Change can be tricky, it’s rarely identifying the cure that’s the issue, it’s getting everyone to follow it. Adoption is the power behind any change and to drive adoption you need to keep things simple. In the words of my business sponsor: “it’s all about bringing them on a journey”. It’s no use you going on a journey yourself, you need bring them your entire organisation along with you.
This means that along with building awareness and understanding, you need to build skills — in developers, testers, business analysts, managers and the business itself. Building skills involves training and ongoing coaching. In a business, there is never the chance to take a month out to skill up. We all need things that we can apply quickly and which pay back in time quickly. This means that the changes are resource-constrained. It becomes paramount to choose correctly what to do. This is not just prioritisation — or deciding that something is more important than something else — but choice — or deciding not to do the something else.
So: which best practice is the best to choose? Will every organisation get the most benefit from implementing the top one or two agile best practices?
The answer is no: each organisation is different, each has different issues which require different solutions. The key is to:
- Accurately understand the biggest issues in your software development
- Identify the systems of cause and effect that create these
- Find the root causes
- Identify solutions that will not cause further issues
Put another way: agile best practices are answers to problems. It’s important to understand what problems are your priority before you can decide what answers you should choose.