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Agile – Buzzword or value stream?


Over the last couple of months I have been drawn into more and more conversations on ‘Agile’ – both Agile software development methodology and the pursuit of agility  as a business goal. In my last post I asked you what percentage of projects Gartner predicted would use agile methods by end of 2012? The answer was 80% and predicted to increase further this year.


The more I get into the topic the more I realise these ideas are not simply buzzwords but also a reflection on my own challenges in developing my management style to suit today’s enterprise software reality. And before you ask, yes my desk is regularly covered with yellow Post-it notes!


Keeping an eye on the Bigger Picture


I am a strong believer that the best ideas often come from the bottom up, so naturally I am an advocate of empowering local teams, supporting entrepreneurial pilot projects, learning-by-doing and the concept of continuous delivery and continuous improvement – as Agile suggests.


Equally, I am generally uncomfortable with complex centrally conceived ‘master plans’ where minute details seem more important than the intended business outcome. That’s not to say I am laissez-faire in my management approach, in fact I am quite the opposite! Whilst I might not expect to be personally involved in every project, I remain obsessed with having a clear ‘line of sight’ and remaining connected to the ‘bigger picture’. As a result, performance dashboards have become my lifeline.


So where does that leave me?  Agile - with a touch of control freak? Well I like to think that’s not a bad mix – and I think the same is true for our customers. More than ever they are looking to embrace the benefits and flexibility which come with Agile development but are anxious not to lose enterprise wide visibility and control. They are unwilling to compromise resource utilisation metrics, real-time progress reporting or full traceability in order to achieve accelerated cycles.


Being Agile and keeping Control 


It is this “best of both worlds” we had in mind when developing Agile Manager.  By tightly integrating it into our full Application Lifecycle solutions we allow creativity and flexibility in development,  through features such as  Agile task boards, combined with increased visibility, resource sharing and risk management across the full lifecycle of multiple projects.  This way, you can avoid having the acceleration you gain from being Agile in development run into bottlenecks elsewhere in the lifecycle. Equally importantly we recognize in reality Agile teams are still often physically distributed and benefit greatly from centrally collected data and knowledge that can be applied to all lines of business.


So if, like me, you are keen to become increasingly Agile why not read more here or leave a comment in the section below? We are also running a webinar on Mastering Agile Development and Testing on the 14th March, register here.   


In my next post I will be looking at the impact mobile is having on business. With Gartner describing mobile consumerisation as an ‘unstoppable force’, what percentage of workers does it estimate will be mobile by 2016? Join me next time to find out…

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About the Author


Rafael Brugnini (Rafa) joined HP in 1996 and has more than 20 years of knowledge and experience in the IT industry. He lives in Madrid with family, and in his spare time he enjoys windsurfing.

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