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Blog July 20, 2017

Agile For Executives - Part 3: The Time - Don't Settle for Half-Fast

Jim Lambert

Part 3: The Time - Accelerated Output: Don't Settle for Half-Fast

As an executive, you are entrusted with the stewardship of the company's internal investments. Are you getting the most for your money? Can Agile help achieve your business goals? In Part 3 of this five-part series we discuss a different way of thinking about the lead time required for software development to determine if an Agile Transformation should be one of the tools used to help you succeed.

You've heard it before. "We're running late because… ":

  • "We're dependent/waiting on someone else"
  • "Testing is not complete"
  • "We identified some last-minute changes"
  • "We have to finish documentation/reporting/other activities"

If you're going to change the way you think about budgeting (See Part 2: The Money), then you'll need to know what constitutes a self-sufficient capacity unit in your organization.

As an executive leader, you have significant influence over creating the environment for success. Through organization change or not, it is well known that a high performing team is driven by putting the right people together and keeping them together. This aligns nicely with the capacity funded "money" discussion, but how do we accelerate the output of those teams? Remove outside dependencies and time-box their efforts.

Feature Teams. Cross-Functional Teams. "T-Shaped" Skills. "Full Stack" Developers. They all have one common goal - to remove outside dependencies. If the team itself has the capability to develop, test and deliver working software, it is inherently faster.

Sprints. Program Increments. Release Schedules. They are all forms of time-boxes. On top of cross-functional team structures, you can further accelerate time-to-market by time-boxing their efforts because you have in effect removed the variables of estimated Cost and Time. That simply leaves the need to generate a valuable increment of working software in a time-boxed cadence that fits your organizational and customer demands.

The other benefit of time-boxed increments comes back around to ROI. Use your increments to learn rapidly. Are we working on the right things for our customers and our business? If not, then continuing down that path is wasteful and reduces the ROI of the investment. Which leads to the next installment in this series…

Part 4: The Work - Don't Waste My Time....Or My Money!