Monday, January 5, 2015

Understanding Agile Adoption Failure

The most common concern our customers voiced in 2014 was the unexpected outcomes of Agile projects. They don’t talk about failure as such. But they do talk about loss of consistency; inability to govern; lack of coordination AND THE INCREASING TIME TO MARKET caused by these precise issues.

I was struck by the results of the Agile Adoption Experiences Survey 2014 published by Scott Ambler. The really significant result to me is that 40% of respondents rates their organizations adoption of Agile as neither a success or a failure. Add to this the categories of Failure, Great Failure and Too early to tell and you have 58% that are not successful! This synchs with my customer feedback referred to above.

The advice my colleagues and I give when customers approach us looking for answers to these questions, is to look at how architecture is integrated into Agile projects. And there are some key areas that we look for in our assessments:
1. Is there a good reference architecture and associated contextual patterns?
2. Are there clear policies attached to work products together with the rationale?
3. Are developers and architects working as a community of interest to evolve the reference architecture, patterns and policies?
4. Are the reference architecture, patterns and policies integrated into the tooling and the architecture runway?
5. Is the architecture runway model based – allowing it to provide a reusable design time platform to be evolved by projects?

Agile projects can be successful in an enterprise situation. But architecture and governance need to be coordinated for consistency and mechanisms (automation) enforced to ensure consistency.

I wonder why the Agile Adoption survey didn’t ask any questions along these lines?

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