In their research paper titled ‘The New New Product Development Game’, Hirotaka and Ikujiro (both professors at the Harvard Business School) observed that the sequential approach to developing products is not best suited to the fast-paced competitive world. Instead, they recommended a rugby approach for enterprises to attain speed and flexibility to meet the ever-changing market requirements. The rugby approach refers to the Agile way (scrum) of working with practices like small batch sizes, incremental development, self-organizing teams, enhanced collaboration, cross-functional teams, and continuous learning. To put things in perspective, this research paper was launched way back in 1986! If the traditional approach was being questioned back then, it definitely needs to be relooked at now. Enterprises need to adopt agile practices to stay relevant in a market which has become extremely dynamic due to the proliferation of digital technologies. Agile practices enable enterprises to deliver solutions faster with better quality by considerably shortening the feedback loop.
Though most enterprises have realized the significance of Agile, most organizations, especially the large ones have been struggling to scale Agile at the enterprise level. This is substantiated by a recent survey through which it was found that the enterprises who had claimed to be Agile have admitted that they had adopted Agile practices only in certain pockets. Interestingly, smaller and nimbler companies have adopted the agile way of working and achieved considerable success in the market. These companies released products at a remarkable speed with high quality and reacted faster to the market needs. Take Tesla’s case (by no means a small company now!!), which launched electric cars with the auto-pilot option when the Toyotas and Bugattis of the world only had prototypes of electric cars. By the time they launched their own electric vehicles, Tesla had captured a huge pie of the market!! To the defense of these large enterprises, scaling Agile is easier said than done. These behemoths have many portfolios, with large applications requiring multiple teams, complex systems, diverse operating environments, and multiple vendors, making their Agile transformation journey a herculean task.