13 Adapting an Agile Approach to Fit a Business

THE MISTAKE MANY COMPANIES seem to make is in failing to see the big picture of how an agile development process fits into their overall business strategy. They treat the development process as if it were in a cocoon that can be totally isolated from the higher levels of management that it is part of. There are hundreds of books written about how to optimize every aspect of an agile development process at a team level inside of that cocoon, but much less is written about how to integrate an agile development process with a company's overall business environment.

Many people seem to see agile as a silver bullet; it seems to be taken for granted that a standard agile development process will work in all business environments without modification, and the company will somehow adapt their business to work with the agile development process. In many cases, it should work in the other direction—rather than adapting their business environment to fit a development process, the right approach in many cases is to adapt the development process to fit the company's business environment. Of course, the exception to that is the case where you know that the business environment itself is dysfunctional, needs to be improved, and/or would benefit from becoming more agile. That is a situation where it might make sense to adapt the business environment to fit better with the development process. However, many times more of a compromise or an incremental ...

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