Solutions over Software

This content is syndicated from Agility@Scale: Strategies for Scaling Agile Software Development by ScottAmbler. To view the original post in full, click here.

The Agile Scaling Model (ASM) provides context for tailoring agile strategies to meet the unique needs of the situation that your team finds itself in.  The first step in scaling your agile strategy is to adopt a Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) approach instead of one which is just focused on agile construction.  One aspect of adopting a DAD approach it to mature your focus from just producing software to instead providing a solution which meets the needs of its stakeholders within the appropriate economic, cultural, and technical constraints.  The fundamental observation is that as IT professionals we do far more than just develop software.  Yes, this is clearly important, but in addressing the needs of our stakeholders we will often:
  • Provide new or upgraded hardware
  • Change the business/operational processes which stakeholders follow
  • Change the organizational structure in which our stakeholders work
  • Update supporting documentation
  • And yes, develop high-quality software
Although delivery of high-quality, working software is important it is even more important that we deliver high-quality working solutions to our stakeholders.  Minimally IT professionals should have the skills and desire to produce good software, but what they really need are the skills and desire to provide good solutions.  We need strong technical skills, but we also need strong "soft skills" such as user interface design and process design to name just two. 
The shift to a solution-oriented focus from a software-oriented focus requires your agile teams to address some of the software-oriented prejudices which crept into the Agile Manifesto.  The people who wrote the manifesto (which I fully endorse) were for the most part software developers, consultants, and in many cases both.  It is little wonder that this group would allow a bias towards software development creep into the language of their manifesto.  
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