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State of Agile Adoption in India

Lot of organizations in India are considering Agile.

  • Agile Adoption in Services Companies is mostly driven by customers and competition.
  • For product companies its all about
    • Improving productivity,
    • Reducing time to market and
    • Better quality.

While these companies are adopting agile, they have lots of concerns and questions. One recurring theme I’ve seen, is all these companies are really really afraid of failure. IMHO, this fear leads to a very dysfunctional agile adoption. Teams pick what is easy to do and what fits into their existing model, in the name of reducing risk, call it fail-safe ;) . With this approach individuals and companies fail to see the real benefit of Agile.

This issue is compounded by the fact that a lot of companies are selling substandard certification, tools and consulting.

Also most Indian companies work in a distributed model. Distributed development is another challenge teams are facing and they don’t really see how to fit Agile in their distributed context.

All these points put together makes it very difficult for team to succeed.

These are my biggest concerns today with Agile adoption in India. Does this ring a bell? Can you share your thoughts?

I would be really happy if you want to share your agile adoption story with the agile software community of India. If you can address some/all of the following questions it would be great:

  • Why did your company decide to consider Agile?
  • How did you build a business case for going Agile? Can you share some artifacts from this original business case?
  • Who all was driving this change?
  • What measures were taken to set realistic expectations with both Management and Development teams?
  • Did you start with a Pilot project? If yes,
    • What were the criteria for picking a pilot project?
    • What was required to get the pilot project up and running?
    • Was the pilot project a success? What were your success criteria?
    • Post the pilot project what did your organization do?
    • How did you roll out Agile to rest of your organization based on your learning from the Pilot project?
  • From when you started to now, can you give us important milestones and some artifacts with regards to the same?
  • Was there a key turning point in this journey? If yes, what was it?
  • Looking back, what mistakes you think could/should have been avoided? And what mistakes you think were worth committing?
  • Where is your journey with Agile heading? What are your future plans?
  • What does a typical day in life of each team member (developer, tester, manager, etc) look? Any pictures/artifacts you can share?
  • What impact did Agile have on your organization structure?
  • What mechanisms did you use to guide your teams if they were going down the right direction?
  • After having gone through it, do you think it was worth it?
  • Any thing else you would like to share?
  • http://agileintention.blogspot.com/ Rob Park

    As you know Naresh, I have some experience with trying to drive agile into an Indian firm.

    IMO one of the biggest problems stemmed from a willingness to say “yes sir” to an overbearing US mgmt (my former boss). Being too willing to commit coding atrocities in the name of getting it done on time (or closer to it). And thinking they could just work harder to make up for it.

    They weren’t what I would say was committed to agile methods. The result then was a brittle product that was very hard to change (especially if you didn’t want to break something). And of course the Indian team was blamed for the poor quality, not the US mgmt.

    So I’d contend, agile development practices are very important to remain disciplined about. And both parties should share in the schedule risk as well as be realistic about it with small increments of working software.

  • http://agileintention.blogspot.com Rob Park

    As you know Naresh, I have some experience with trying to drive agile into an Indian firm.

    IMO one of the biggest problems stemmed from a willingness to say “yes sir” to an overbearing US mgmt (my former boss). Being too willing to commit coding atrocities in the name of getting it done on time (or closer to it). And thinking they could just work harder to make up for it.

    They weren’t what I would say was committed to agile methods. The result then was a brittle product that was very hard to change (especially if you didn’t want to break something). And of course the Indian team was blamed for the poor quality, not the US mgmt.

    So I’d contend, agile development practices are very important to remain disciplined about. And both parties should share in the schedule risk as well as be realistic about it with small increments of working software.

  • http://www.toolsforagile.com/ Siddharta

    Agree that agile adoption for most service companies mostly comes from the customer. Some US or European customers are willing to give the contract only if an agile process is used. So there is a mad rush to get that team trained so they can get the contract. The interest in agile ends there.

    Product companies have a more genuine interest because they are doing it for themselves. Also product companies tend to be smaller and more accepting of change.

  • http://www.toolsforagile.com Siddharta

    Agree that agile adoption for most service companies mostly comes from the customer. Some US or European customers are willing to give the contract only if an agile process is used. So there is a mad rush to get that team trained so they can get the contract. The interest in agile ends there.

    Product companies have a more genuine interest because they are doing it for themselves. Also product companies tend to be smaller and more accepting of change.

  • Kalpesh

    Agile is the next CMM (as far as companies in India are concerned). You know what I mean ;)

    Rather than organization asking for agile way of doing things, it should be developers who should drive it.

    AFAIK, there is no training/mentoring for people who are willing to learn & people are left to their own devise. There is lot of talk about Agile but not concrete enough.

    What I mean is – how can you take a regular developer and bring him upto speed on agile mode of development? (ofcourse, the developer has to be willing)

    Sorry about this rant. Goes to show, how I feel about developer community in India :(

  • Kalpesh

    Agile is the next CMM (as far as companies in India are concerned). You know what I mean ;)

    Rather than organization asking for agile way of doing things, it should be developers who should drive it.

    AFAIK, there is no training/mentoring for people who are willing to learn & people are left to their own devise. There is lot of talk about Agile but not concrete enough.

    What I mean is – how can you take a regular developer and bring him upto speed on agile mode of development? (ofcourse, the developer has to be willing)

    Sorry about this rant. Goes to show, how I feel about developer community in India :(


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