There’s an interesting discussion on linkedin groups about successful use of Agile in large companies.
Many companies are mentioned. It could be that these companies have development teams that are using agile/scrum to deliver software in short iterations. It could be that Agile is an improvement for these developers. Maybe the developers are now more involved is estimating, design, unit testing, continuous integration and continuous deployment.
But is this what successful implementation of Agile looks like? How do you define success? Has Agile succeeded in a Big Company if the software developers have improved the way they work?
Sure, it’s a big improvement. But to see the real benefit of Agile for companies you have to see it from the perspective of a product manager.
Agile and Scrum are tools which enable product managers to be successful in managing the development of products. Using an agile approach the PM can focus on iteratively en empirically working towards products that fulfil the needs of customers.
Iterations enable feedback, feedback creates information, information enables better decisions and better products. Cross functional teams remove work handovers and queues. Less queues means increased speed.
Agile enables Product Managers to create better products faster.
To determine if Agile has succeeded in a company you need to determine if it has enabled a company to create better products faster. I think it’s save to say that both Yahoo and Nokia (both were mentioned in the linkedin discussion) haven’t shown any proof that they are creating better products faster. They are extremely slow in reacting to changing markets and competition.
Even if their teams are using Agile, both companies have failed to benefit from agile.