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The art of Agile: trust

I started my career over seventeen years ago with beautiful waterfalls. In the area in which I worked it was all about batch processes around payments and Cobol mainframes. Every project began with a definition study, followed by high-level and detailed design, and ended up with almost pseudo code before the first line was encoded. When I ‘filed’ the high-level design, I had to answer eighty questions from the architects – in writing, that is.

How different is my work nowadays. I often find myself at the birth of the development process of online real-time (!) internet applications, where I prefer to commence with visualization in a prototype, above a thick paper stack of definition studies and where dealing with change and the involvement of stakeholders (preferably the real users!) form the main challenges.

We see that the role of technology in society is changing rapidly. The adoption of new technology is being increasingly impelled by the consumers themselves. Organizations are struggling to meet growing expectations. In addition, new technology is providing opportunities for new service concepts. Many organizations are currently asking themselves how they can innovate and connect to the expectations of the target audience, how they can reduce time-to-market and realize user engagement.

By adopting Agile methods and applying creative techniques, it is possible to quickly reach a working solution that meets the expectations of the customers while keeping the user engaged. Most importantly, creativity is maintained.

Is Agile the solution to all problems in IT projects? No, it is not. It is important that conditions are right. In this regard, trust is one of the most important aspects. There must be trust in the management team, trust between team members, and trust between the client and the supplier. The latter in particular appears to be difficult. The contracts are often suffocating. With the latest news about IT vendors in the government sector, where suppliers mainly pursue their own commercial interests and do not attempt to realize the best results for the client, trust seems further away than ever.

Agile requires a cultural turnaround to embrace change, but it requires above all the relinquishment of a political agenda, commercial targets, personal gain and position.

If we jointly strive to make things better, Agile can make the essential difference.

Let’s start! One step at a time.

Liesbeth Westenberg