,, today’s consistency today’s rapidly changing business environment fundamentally demands a modern, adaptable approach to software delivery. Similar to the transition to just-intime (JIT) and lean production processes in both the automotive (Toyota) (Toyota) and consumer electronics (Dell) industries, software software development is in the midst of transforming from a rigid, process-driven approach to a more adaptive, business business value-driven approach called Agile Development. Agile development is an umbrella term for a number of iterative and incremental software development methodologies such as Extreme Programming (XP), Scrum, Crystal, Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), Lean Development, and Feature Driven Development Development (FDD). Especially during the last several years, Agile development has made its way into the software mainstream at companies like Siemens, CapitalOne, Lockheed Motorola,are Microsoft, Yahoo, Google,toGE, and Cisco Systems. These and many Martin, other companies using Agile processes deliver significant improvements in innovation, quality, productivity, and competitive advantage.



Executive Summary Despite advances in software development technology, just getting software out the door continues to be a tremendous challenge. The vast majority of software projects continue to be late, over-budget, over-budget, and mismatched with market needs by the time they are delivered. Agile Development aims to change this.

Today’s rapidly changing business environment demands a more adaptable approach to software delivery. Enabling Today’s the same techniques that revolutionized the automotive (Toyota) and consumer electronics (Dell) industries, Agile development is transforming the way software development organizations deliver value and become software delivery organizations. The results from Agile development are overwhelming, and a growing number of successful projects, industry reports, and surveys demonstrate clear results including faster deliver times, lower defect rates, improved improved team morale, and more satisfied customers. Leading-edge companies such as Siemens, CapitalOne, Lockheed Lockheed Martin, Motorola, Microsoft, Yahoo, Yahoo, Google, Google, GE, and Cisco Systems are leveraging Agile to improve their business results and to build lasting competitive advantage. Agile is rapidly becoming the de facto standard software development process for high-performance teams and the real question for software s oftware managers and executives is no longer if you adopt Agile, Agile, but when and how. Although successfully adopting Agile is not a trivial exercise, Agile done correctly is highly rewarding for organizations and to the individuals involved. In today’s hyper-competitive hyper-competitive world, later may be too late to adopt Agile development and this Roadmap for Success will help you get started. The The steps are a re straightforward: take take time to understand the principles of agility, embrace the change that Agile requires, become a champion for Agile projects, foster adoption throughout the organization, and invest in theyou skills anddown toolsthe thatpath enable Agile the to meet of evenimprovements the largest to development projects. The sooner start to Agile, fasterthe youneeds w ill deliver will your bottom line.



Understand Agility

In Agile development:

It is important to first understand what Agile development is and what it is not. Regardless of what you may read or hear from a few over zealous early adopters, Agile development is neither a silver bullet nor a religious software faction. For For the vast majority of practitioners,, Agile development is simply the natural evolution of practitioners software process to support today’s accelerated, rapidly changing business environment. Through Through a lightweight, low-ceremony approach to software development, Agile incorporates incorporates a highly disciplined set of management and engineering best practices for accelerating and improving the delivery process. The The key tenets associated with Agile development have been around for decades and are based on a series of simple, proven steps.

• High-level, feature-driven plans evolve over time - replacing speculative, task-based details. • Continuous, JIT planning methods methods are substituted for detailed, upfront plans. • Visibility into project status and progress is based on the undeniable truth of working software. • Highly simplied and effective metrics metrics based on team productivity trends and historical results help drive much more predictable, reliable project forecasting.

In Agile projects: • Organizations break large initiatives down into smaller smaller projects or releases. • Cross-functional teams break projects down into small small pieces of

functionality. • Features are worked worked on collaboratively collaboratively and delivered in the order of business value. • Software is planned and delivered in short, frequent iterations iterations that incorporate all aspects of software development – e.g., planning, analysis, design, development, testing, and integration. • All stakeholders (executives, managers, custom customers, ers, develop developers, ers, testers,, etc.) are involved throughout the delivery cycle to ensure testers ongoing alignment with evolving market needs. • Working, tested software software serves as the primary measure of progress.

