Outside IT and Software Development, it has become common to adopt Agile practices, but it remains uncommon to adopt Agile technical practices. However, Business Agility, Organisational Agility and Team Agility fall apart without Technical Agility. Let’s see how to adopt Agile technical practices Outside IT and Software Development then.
It has become common nowadays to adopt Agile and several Agile practices also outside IT and Software Development.
This is true, especially for Agile practices related to Teams collaboration, Customer collaboration as well as Product/Service development and delivery. Examples include practices such as visualising the work, the planning game, backlog prioritisation, products over projects, estimates or no-estimates, and so on.
On the other hand, Agile technical practices depend very much on what one is doing. Agile technical practices in IT and Software Development are different from those in the automotive sectors, semiconductors manufacturing, Finance or Legal services. And below is discussed why.
But first, business agility, organisational agility and team agility need technical agility achieved by Agile technical practices. All these business + organisational + team + technical agilities are all necessary together. Because without Agile technical practices and so technical agility they would be a table with three legs, unstable and very easily it would fall apart.
Agile Software Development has it, thank you Extreme Programming (XP).
Developing technical practices for other sectors is not trivial.
And new tools may be needed too to enable such new practices. To support the development of such new practices and tools, it is better to share the effort industry-wide instead of a closed commercial approach (see the open-source mindset and “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” essay).
There are three principles that underpin all Agile technical practices in every sector you may be working in. They can guide you while exploring and searching for new Agile technical practices for any non-IT sector. The purpose of all the Agile technical practices is to:
These are a few useful learning, from the experience of the Agile community and XP, to put the previous 3 principles into practice, and can be applied for the development of new Agile technical practices in any sector:
A few more practical tips valid in any sector (industrial, financial, legal, engineering, education, …):
Other practical things that worked in several sectors outside IT, and so worth considering, are: Continuously Integrating (assemble, build, aggregate, produce), Shift-left Testing (start testing earlier in the process, ideally in parallel with development to spot and fix defects when it is cheaper and to avoid the recurrence of similar defects), Automate Testing (to reduce or eliminate the rework and avoid costly mistakes, for example, see the simulators employed for semiconductors or constructions), Small Releases (early, frequent, incremental), Versatile Automation (think about CAD/CAM or the multi-function programmable robots of the new assembly-line).
For multi-domain/multi-workstream products and services development (for example mechanical + electrical + chemical + legal + logistic + … ) consider also:
Thank you: to Paolo Sammicheli, Claudio Sauring, Joe Justice and Carlo Volpi for taking the time to discuss this topic with me, share their insights and experience with me, and give me valuable feedback.