How educating your business can improve IT’s efficiency

The basis of an agile transformation has to be trust. Building trust is the first job of an agile leader. We started by setting up regular meetings between IT and the business to share each other’s pain. The aim was to build relationships at all levels.

it was out of these initial meetings we realised that the idea that this was a transformation of just IT was very wrong: this was a transformation of the partnership between the business and IT. As such, a good deal of work was spent on educating the business on existing systems. This paid back in different ways.

Firstly, IT received less questions about internal systems and so were able to dedicate more time to getting client-valued software features running in production. Secondly, the business requested less and less unnecessary features — i.e. so-called feature bloat. As the trust built up, we also so less dark feature bloat from IT — so-called gold-plating. This used to occur when IT felt that the business had no real idea about what it was asking for and would not take kindly to hearing IT’s views, so they simply expanding the time needed to implement work and added the features they felt were needed.

I don’t want to give the impression that all this change happened overnight. They are significantly rarer than before but I still see gold-plating and feature bloat. However, the causes of these issues are removed as trust builds, and gradually they go away too.

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