What was the MOST IMPORTANT reason for adopting Agile within your team or organization? Accelerate Time-to-Market Enhance Ability to Manage Changing Priorities Increase Productivity Enhance Software Quality Improve Alignment Between IT and Business Improve Project Visibility Reduce Risk Simplify Developm ent Process Other Improved/Increased Engineering Discipline

22% 21% 12% 10% 9% 6% 6% 4% 3% 2%

Reduce Cost Enhance So Software Ma Maintainability/Extensibility Improved Team Morale

2% 2% 1%

While the benefits associated with accelerate acceleratedd delivery of business value, improved improved visibility, increased adaptability, and reduced risk are apparent - what is less apparent is how Agile development development specifically impacts managers. On a day to day basis, Agile’s greatest impact is in the style of management required to be successful. Agile thrives under a “lead and adapt” management style in which project teams are empowered to communicate and deliver. The freedom to transition away from the traditional task-master role and into a more strategic, collaborative collaborative role will appeal to many managers. While the early champions of Agile were primarily developers, recent evidence shows that the individuals driving adoption are now primarily project managers, development directors, directors, and senior executives.. This executives This upward movement within the organizational chart is in direct correlation to Agile transitioning from small teams to large enterprises. Initiating Agility

The decision to adopt Agile development requires vision, fortitude, and an understanding of the business and organizational benefits that accompany Agile. Managers Managers that champion Agile internally have a strong desire to accelerate the delivery of business value within their companies and to improve the manner in which this value is delivered. The The time required to fully deploy Agile processes will vary significantly depending on the size of an organization, its complexity, complexity, and the willingness to change. While teams will certainly hit obstacles along the way, the business and team benefits help an organization remain focused on the ultimate goal. For Agile to be successful, it is important that the use of Agile development not be mandated in a purely top-down manner. It is very important for teams to want to use Agile processes to be more successful. To enable this success, it is always advisable to find an enthusiastic, open-minded open-minded team and to use them to initiate a pilot project. project will abedifferent used to way work internal This kinksinitial of doing things way. . out many of the



If Agile expertise exists internally internally,, leverage it to the fullest extent on this team. If not, acquire the right skills by hiring experienced Agile personnel or by engaging well-respected Agile consultants and coaches. In many situations, it is advisable to bring in outside expertise to help introduce change. Regardless of whether true or not, insiders are often perceived as less objective objective.. It will be important to take this opportunity to educate key management personnel and stakeholderss on both the value and values of Agile development. You stakeholder may also want to help set initial expectations by introducing simplified metrics such as velocity charts and burndown graphs. Traditional





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Yes, Agile development involves change but it is change for the better. Agile requires letting go of the past and embracing new ways of doing things. In the interest of maximizing productivity and quality, departmental silos are retired in favor of empowered, cross-functional cross-functional teams. Teams are then able to share a single, common vision, relying on one another throughout the process to deliver the greatest business value possible in the allotted time. Yo Youu should feel confident that everyone who is motivated to change and improve can find a new home in an Agile environment. Take the role of development manager. In traditional projects the development manager spends days each week maintaining schedules, reviewing Gantt and PERT charts, assigning work to team members and following up on tasks. Agile teams are more self-directed entities that are empowered to detail and deliver their own tasks. As a result, this frees up more time for the development manager to focus on higher value activities such as removing project roadblocks, facilitating collaborationn among project stakeholde collaboratio stakeholders, rs, coordinating organization-



Embrace Organizational Change

wide activities, communicating communicating goals and progress against those goals, and enabling a healthy healthy,, productive working environment.



   e  o  d


Better Metrics: Clear Visibility into Real-Time Progress and Status

Passed Passed

Lend the project your undivided attention and give it time to demonstrate the benefits of Agile processes. It is during this formative period the team will learn how to span the chasm that once separated different parts of the organization. Agile teams work towards a common goal as a single unit. There There should be little of the us-versusthem thinking that is commonplace on traditional projects. Although the project stakeholders may belong on different branches of the org chart, when united on an Agile team they must work collaboratively to achieve success. Keep in mind the common pitfalls many teams face when introducing any type of change and ensure you have a team with the appropriate support, experience and resources available to them. The The commitment shown to this initial team will establish a foundation for success going forward. Your efforts as an Agile champion will be rewarded in due course. The Your The success of an Agile pilot project is sure to garner the interest of others. Soon a steady stream of questions will come: How did you get going so fast with Agile? Why doesn’t the team work weekends or pull allnighters anymore? Why is the defect rate so low? And, just why does everyone on the team look so happy?

