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InfoQ Homepage News Why Agile Works in Context to Organizations in Australia

Why Agile Works in Context to Organizations in Australia

Brett Winterford, Group Editor at itnews Australia, mentioned in an article on why agile works for Australia’s most progressive organizations and their journey to DevOps and continuous delivery.

Brett mentioned how different organizations are getting benefits out of agile implementation. He talked to some companies like ANZ, Bankwest, Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Suncorp, Allianz, SunSuper and many more and found out some reasons of why agile works for them.

Commonwealth Bank is getting benefits out of agile because it works on smaller chunks and frequent deliveries.  Pete Steel, CIO of retail and business banking at the Commonwealth Bank says

What I most love about agile is that we get the right thing to customers earlier… We are able to identify the wrong things earlier and save a lot of waste.

Suncorp has been on the agile journey for longer than most Australian organizations. They feel that methodology is embedded into how they work. Moseley, the bank’s digital platform manager said

The key benefit of agile is that it “empowers teams to act autonomously” and encourages them to experiment while they are working.

Allianz, an insurance firm is using agile scrum methodology on a large online transformation program, with the help of an agile coach. Mitchell, IT development manager at Allianz, says both IT and the business find agile a more productive and enjoyable way to work

You really do feel the energy walking out onto the floor. We have a number of screens set up showing the scrum progress, and everyone is doing the scrum ceremonies. The business comes onto the floor and they feel that energy too.

Brett explains, attempts to introduce agile to well-established industries fail the first time, and succeed shortly thereafter. Success in agile adoption requires massive cultural change.

Mitchell, found discipline is the key to get success in agile adoption.

If you’re not more disciplined, you will fail. That’s what we experienced three years ago. We needed more discipline around automated testing and absolute discipline around ceremonies and retrospectives every two weeks… For me, agile succeeds if you’ve got the engineering discipline.

Mitchell admits working with agile coaches in agile adoption journey helps to reinforce this discipline.

Commonwealth Bank also “false started” on its first attempt at agile some five years ago, and has enjoyed success over the last three years. They mention “education, experience and exposure” are required to make agile adoption successful.

Brett says having teams exposed to an agile mode of working is the first step in a long journey. Organizations that begin with agile project management methodologies like scrum and kanban tend to expand into more technical practices from extreme programming, tdd, build automation and continuous integration.

Mac McIntosh, technical sales leader for IBM Rational Software in ANZ, said

While agile addresses a gap between development and the business, it is part of a much broader journey to continuous delivery and 'DevOps'.

Brett mentioned the challenge for IT teams is to now go beyond foundational practices like version control, automated builds and continuous integration and for this management buy-in is required.

Andrew Walduck, CIO at Australia Post, advised his fellow CIOs to choose a quick win to prove out the value of the model before seeking a more regular stream of funding. He managed to win six months of funding at Australia Post to stand up its first product using agile.

We Used this first product to demonstrate agile could be trusted. Now we have multiple continuous delivery teams funded.

Claudia Lajeunesse, head of platform solutions at FIIG Securities, spent close to six years prior implementing agile at superannuation firm, Sunsuper says focus on outcomes of agile while convincing to business people. She shared her experience as

If I sit back and reflect on our agile journey, I spent a lot of time with the executive team explaining what benefit that was to them and bringing them on that journey and letting the [dev] team get on with it.

Brett mentioned managing risk in financial organizations, is also a major concern. Commonwealth Bank and others overcame this hurdle by inviting risk staff onto the floor to participate in scrums and realized that agile represents a much better way for them to be working as well.

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