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Case Study: Developing a Custom Agile Practice Adoption Strategy

Amr Elssamadisy, an Agile coach with Valtech consulting, knows that starting off on the right foot with Agile software development can make a big difference for a team that needs to see significant improvements, quickly.  He feels that there are now so many practices which fall under the Agile umbrella that some teams find themselves wrestling with how best to implement them, wondering how they can possibly adopt everything at once but knowing that the one practice they ignore might be the one that could make the biggest difference.  Some simply opt to go "whole hog" because they cannot understanding the interrelation of the many practices.  Teams can end up more focused on process than software.
It's all too easy to get caught up in the energy of trying out new agile practices like pair programming, iterative development, and test driven requirements, and lose sight of the original motivating factors behind instituting those practices in the first place.
Elssamadisy's approach to agile practice adoption does not promote one particular named methodology over another, or insist on a minimum canon of practices, but rather helps a team intelligently pick and choose those practices that will best help them achieve their organizational goals. The following three points summarize his approach:
  1. Determine Business Value
    It is all too easy to forget who the real customers are.
  2. Weigh Activities and Technologies in relation to Business Value
    Change for the sake of change tends to dilute the desired results of becoming Agile.
  3. Incrementally Apply Sets of Practices that Correspond to Value Sought
    You don't need to adopt every popular agile practice to see a positive change, but rather a focused, diagnostic approach will help get you where you want to go faster and easier.
Read the InfoQ article: Case Study: Targeted Practice Adoption using Patterns for an example of how Amr Elssamadisy and his colleague John Mufarrige applied this approach to achieve one team's adoption goals. 

Look for Elssamadisy's book on InfoQ in February, designed to help your own team craft a custom "Agile practice adoption strategy".

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