Agile methodologies have been used successfully in many big companies, but it is often a challenge. There are many reasons: lack of project sponsorship, prolonged user validation, existing policies, legacy systems with no tests – and most importantly culture and inertia. Given all these obstacles how do you scale Agile processes in a big organization? Very carefully. If you’re interested in introducing Agile development practices into a large organization, you can try some of these techniques:
- Show don’t tell – Work on a project using Agile methods. Get it done on time and on budget using Agile methods.
- Grow organically and incrementally – If you’re a manager it’s easy. Start with your team. Try to gain mindshare with your peer managers – for example, when collaborating on a project, suggest the use of Agile methods to coordinate deliverables and handoffs. If you’re a developer, try to convince your team members and manager to give it a try.
- Utilize the organizational structure – Treat each team or department as a small Agile entity. If you can, establish well-defined interfaces.
- Be flexible – Be willing to compromise and acknowledge other people’s concerns. Try to accommodate as much as possible even if it means you start with a hybrid Agile process. Changing people and their habits is hard. Changing the mindset of veteran people in big companies with established culture is extremely difficult.
Finally, if you are really passionate about Agile practices and everything you’ve tried has failed, you can always join a company that already follows agile practices, including many companies from the Fortune 2000.