It's Not About Agile Release Planning - It's About Enterprise Release Agility
By Simon King
That's not a fancy twist on a popular approach in IT. This post is about untangling the mess Agile Release Planning has become.
We're living in an age where we're chasing the latest buzzwords and trends. We hardly slow down to look at the path we've covered to see if we've improved or not.
It's time to realize that Agile is truly about an organization's agility.
Why agility comes before Agile
Agile release planning is like an orchestra where musicians gather to rehearse different compositions. Enterprise agility is their conductor who instructs and guides them to perfection.
The reality today is quite different. Enterprise IT organizations are like symphony orchestras gathering to rehearse and perform in the absence of a conductor. Individual teams are similar to highly skilled musicians who form instrument ‘families' such as the string family or woodwind family.
But just as a large symphony orchestra cannot deliver a stellar performance without a leader, IT teams cannot optimize delivery of software releases without strong leadership. Each musician is skilled at his instrument but there's nobody to synchronize the violinist with the bassist, the percussionist with the oboist.
The conductor has the ‘visibility' to bring out the best in his ensemble. If one musician is overpowering the others at any point, the conductor can pick that up immediately and tone him down. Likewise, say the dev team is overpowering QA with a higher volume of code for testing than they can handle, the leadership should have the ability to view it real-time and restore the balance.
Just like an orchestra will malfunction without its maestro, Agile is no good without enterprise agility.
Leadership plays a pivotal role
"It is not enough that management commit themselves to quality and productivity. They must know what it is they must do. Such a responsibility cannot be delegated."
William Edwards Deming
I'm not implying that Agile is wrong. In fact, Agile should be the default approach to software development and release management.
I'm stressing that the success of Agile releases sits squarely on the shoulders of function heads and managers. Which is why enterprise release agility is so important.
You need to stop putting a band-aid on the problems by adding more people and more point tools. What you need is a single system of record that:
Such a system - like an orchestra's conductor - effectively closes the loop on the release lifecycle and ensures true agility in your enterprise. Release agility goes beyond the speed, flexibility, and transparency of software iterations. It lets you, the leaders of the Agile team, gain a competitive edge through software differentiation.
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