Agile offers similar benefits to quality assurance (QA) personnel. In Agile projects QA is brought into the process immediately where its benefit is greatest. Test scenarios are fleshed out at same time, or even before, software is written. All the way down at the code level, test-driven development follows hand-in-hand with Agile’s Agile’s commitment to technical excellence and quality. Don’t forget that Agile teams must collaborate to deliver tested, working software at the end of each iteration. This This forges a strong reliance between developers and testers as they work together closely to achieve the common goal. 4


The role of the software developer also transitions to a focus on delivering value vs. coding to a “spec”. Agile programmers programmers are committed to improving their craft in terms of design, quality and technical excellence. The focus falls squarely on delivering software and less on process and tasks. This results in a much higher degree of  job satisfaction. Professionally Professionally,, developers developers are now part of of a unified

Broadening the adoption of Agile will certainly require additional executive management support. Take special care to educate management on the benefits and results, as well as the challenges associated with Agile development. Setting realistic expectations is critical – Agile should not be perceived as a silver bullet, but instead simply a more modern, disciplined approach to software

team and must collaborate with others (customers, QA, tech writers, etc.) in an effort to maximize the value their teams deliver. Feedback loops are accelerated and accountability is high. Gone are the days of developers working behind closed doors for months on end with a high risk of delivering software that no longer meets market demands.

delivery which is better able to handle accelerated delivery cycles and changing priorities. Rely on the successes of early projects to help illustrate the value of Agile processes processes..

Generally speaking, communicating how people and departments fit together going forward will give teams a much greater sense of belonging. Given Agile development is as much about people as anything else, taking extra time to treat this change in roles and responsibilities is especially critical for managers.

Following these initial successes, the enthusiasm for Agile will typically be running high yet it is advisable to continue a rollout strategy that incrementally deploys Agile within the organization – not necessarily one project at a time, but in planned chunks. Aligning change with the speed that your organization is capable of accommodating change is important. Some organizations organizations are able to quickly adapt and change course, others are not quite so nimble.

Promote Results Early and Often

Project success begets success, but it takes time to convince an organization that Agile offers a path to broad, longer-term success. Begin generating support by highlighting results within your immediate circle of influence such as your department, division, or larger team. Whether through formal or informal gatherings, focus on both the tangible and intangible value delivered by your Agile projects. For For tangible results, communicate simple measures such as delivery dates, defect counts, customer satisfaction, and the reliability of Agile planning metrics to drive home the point. For less tangible results, focus focus on communicating improvements in areas such as team morale and the ability to more easily respond to changing priorities. Remain steady in your conviction. Resistance Resistance to change is natural so don’t expect overnight acceptance. You mayiteven be able take advantage of a healthy skepticism by allowing to help pointtoout less obvious areas of concern. With this type of ammunition, you can focus on communicating successes and dispelling myths in these specific areas.

Scaling Up and Out

Throughout the rollout process, continue to assess projects and opportunities which are open to or in need of change and have the most to gain from Agile. Do your best to align these opportunities with the overall goals of the organization and that of key stakeholders. stakeholde rs. By doing so you are likely to garner additional support as it becomes apparent that Agile positively impacts the bottom line. Have a publicized, open-door policy to daily stand-ups and planning sessions for personnel on non-agile teams. This will give them a nonthreatening introduction and the ability to observe the Agile process. Continue building credibility and facilitating success by seeding teams with the necessary expertise. You will now have experienced personnel from within earlier projects to choose from and utilizing the of a coach experiencedEnsure in scaling would be ofexpertise tremendous benefitortotrainer the organization. thatAgile adequate training is provided and that teams believe they have been provided the skills required to succeed. As projects progress, broadly share lessons learned and regularly communicate wins as they occur. occur. As important, quickly learn from failures and adjust course accordingly. accordingly.

Please try to estimate specific improvements you have actually realized from implementing Agile practices? ≥10%


100     d    e    z    i     l    a    e    R    t    n    e    m    e    v    o    r    p    m    I       %


% Improvement Realized


60 40




57% 56%








Accelerated Time-to-Market   30%




Reduced Software Defects









Increased Productivity

55% 29%



Reduced Cost

0 Increased Productivity

Accelerated Time-to-Market

Reduced Software Defects

Reduced Cost




As you begin to scale Agile to larger and larger projects and more distributed teams, the challenges obviously amplify yet the core tenets of Agile do not change. Agile methods promote taking large projects and breaking them down into a coordinated series of smaller projects staffed by smaller, cross-functional teams. This workload decomposition places a premium on effective collaboration. Additional Additional

requirements, user stories, product backlog, features, …) as the primary planning asset. To To properly support sup port Agile development, tools must support the actual planning and management practices promoted by Agile. •

complexity is found in the continuous change in plans and priorities associated with Agile projects and must be coordinated across teams. As with any significant process improvement deployment, consistency consistency across the organization is vital. Reliable, real time visibility into project status is critical for broad-based stakeholder stakeholder confidence and acceptance.. To acceptance To provide this type of global insight typically requires a single, consolidated view of plans, priorities, and progress.

tools for different phases, p hases, Agile development follows a tightly integrated process that coordinates high-level feature planning, detailed task and test planning, p lanning, defect and test measurement, and overall project tracking. Especially in an environment that promotes stakeholder visibility, visibility, tracking project information in multiple tools can inhibit accurate, real-time insight into projects. •

Cross-functional teams – True support for cross-functional teams means consolidating and facilitating the project planning and tracking needs of customers, product management, project management, programmers, testers, etc. in a single environment for improved collaboratio collaborationn and consistency consistency..

