Ensuring Agile Success,

Agile is becoming more widespread for managing engineering design projects, thanks to its ability to help bring products to market faster, together with greater scope for innovation. Agile’s own evolution is widening its appeal, particularly the advent of new Agile variants that are better than Scrum or Kanban at supporting large-scale, often compliance-driven projects.

These include the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Disciplined Agile Delivery, Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS), and large-scale Kanban. Plus, organisations are now combining both traditional and Agile approaches, known as hybrid Agile. This enables them to maintain a more structured approach to planning while also having the ability to respond to the unknown.

Hybrid Agile is a big step forward. Until recently, more risk-averse markets were wary of changing, particularly those that are heavily regulated. Now, more organisations are embracing Agile precisely because it contributes to quality, compliance, and control, without creating unnecessary roadblocks to market.

What really matters, however, is not the type of Agile chosen, but how it is implemented. Achieving sustainable Agile is an on-going process that includes retrospectives and continuous improvement, together with some best practice approaches.  Ensuring that everyone embraces an Agile mindset is essential.

More specific ways to ensure Agile success include: better management of product backlogs, measurement based on business outcomes not vanity metrics (such as additional revenue generated), plus solid traceability baked into Agile processes, particularly where regulations exist.

Above all, organisations need to find Agile processes that work best for them. While it is good to take inspiration from the Agile experiences of other companies, there is no ‘one size fits all’.

 Agile has huge potential. The secret to success is adoption of the right culture, processes and tools, accepting that Agile is an on-going process and that it needs to evolve and mould into each organisation’s own environment. 

Johan Karlsson, Senior Consultant, Perforce