The Hidden Power of Agile

Latha Swamy, Transformation Coach & Agile Practices Leader at GE Global Research The next session I wanted to tell you about is The Hidden Power of Agile presented by Latha Swamy, Transformation Coach & Agile Practices Leader at GE Global Research. This was a session on agile development.

Agile development was introduced in the early 2000s as an alternative to the more popular waterfall approach. Agile development is a group of software development methods based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change. It is a conceptual framework that promotes foreseen tight iterations throughout the development cycle.

This session was very interactive, with attendees providing feedback on how well agile is working (or not) within their organizations. It seems as though many are moving back to the traditional waterfall approach or creating their own process — blending the two — which is what we do at Escape. Our software development lifecycle uses the standard steps from the waterfall approach of requirements (spec), design, development and test, and the time-boxed approach for each of those steps from the Agile world. It’s the best of both worlds.

What really struck me in this session was that even with the latest and greatest processes in place how inflexible large organizations can be and how people or departments can hide behind the "process," instead of being accountable for timelines and deliverables. Having worked in large organizations for over 20 years in my career, I felt this sense of relief knowing that I worked at Escape, where there is no hiding! If things aren’t right, we acknowledge it, fix it and learn from it.

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