Part III: A recommendation on how to manage agile investments

Going agile at scale is a complex undertaking for enterprises with a rich tradition of running waterfall programs. And arguably the journey is no less significant in size and scope than the transformation of the global automotive companies in the ’80s with the introduction of lean manufacturing, the inspiration behind agile development.

When traditional mass-producers like General Motors, Ford and Chrysler decided to replace their century-old assembly lines with lean factories, they realized that the change was revolutionary, and that everything — e.g., the factory floor, operations, the supplier ecosystem, the culture — had to be redesigned. However,  going agile hasn’t triggered a similar change anywhere yet. Instead, most enterprises are following an evolutionary path by retrofitting their traditional operating models — organization, governance, processes and tools — to run their enterprise-scale agile programs. This seems to be an oversight, because valuable resources and time are being wasted along the way. In Part II of this series, we discussed how enterprise-scale agile programs may cause unintended waste, and therefore pain — like strained business-IT relationships, reduced functionality, delayed deployments, team moral problems and attrition.

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