The Challenges and Solutions of Scaling Agile Across the Enterprise: Insights from the 17th State of Agile Report
Written by Coreen Wilson
Agile has become the go-to method for modern software development, delivering high-quality products in less time and meeting customer needs. But as enterprises try to expand Agile across their complex mix of application portfolios, systems, and distributed teams, they struggle to keep up the same level of collaboration and flexibility as smaller companies. This year, the 17th State of Agile Report explicitly broke out questions regarding enterprise and team-level Agile, uncovering some of the reasons that enterprises, in particular, may be struggling. Let’s break it down!
Challenges, Leadership, and the Magic of Collaboration
The report confirms that enterprises are having a tough time scaling Agile, which makes sense when you think about the complexity of their systems, the sheer number of internal and customer-facing applications they manage, and the multitude of distributed teams across the globe. Just thinking about the complex dependencies across portfolios and programs, juggling different priorities, and keeping communication flowing across departments and up and down the ladder induces anxiety!
What the most successful Agile enterprises have in common are executive leaders who embrace open communication and transparency, ensure everyone knows the strategic priority of the business, provide the tools, training, and objectives to execute, and unified metrics to measure outcomes. When business and tech leaders work together to support Agile adoption, magic happens. Transparency in the adoption process allows decision-making at all levels of the organization. This kind of leadership sets the stage for successful Agile scaling, successful business outcomes, and customer value.
Enterprise Governance vs. Team Autonomy
While the C-Suite takes the lead, the respondents of the report indicate a lack of understanding and a cultural clash in scaling Agile between teams and businesses. Many of the respondents are Agile coaches and Scrum Masters who may resist the mix-and-match or customized approaches businesses often take when implementing a standardized framework across the enterprise. Agile teams strive for Agile success, while business leaders focus on overall business success. Too much governance hampers innovation, but too much team autonomy introduces risks to business alignment. When these two priorities align, satisfaction follows. However, if these priorities are seen as conflicting, Agile may lose its value or be disregarded by business leaders. To achieve more Agile success, finding common ground on metrics and measured outcomes is crucial. This is the path to aligning business and Agile practices.
Agile and DevOps Together Forever
Over 70% of survey respondents reported using Agile in their SDLC, while 42% mentioned a hybrid model incorporating Agile, DevOps, or other options. It’s important to note that respondents could select multiple choices, so the percentages exceed 100. Interestingly, larger organizations are more inclined to adopt a hybrid model, with 49% of large companies and 45% of medium-sized companies doing so.
The report highlights the symbiotic relationship between DevOps and Agile. DevOps practices enhance software delivery by streamlining collaboration between development and operations teams. Conversely, Agile empowers organizations to swiftly adapt to evolving customer needs and market demands. When combined, DevOps and Agile enable companies to accelerate delivery speed, mitigate risks, and enhance product quality. To fully leverage these benefits, organizations should embrace both practices.
Scaling Agile is no easy task, but enterprises can achieve the desired results with the right mindset and willingness to embrace an Agile DevOps culture. And that’s where Digital.ai Agility comes in!
Digital.ai Agility is an enterprise agile planning solution that helps organizations scale Agile and align teams with business goals. It’s a central hub for transparency and collaboration, promoting open communication. The platform visualizes complex dependencies between teams and aligns diverse priorities across the software delivery lifecycle. This makes it easier to manage tasks and projects against the strategic needs of the business while staying flexible. Digital.ai Agility also supports the balance between governance and autonomy. It provides a framework for business and technical alignment, shared metrics, process consistency, and visibility across Agile and DevOps teams without stifling innovation. Plus, it integrates with other tools, making communication seamless and breaking down silos between technical and business teams.
In a nutshell, Digital.ai Agility can help foster the cultural shift necessary for successful Agile scaling. By promoting transparency, collaboration, and empowerment it paves the way for enterprises to overcome scaling challenges and deliver on strategy.
PI Planning aims to bring together all the people doing the work and empower them to plan, estimate, innovate, and commit to work that aligns with the business’s high-level goals, vision, and strategy.