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Agile and Lean Adoption in Greece

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Small and medium sized companies have adopted the agile way of working in Greece and there are few examples where agile is applied in larger organizations. The interest in agile from the local industry is growing and more companies are starting to adopt agile values and principles. Among the topic that are discussed in agile meetups are wether companies should implement Scrum or Kanban, how to apply Scrum in startups, dealing with fixed price and scope contracts and tight schedules, productivity, and happiness in teams.

On September 18 the Agile Greece Summit 2015 will be held in Athens, Greece. InfoQ will be covering this event with Q&As, news and articles.

InfoQ did an interview with Yiannis Mavraganis, agile coach and Scrum master, and founder and event organizer at the Agile Greece community, about the state of practice in agile in Greece, agile and lean practices that are commonly used, topics covered in the first agile Greece summit and in the agile Greece meetups. InfoQ also asked him about his wish for the software industry in Greece and worldwide.

InfoQ: Can you describe the state of practice in Agile in Greece?

Mavraganis: The truth is that we have yet to conduct a survey on the state of Agile in Greece to be able to talk about specific numbers. Though, as Agile Greece Org we know, mainly through the agile meetups we are organizing since two years now, that several small and medium-sized corporations in Greece (primarily software companies) have adopted the agile way of working. There are a few examples where agile is applied in larger organizations, such as the Nokia Technology Center of Athens, but agile practices have not yet found fertile ground in large organizations and thus we have not yet seen agile transformations in large scale.

The good thing is that there is a rapidly growing interest in the Greek software community about Agile and Lean. Our Agile Greece meetup group has more than 670 members and the monthly meetups host more than 60 people each time. The first Agile Greece Summit, this week, will have more than 250 participants.

InfoQ: How is the Greek software industry doing with respect to the adoption of agile and lean practices? Can you give some examples of practices that are commonly used by teams?

Mavraganis: As it happens worldwide, most of the Greek companies which have adopted agile implement Scrum. Due to the existence of very talented developers here in Greece, agile engineering practices such as continuous integration and testing automation are applied in companies for many years now, even if some of these companies have not yet officially adopted a specific agile methodology for their software development process.

InfoQ: What made you decide to organize the first Agile Greece Summit?

Mavraganis: As I mentioned earlier, the interest from the local software industry is growing fast. We felt that monthly meetups were no longer sufficient. We had to do something big, as Agile Greece Org, to accelerate the adoption of agile in Greece. Especially now in the difficult times we are going through due to the financial crisis; more than ever we need productivity weapons to become more competitive globally. At this point, I would like to to say that we have very good relations with the Agile community of Turkey who have already done similar conferences and they encouraged and support us in this effort.

InfoQ: Can you tell something about the sessions at the summit? Which topics will be covered, why did the conference program these topics?

Mavraganis: The aim of the summit is to provide the necessary stimuli at all levels so that more Greek companies, especially large ones, are starting to adopt agile values and principles. We want to give managers, executives and team leaders the chance to see how agile is implemented worldwide and show the profound effects it has in a team’s productivity and happiness. For this, we cover a wide range of topics:

In a single day you can get practical knowledge about agile and learn about the latest developments in the field. We are very fortunate to have such an amazing speaker lineup this first year.

InfoQ: You are also one of the organizers of the Agile Greece Meetup. Can you give some insight in the topics that software developers in Greece are talking about? Why do these topics matter to them?

Mavraganis: I guess the topics discussed in our meetups are more or less the same discussed in any agile meetup worldwide. Mentioning a few:

  • What would be the best for us, Scrum or Kanban, and why?
  • In a startup of 2-3 people, where effective communication and transparency exist by default, why would you do Scrum?
  • At the end of the day, can we really apply agile the right way if only the IT department follows the rules and not the business/marketing/sales departments?

A topic that is quite popular is whether and how to apply agile when you have fixed price/scope contracts and tight schedules with customers. I would like to mention that we have an active blogging platform, that hosts interesting articles from world class experts as well as from local agile practitioners.

InfoQ: If there is one thing that you could change that would help the software industry in Greece and worldwide, what would it be?

Mavraganis: More respect for the development team. Customer satisfaction is of equal importance with the happiness of the team.

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