Managing Agile at Scale: A briefing for Software Executives and Chief Information Officers

We do not often think of software development as a fashion industry, but that’s what it is. Every few years some miracle new method hits the street that will solve all developer’s problems. Remember ‘waterfall phase reviews’, ‘structured methods’, ‘quality is free’, ‘software process improvement’, ‘lean methods’, etc? The latest wave – Agile methods – has been welcomed enthusiastically by developers, as it promises them the freedom to get on and deliver software without the dead hand of senior management control.
Agile methods have without question brought considerable benefits to business of faster delivery of software that more closely meets business needs. However, the downside of every new over-hyped software fashion eventually reveals itself. This time, the problem is that the Agile bandwagon has swung so far in favour of freedom for developers that senior managers are finding they can no longer control what’s going on. How do you estimate the cost of a new development, build a business case and set a budget when the performance of your Agile teams is known only to themselves? How do you manage a large development or maintenance programme when each team estimates and measures progress in its own way?
The COSMIC, IFPUG and Nesma organizations provide the three leading ISO standard methods of measuring software size for use in project performance measurement, estimating, etc. The methods have proven their value for over 30 years, through all the waves of software development fashion.
When the ideas behind these methods were invented, the fashion in computing was still in effect ‘do what IBM tells you’. At that time, every IT/IS Director had a small, mounted brass plate with the IBM logo and the word ‘THINK’. Still good advice, even in today’s Agile world!
To learn how to support and control ‘Agile at Scale’, whilst continuing to benefit from Agile speed and flexibility of delivery, download this COSMIC/IFPUG/Nesma paper here.

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