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Why do we adopt agile?

Take a long-term view, and the interests of customers and shareholders align.—Jeff Bezos, founder, Amazon

I hear many reasons organizations adopt agile development so it's good to see the facts. The number one reason teams adopt agile is to accelerate product delivery. But in close second is enhance ability to manage changing priorities. (Notice also that reduce project cost isn't in the top 10. Agile is so much more than "cheaper development.")

Source: VersionOne 2014 survey  

Download your copy of the survey from VersionOne.


As I explain it to execs, agile allows you to change priorities in sync with the market. However, it isn't intended to encourage you to change your mind continuously or with every client request. Once we give work to the team, the team must focus on the work until it's done. Meanwhile, the product manager or product owner grooms the backlog so the top business priority is always on top of the queue, ready for the team when they need more work.

I use a quick prioritization method to determine which items are top business issues. After all, priorities often change with the marketplace. BYOD, IoT, new devices, new methods; these all have an impact on what is most important from release to release. Ideally, you have a strategic vision that aligns your executives and their teams. And your backlog is aligned with that strategy.

Agile helps you adapt to changing business conditions. It's not just for development any more.

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