By Tom Friend, IIL Business Agility Delivery Consultant
CSP, ACP, AHF, PSM, CSM, ATP
Today, we are on the cusp of the third wave of the Internet. A vast ocean of opportunity lies before us.
The first wave was creating the cable and switches that became the backbone of the World Wide Web. The second wave was an increase of connections between people on social media and of business platforms. Now, this third wave will leverage business services in conjunction with distributed cloud solutions that we are only beginning to imagine.
As the future emerges, attention is moving from an internally based analytical view of planning and delivery to a more outward emphasis of identifying and responding to threats and opportunities. Meaning that traditional project management methodologies and waterfall mindsets will not be able to keep up with the valuable products and services that customers are looking for in this new wave. As companies move away from old methods it is vital to select the right Agile frameworks and practices.
However, keep in mind that it’s not only the framework and practices that need to be addressed but the organizational decision-making process.
Many times this process will retain its hierarchical structure which short circuits fast Agile feedback loops. This legacy from old processes has led to the rise of “Water-Scrum-Fall”, where Agile practices are adopted mechanically but culture, habits, and values of the organization have not changed, resulting in a lot of frustration of doing something new, but not seeing positive results. Paddling the surfboard out to the waves is quite different than riding it in.
Organizations that successfully integrate Agile typically do not only focus on a process-led approach, but focus on creating a shift in culture. Processes and teams are temporary, whereas culture creates the default habits that persist in an organization. A positive culture requires commitment, leadership, and a willingness to follow. These qualities mean something different for every organization.
In this third wave, predictability is no longer a competitive advantage—adaptability is. The value of Agile is not in its practices or processes, but in the mindset shift. This shift helps develop individual core competencies to be adaptive, transparent, collaborative, and responsive. There is a difference in doing Agile and being Agile. When you become Agile, you have gained the associated competitive advantage over your competitors.
Agile is turning the traditional way of developing software upside down. The framework and practices help an organizations’ team visualize a solution, engage the right people, and deliver the highest business value. This is supported by the collaboration between the team and the customer on contracts, requirements, and dialogue.
By focusing on the people within your organization and leading them to be Agile, you can free your teams from a complex process and structure-led response to disruption. Your organization can develop a culture that thrives in complex, unpredictable, and rapidly changing environments.
Catch the wave and enjoy the ride. Surf’s up!
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Tom Friend is an accomplished and experienced Agile Consultant, PMI-ACP, CSP, PSM, CSM, and Project Manager with 20 + years’ experience leading teams and projects in various industries to include Banking, Cable, Telecommunications, and Energy. He has 10 years hands on Agile / XP / Scrum software development experience. He is also experienced in the Federal market and is a graduate of The Army Logistic Management College in federal contracting. He has served as a Federal Acquisition Program Manager and acceptance test pilot at a US Military aircraft manufacturing facility. He has an extensive background in all phases of project management, SDLC application programming, and information systems design & implementation.
LtCol Tom Friend Call Sign Mad Dog is a military combat veteran, pilot, small unit leader, and squadron commander. He spent 9 years active in the Navy serving in the first gulf war. After leaving the Navy he joined the Air National Guard where he served for 14 years and was awarded the Bronze star and Combat action