Eight rules for breakthrough success

Agile development methodologies have attracted a growing number of converts.

The discipline of these methodologies is internal, reducing the need for costly external control. Work proceeds in small visible steps, making development responsive to changing user needs. And ‘Agile’ is one of the better ways to retain ‘local’ development.

In his book, The Breakthrough Strategy, Robert Schaffer noted that a special set of circumstancesmust be present for a project to be a real breakthrough. His approach can be summarized in eight points:

1. Sell the breakthrough strategy to senior management. Their support is vital if success is to spread.

2. Base plans on what are recognized as the real drivers of change. This can’t be a ‘do-go’ exercise.

3. Go for low-lying fruit with early breakthrough projects. The effort needs early, visible successes.

4. Recruit key stakeholders to be ‘Agile’ breakthrough champions. Support needs to be widespread.

5. Select the first breakthrough project to deliver early results and play to recognized drivers of change.

6. Don’t get stuck at the analysis phase. Build in a strong bias to action.

7. Exploit as many opportunities for change as can be found. One project doesn’t make a breakthrough.

8. Shamelessly use senior management, and champion support to spread the word about early successes.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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