Agile just gets better – and not just for IT

Agile just gets better. I am increasingly convinced this is “The Way” ahead – not just for online small projects, but for large scale business change as well and elements in normal waterfall projects.

Here is a case in point, I visited our “Nimbus” Agile Stream on Friday where we are building the new front end for our Cargo frontline colleagues – part of a major legacy migration.

There, having been “stuck” for some time, they set up an Agile Team with some expert advice and training and in 40 days we have a working User Interface with pretty full functionality. So what’s made the difference? First there are the agile methods, setting priorities, building the team, populating the wall, making releases every 2 or 3 weeks and so on.

But I think the principal difference was the two colleagues from the Cargo Business who were present with the team writing their “user stories” and posting them on the wall. They were then there as an integral part of the Team to see their stories built and launched, and were able to say “well that’s what we want” or “not quite” or “no that doesn’t work”.

As with all brilliant innovations when you see it working it seems so obvious – why didn’t we do that before.

Cargo say that they will be trying these techniques with their business changes and our Commercial colleagues already use agile techniques – like stand ups, the wall and customer stories to design major business initiatives.

By the way I set myself the challenge of using the iPad screen keypad to write this – and it’s not at all bad!

About paulcoby
I am CIO at the John Lewis Partnership in the UK. I was Chair of SITA - the airline solutions company owned by the Air Transport Community - for 11 years. I am also on the Boards of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank and Pets at Home. Previously I was Head of BA Services and for 10 years CIO at British Airways. I am interested in Roman and Military History. The views expressed are entirely my own not my employers.

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