Agile is not just for Software Developers

Governance & Assurance

May 15, 2017

Renai LeMay is CTO Group’s Advisory Delivery Manager. He is certified across Project Management, IT Service Management and Agile methodologies.

On a Friday afternoon several weeks ago, I spent a whole hour making paper planes.

Some of the planes I made flew beautifully, soaring majestically across the room. Others were complete failures, stuttering in the air and then crashing unceremoniously to the floor. My paper plane making ran the full spectrum; from sleek aerodynamic wonder to catastrophic mess.

I wasn’t alone in this endeavour: Far from it.

In fact, I was one of about 70 ‘high-flying’ IT professionals involved. Our paper plane factory was so large that it took up the entire ballroom at the Rydges Hotel in downtown Sydney.

By the time we had finished, hundreds of paper planes carpeted the floor of the room. Our fingers were stiff from folding dozens upon dozens of tiny wings into place.

The aim of this exercise was not, of course, solely to make paper planes.

It was to demonstrate that the Scrum Agile methodology could apply to any activity.

The individuals in the room had just undergone two intense days of training in order to achieve the Scrum Master certification. Scrum is one of the hottest Agile development methodologies being adopted by major organisations around Australia; and Scrum Masters are the individuals who lead the application of Scrum to delivery teams.

Major organisations in the banking sector think so much of Agile that they are overhauling their entire product delivery operations to take advantage of it.

What our paper plane factory demonstrated conclusively is that Scrum is able to take any delivery process and – through the application of principles such as transparency, rapid iteration, continuous improvement and early delivery of business value – improve it to make it more efficient and effective.

At CTO Group, our Advisory and Delivery teams already incorporate aspects of Agile methodology in our practice to drive the rapid delivery of value to our clients.

What becoming a Scrum Master has taught me is that the benefits of this process are far-reaching and apply into any place where a process or project is being delivered.

Within Federal Government departments and agencies, I can easily think of many technology-enabled projects or business processes that would benefit from integrating Agile methodology.

Not everything will apply; of course. Scrum was created by software developers explicitly to create a process to support the creation of better software.

But there is much that will.

My table in the Rydges ballroom initially failed to produce a successful paper plane within a five minute period. But by the time several iterations of this process had passed, we were producing 29 each round.

Over the next several weeks I’m planning a series of blog posts exploring aspects of Agile – and how it interacts with different types of projects, processes and methodologies – from Project Management to IT Service Management and beyond. Stay tuned as this journey proceeds 🙂

Does your organisation utilise any Agile methodology? If so, how? Post your thoughts below, or send a comment to Renai directly or through social media.