CIO Success Story: Agile Development

Michael Hugos, Principal, Center for Systems Innovation | 10/8/2013 | 30 comments

Michael Hugos
Editor's Note: This is the first in a new series of articles where CIOs share first-person accounts of success stories that helped impact the bottom line.

If you've got enough money to do a project right, chances are you'll have more problems than if you don't. It sounds counterintuitive at first, but if you'll bear with me you'll see how small budgets and smart projects go hand in hand.

As I began developing a cloud-based supply chain application for my new company, SCM Globe, there were many times I regretted not having the staff and budget I had in my last CIO position. But then at the last company I didn't have the money or resources that my competitors had. And both times I did well. I got things done faster than other people thought possible and for less money.

When I have all the time and money I need, there is no need to be agile. And disciplined use of agile software development techniques is my formula for success. Over time I do wind up spending almost as much as I would if I used traditional software development practices. But the money is much better spent because of two big benefits I get from being agile that I never got using traditional practices.

The first benefit is that I don't get bogged down in lengthy requirement-gathering. We don't produce hundreds of pages of specifications that nobody reads that quickly become obsolete. Instead, we focus on the most important features that can be delivered in 30-60-90 day cycles.

People always know what the most important features are because it's the stuff that keeps them up at night. They can tell you what they are pretty quickly. Those features define the minimum viable product (MVP). I segment the MVP into software delivery cycles that are 30 to 90 days long. So people see IT is getting things done, and that builds momentum and credibility for the project.

The second benefit is that people get to start using what we deliver right away. And in doing so, they discover new things that they could not know without getting started.

Outside of well-defined and regulated activities, it just isn't possible for people to know what they really need by talking about a new application. No matter how much time is spent in requirements gathering, people cannot know all the things they will need in a new application because it is new, and they haven't done it before.

When I deliver the first version of the MVP and people start using it, I get feedback and then embark on the second iteration where we add new features to the MVP. And we deliver that quickly. With each iteration, people get more and more of what they want.

In this way I avoid spending time and money on things people thought they wanted, but then learned they don't need. This makes the business side happy, and making business people happy is central to having success as a CIO.

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
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shakeeb   CIO Success Story: Agile Development   10/31/2013 11:39:10 AM
Re: Expectations
Agile Process Improvement will focus on changing business needs therefore it has to be look in to all possible constraints that will drag the project.
shakeeb   CIO Success Story: Agile Development   10/31/2013 11:38:40 AM
Re: Expectations
Having a good team will always benefits the project to be success. Therefore the main focus has to be given to create distributed teams.
shakeeb   CIO Success Story: Agile Development   10/31/2013 11:38:17 AM
Re: Expectations
@shamika. Correct when it comes to process improvements organizations expect faster results. My using these type of incremental methods would benefit both organization and the developer who involve in the project.
shakeeb   CIO Success Story: Agile Development   10/31/2013 11:22:02 AM
Re: Expectations
@MS.Akkineni  as you said time and money has to managed properly. You need to monitor the progress of the project in order to see whether there are any deviations.
shakeeb   CIO Success Story: Agile Development   10/31/2013 11:20:49 AM
Re: Expectations
Well its time, money and scope. You have to have clear scope when the projects are defined. Before the execution if the project, the scope has to be clearly understood.
doug@alphinat.com   CIO Success Story: Agile Development   10/16/2013 3:08:21 PM
Additional Agility, Create Applications Faster...
Very Good Article. really enjoyed it.
Success is all about increasing your end-user's productivity...And it has to be done faster with less cost.
 
Our solution, SmartGuide is an excellent extension to this strategy.
 
With SmartGuide, you can visually create the applications about 10X Faster without coding. 
The created apps are completely agile...
 
They can be deployed on any platform, .Net, J2EE, SharePoint, any cloud.
Plus they integrate to about any solution, whether it is SAP, Salesforce, SharePoint, etc.
 
And now native mobile apps are automatically created along with the HTML5 browser versions!
Even the state that an end-user is at within an app is synched with any of their registered mobile devices; Smartphone, PC, tablet.   Complete mobility.
 
Changes and future additions are made in minutes, making your MVP strategy a great start thart can be acheived / deployed within a couple of hours.  The apps can be moved to different platforms without rewrites.  You can even start the app creation and decide where to deploy in later.  Completely reusable.
 
We can even accelerate this 30-60-90 agile plan.
 
Please contact me for any questions or an online demonstration.
doug@alphinat.com
batye   CIO Success Story: Agile Development   10/14/2013 2:52:00 AM
Re: metaphor
yes, same here - thank you, I think it also open up idea of re-use and re-work...
batye   CIO Success Story: Agile Development   10/14/2013 2:48:56 AM
Re: Not being Agile
a lot of the time this is happens in Corporate env. & finger pointing game starts... as most of the time critical parts of the projects sometimes get overlooked...
batye   CIO Success Story: Agile Development   10/14/2013 2:46:16 AM
Re: metaphor
yes, I think you are right... as technology develops ideas follow...
batye   CIO Success Story: Agile Development   10/14/2013 2:45:24 AM
Re: metaphor
could not agree more interesting points... 
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