Flexible project and team setup – No two two organizations organizations operate operate in the exact same manner when it comes to organizational structure, terminology, product planning, project scheduling and tracking, and reporting. Any Agile management tool should accommodate organizational organizational requirements and enable them to define unique departmental rollups, product line breakdowns breakdowns,, cross-project reporting, reporting, and potentially many teams working on a single project.

Tooling for Success

Traditional lifecycle management tools are unable to meet the needs of Agile organizations because they are based on a fundamentally different approach to planning and measurement. The inherent complexity associated with these tools has further inhibited broad acceptance.. To facilitate success in an Agile environment, effective acceptance tools must embrace and promote the following characteristics: •

Iterative, feature-driven development – Many teams continue to Iterative, try to force-feed a series of traditional tools that do not facilitate planning and tracking by release or iteration, do not easily enable changes to plans and priorities priorities,, and do not use features (e.g.

Integrated lifecycle management – Instead of using different

Agile Project Management Tools Tools 45


40 35 30

Which of the following specific tools do you currently use?


(select all that apply)

20 15

19% 13% 13%







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45 40 35


This chart consists of a sub-set of the responses reported in the bar chart below. It includes data from respondents using agile project management specific tools.

30 25 20 15

24.40% 16.31% 14.93%

10 5

13.34% 8.30% 8.00% 7.06% 6 .71% 4.56%

4.39% 2.24% 2.19%





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Agile metrics and reporting – Agile tools measure a fundamentally different set of metrics than traditional management tools. Business Business value delivered by the team is the new yardstick, not hours worked per person per task. Burndown graphs, velocity charts, burn-up charts, etc. must be supported out-of-the-box. Stakeholder ease-of-use Stakeholder ease-of-use – While complex needs needs may arise, the necessity to provide team members a simple, straightforward planning, tracking, and reporting system is critical for broadbased acceptance. Like Agile development, the more simplified the tool the better. Most importantly, tools should never replace the benefits achieved from daily planning, face-to-face communication, product reviews and retrospective retrospectives. s. An Agile lifecycle management tool is only as good as the process it facilitates and the people that use it.

Now is the Time

The question is no longer if you move to Agile, but when and how. The steps required to go Agile, while not easy, are fairly straightforward. Research, investigate, investigate, and learn as much as possible about Agile. Identify a project or team in your organization where you believe Agile can thrive. Build the case for a pilot project. Educate executive management about the approach, benefits, and challenges of Agile. Kickoff the pilot project and protect it from the naysayers and skeptics. Invest in your people and build their skills through appropriate tools and training. You’ll soon find that Agile processes result in better quality software You’ll delivered in a shorter timeframe than ever before. Your development team will be happier with the sustainable su stainable pace of Agile, and your company’ss stakeholders and shareholders will be convinced by Agile’s company’ impact on the bottom line.

Just like Toyota Toyota and Dell could not deploy traditional manufacturing systems to support their JIT and/or lean production environments, today’ss organizations cannot haphazardly today’ h aphazardly patch together tools based on outdated planning and tracking methods to succeed in an Agile environment. Agile tools, such as those offered by VersionOne, VersionOne, provide an integrated, out-of-the-box solution for adopting and scaling Agile development. Just as important, they are simple enough for everyone to use and flexible enough to accommodate the rapid change to plans and priorities that are embraced by Agile.

About Ver VersionOne sionOne VersionOne is recognized by Agile practitioners as the leader in Agile project management tools. Since 2002, we have helped more than 10,000 teams and 70,000 users in 50 countries from companies such as Adobe, BBC, Siemens, Disney, Dow Chemical, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Sony, 3M and Business Objects provide greater value to their customers by simplifying the process of planning and tracking Agile software projects.

To learn more about how VersionOne can help simplify and streamline your Agile software projects, visit www.versionone.com. © 2008, VersionOne, Inc. All Rights Reserved. An Agile Project Management Company Company.. 


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