Business Responsibilities working with Agile Teams Part 2

See Business Responsibilities working with Agile Teams Part 1 where I cover some important responsibilities: Dedicating time to define requirements, setting reasonable customer expectations, and developing a methodology for prioritizing.

The list below is a bit more tactical and technical:

1) Learn the lingo and the process - Don't look at agile as a 'tech process'. When I discuss agile to business executives, I explain that when tech teams are successful adopting agile, it creates significant organizational change at the business level. One good way to insure a smooth transition is to learn the process either through participation, taking a training class, and ideally applying agile/SCRUM as a business process. This white paper, Agile Terminology Explained is a good quick read.

2) Avoid the need to add/change stories inside the iteration - which can be very disruptive to the team. Agile teams work in rhythms. At the beginning of the iteration, they are in thinking/planning mode. During the iteration, they are focused on stories and coding and at the end of the iteration they are closing out defects. Changes midstream create an imbalance. Now most teams are flexible (being agile) and will accept changes/additions, but this should be managed as an exception, not the norm.

3) Come to demos - Demos are when the team showcases the work of the iteration. The team goes through story by story and demonstrates the functionality. If business representatives or stakeholders do not attend regularly, they miss the opportunity to provide valuable feedback on the finished product. It also demoralizes the team. It doesn't mean that you have to attend every demo - I certainly have missed my share (sorry guys) - but attendance is key to a successful agile practice.

4) Help define acceptance criteria - Agile stories are most successful when the story is a deliverable or unit of result. The team will come up with technical criteria for acceptance, but these criteria have more meaning when they qualify a real business need.

5) Prioritize tech needs too! - Successful agile practices need to appropriate time to implement tech concerns. R&D efforts, managing support issues, addressing technical debt (when messy code needs to be fixed), documentation concerns, training...

More on agile? Great articles posted at the Business Exchange Agile Software Development topic.

1 comment:

  1. Would be great to have you out to see the latest Rational Software demos next week in NY. Taking IBM RSC on the road this year:
    Cheers, nice write up on Agile!


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About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld,, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.