Agile For Executives Toolkit

The Executive's Role in Agile Transformation

Forrester reports that nearly half of all IT teams are using some Agile methods, but most are ad-hoc experiments that have no impact outside the team. When executives help lead their adoption, Agile and Lean practices are proven to speed project delivery by 50% and produce 25% productivity gains in their organizations.

Start with Agile Adoption Trends for 2010 to understand the near-term implications for technology executives. Hear how other executives explain the need for Agile transformation to their companies with Executive Experience Reports. Then explore your role as an executive in Establishing a Strategic Decision Framework and 5-Levels of Agile Planning.

In May 2008, Rally Software commissioned third-party research firm QSM Associates (QSMA) to assess the performance of Agile development projects against plan-based or waterfall industry averages in three key areas: productivity, time-to-market and quality. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the performance of companies that have implemented Agile development practices and utilized them throughout the entire lifecycle. QSMA benchmarked 29 Agile development projects – eight of which were executed by Rally customers – against a database of 7,500 primarily traditional development projects. An additional study was added in August of 2009. QSMA concluded that, as compared to industry averages, the development teams utilizing Agile practices were on average:

  • 37 percent faster delivering their software to market
  • 16 percent more productive
  • Able to maintain normal defect counts despite significant schedule compression

Rally initiated the study to provide software-driven organizations with proven metrics – supported by actual project examples – that accurately measure the performance of Agile development projects across the enterprise.

This paper evaluates agile practices when applied in multi-team and multi-person-year projects. It does so through inspection of the requirements brought on by scaling projects, and applying basic agile principles to those requirements. In the introduction section the main agile principles are introduced, as well as the Lean principles upon which the agile methods are built. One of those Lean principles, Muri or overburdening of people, is addressed through the extension of the agile planning process. The extension of the most used agile planning technique (iteration planning) is described in detail, both the motivation for the extension as well as the collaboration practices behind each planning level. In the final chapter the impact of product complexities on the planning process is evaluated, and a solution to create a smooth flow in the planning/delivery cycle is presented.

The proof is now in, and it shows that implementing agile is the best way to get critical, revenue-generating applications to market faster and at a lower cost. How much money and how many jobs could your organization save? Richard Leavitt and Michel Mah document the financial returns agile development teams are experiencing compared to their traditional counterparts and provide you with a business case toolkit for your senior executives who are considering agile practices.

Rally Software commissioned research firm QSM Associates to benchmark 29 Agile development projects against their database of 7,500 software projects. The Agile Impact Report describes why customers using Agile and Rally were 50% faster to market and 25% more productive with one quarter the number of defects.

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