CIO Dashboard: Scaling Agile for the Enterprise

InsightaaS: CIO Dashboard is a blog run by PwC principal Chris Curran. In this post, guest bloggers Tim Mattix, Mario Gouvea and Vikram Purohit (all of PwC) look at how enterprise-level Agile (via the Scaled Agile Framework, or SAFe) can be applied beyond software development, to business issues like marketing. The authors identify four areas that require attention through this process: IT/business alignment (managing IT backlog), the maturity of Agile within the organization (to ensure that new applications are robust), the maintenance and product support framework (to provide for ongoing quality enhancements) and architecture approach (important to situations that require up-front rather than evolutionary design).

With the ever-evolving software development landscape, large enterprises are increasingly “going Agile.” Agile is applicable to many scenarios; for example, Extreme Programming (XP) zeroes in on software engineering while wrapping in novel approaches to boost quality, and Scrum is the most widely adopted agile method. While both of these frameworks work well for software development teams, Agile is even suitable for less obvious initiatives, such as transforming traditional marketing. Similar to PwC’s Architecture Driven Agile, which is defined at the team and program level, the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) builds upon XP, Scrum and Lean–with added focus on enterprise-level Agile. By building on XP and Scrum, SAFe can effectively scale Agile throughout the enterprise by introducing Lean and portfolio management principles. This method aligns an enterprise at the portfolio, program, and development team levels–providing a smooth flow between layers. The result is a common vision, executed by Agile Release Trains (ART)–connected Agile teams that serve as the main vehicle for value delivery at the program level–using a combination of Scrum and XP called SAFe ScrumXP, which incorporates Lean tools, roles, processes, and software engineering practices to scale Scrum throughout the enterprise. But scaling Agile for the enterprise is easier said than done. While SAFe provides an adaptable framework for enterprise agility, and is a step in the right direction, four key areas require careful attention to help ensure success.

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