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Agile isn’t just a project management framework and philosophy; it’s a business-changing set of standard operating procedures that may require changes to roles and responsibilities within your team. While more businesses are opting to implement Agile, they are quick to discover that the magnitude of these changes goes beyond processes.

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Reorganizing your IT department might be necessary for Agile to work the way it’s intended. Here are some considerations when implementing these changes, to get faster software delivery.

 

Tearing Down Walls

Historically, companies have viewed software and hardware as two different elements with two different organizational hierarchies. Infrastructure management and application development might operate under the same umbrella within the organization but have clear lines of division. For Agile to work effectively, these lines must be blurred, and a DevOps mentality must be implemented.

 

DevOps is a system of philosophies and practices that creates cohesion for developers (software) and operations (hardware). Shifting toward a DevOps setup will assist in creating a continuous feedback loop that will improve efficiency throughout the entirety of the IT department.

 

DevOps goes beyond creating a cohesive team. To implement Agile effectively, you’ll need to look at all aspects of how the department functions. This includes what tools you have in place for logging and monitoring your apps (learn more about syslog and why logging matters for Agile) as well as having the right people in the right roles and how communication takes place.

 

Start tearing down the walls between your IT teams and let them know of your future intentions. Create team-building opportunities and a platform for team members to share their concerns and speak their minds.

 

Implementing Standards

Within any organization, there’s often a level of disconnect between departments. Even within larger departments, such as accounting, there can be a disconnect between various teams that work parallel to one another.

 

One of the best ways to bring your teams together is to create standards. After you’ve indicated the future shift toward Agile, ask your various teams to put together guides about what their team does, best practices, things they need to happen, and things they need not to happen. By bringing these together from the various teams, you’ll be able to create a standardized approach across the board. Put these in an easy-to-understand master document that everyone will be able to understand.

 

Defining Roles

Agile has specific roles clearly identified to remove any ambiguity about who is responsible within a project. Two overarching, critical roles include the Scrum Master and the Product Owner. The Scrum Master is the main project manager. This individual will be responsible for keeping the project moving forward by tracking critical tasks and keeping the team accountable.

 

The Product Owner acts as a facilitator for communication. He/she will be the person who handles inquiries from customers, the board and executive team and other interested parties. They keep all the logging information up to date and work with the Scrum Master to ensure the team is delivering as promised.

 

Careful consideration must be applied when defining who will take on the responsibilities of the Scrum Master and Product Owner. The Scrum Master must be enthusiastic about the Agile process and act as a leader rather than a manager. The Product Owner must be able to convey what’s going on within the project in a clear and simple manner for outside parties. Both need to be able to work with the overall team in an effective manner.

 

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Bringing in a Consultant

As implementing Agile is a project, many organizations choose to bring in a consultant to help with the restructuring of the IT department for optimal effectiveness. Bringing in an Agile expert can help you identify the changes that need to be made, create an implementation plan, and help guide your IT department through the changes.

 

The main benefit of taking this approach to change management is that it will help minimize distractions and delays of a purely internal approach. Projects can continue to move forward as they are and the process will be less frustrating for all involved.

 

Taking Small Steps

Don’t make the costly mistake of thinking that everything must change at once. To effectively implement Agile, you may start to work with a few of their philosophies in a smaller team before making changes throughout the entire department. This serves as a beta test for the process, allowing you to identify and correct any pitfalls that arise on a smaller scale before changing the department. It helps you do things right the first time.

 

There are a few ways to adopt aspects of the Agile approach before making changes. Either create a small team that will start using the program, select a project that will be started in Agile or shifted to this approach, or take aspects of the process itself.

 

Implementing Agile can be a positive change for your business, but it can be complex to implement if not well managed. Take time to assess what your business needs, your bright spots and challenges, and work with a consultant for best results.

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