CHAPTER 12The Benefits of Agile AnalyticsThe Upsides of Small Batches

A little axe can cut down a big tree.

—Jamaican proverb

Across the board, Agile methods such as Scrum are generally superior to Waterfall-based methods. We know this, but now it’s time to dive a bit deeper. This chapter describes how Scrum can specifically benefit organizations’ analytic efforts. For the sake of simplicity, this chapter illustrates the benefits of Agile analytics by contrasting two large fictional organizations.

Let’s begin with Ideal Agile Company (IAC). About 10 years ago, it shifted its software-development efforts by replacing the Waterfall method with Scrum. The results have been spectacular. IAC’s data is pristine and comprehensive. Years ago, IAC deployed a master data management application. Recently, it embraced Agile analytics. IAC’s culture is dynamic and very data- and analytics-oriented. One way or another, data drives most of IAC’s business decisions.


Because of its success with Scrum with software development, the idea of applying similar Agile methods at IAC to a related area (i.e., analytics) wasn’t weird; it was natural. (Ditto for the framework detailed in Chapter 6.) In fact, the company’s prior success with Scrum in one discipline made it more likely to achieve success in another. As we see in this section, Scrum’s benefits have been manifold, substantial, and most important, sustained.

Agile methods allow employees at IAC to quickly gain valuable insights ...

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