Implementing Agile in the Shark tank

An ex-colleague of mine, Santosh Kolhatkar, wrote up the following points about introducing an Agile approach inside a large enterprise with an existing traditional SDLC process. What he points out in his writeup regarding a foundation for introducing an Agile approach when there is a heavy focus put onto SDLC compliance and governance is in alignment with what I’ve found to be useful in supporting such efforts in large enterprises. With Santosh’s permission, I have posted his ideas on the subject and thought that it would be useful for some readers of our blog:

Agile is now making waves in the sea of other methodologies and paradigms. Practitioners at the enterprise level are taking note of the new kid with the new shiny toy on the block. And the sharks are circling the waters.


We ran in to this situation at several of our client’s environments. The SDLC processes were so much entrenched that the Agile approach seem to be very radical to those practitioners, so some of the leaders got together and came up with an approach that seem to be less threatening to those paradigms.

The major steps that were taken:

Involve key members of that community.

  • Identify ‘must have’ components. These are the areas such as compliance, security etc.
  • Make a list of differences between processes and get feedback from the key members.
  • Get an agreement on how the existing SDLC and Agile methods will work together. Handoffs and managing the dependencies is crucial.

Outline of before and after an Agile framework is deployed.

  • Provides an overview of what to expect for the teams that are thinking of using an Agile approach.
  • Summarize the differences between the existing SDLC practices and Agile framework.

Bring the existing SDLC and Agile methods under one umbrella.

  • Offer as a one stop shop for the practitioners so they can choose to go SDLC or take an Agile approach.
  • Have a combined launch of the latest SDLC version and the Agile framework.
  • Use existing communication channels to reach out to the enterprise audience. People are used to looking for processes and procedures at one location. Using the same location or method will get better results in communications.

Implement ability to push Agile metrics onto program management dashboards.

  • Agile metrics should be able stand on their own but provide enough visibility that leadership looks for in their conventional metrics.
  • The metrics should be more real time and close to the actual state of the projects/ programs.

Have an executive sponsor who can serve as Champion for the new Agile framework.

  • Provides air cover for the adoption of the new Agile framework.
  • Provides a stamp of approval that is a must in a enterprise environment.

The above areas are minimum needed to make adoption of Agile feasible in enterprise environments with an existing SDLC process. Some combination or extension of the above steps will have to be made to suit specific enterprise situations.

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