Several companies, including Spotify, Ericsson and Microsoft, have adopted the Agile method. But according to a recent analysis of Agile companies by Federico Berruti, Geet Chandrate and Zaid Rab of McKinsey, there are many complications with the use of Agile methods in digital scenarios, reports ZDNet.

The complications include immature technology and the fact that “organizations find it difficult to create a workable roadmap for large-scale automation with thousands of processes involving thousands of employees”.

In addition, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation bring with them various changes to the jobs of employees, making the problems worse. Moreover, scrum – with an emphasis on dividing work into smaller components, scrum masters and process ownership – does not appear to be the best approach when automation projects that require various parts of the company need to be scaled up.

Agile automation

However, McKinsey’s researchers are coming up with a new way to bring Agile methods to high-scaling automation environments, what they call “Agile automation”. Agile automation is built on scrum approaches, but adapts to the scaling requirements of AI and automation environments.

The new method consists of five main components, including the structure of the team. According to McKinsey, the team is the most important part. The team should consist of a product owner and a business expert working with developers, testers, IT employees and shareholders.

In addition, it is recommended to fully define the process before the development work begins. In this way it should be ensured that “the project integrates with the larger company and meets the requirements of regulators and other constraints”. In addition, trigger-driven stories are recommended, which help to “divide the project into manageable parts”. The usual user stories are therefore omitted.

Release management is also important. “Disconnect releases from the prototype and production software”, and publish them on the basis of “a controlled schedule that is well coordinated with the parts of the company affected”. Finally, the McKinsey team recommends a “specific program office that offers expertise, develops good practices and monitors the progress of the overall automation effort”.

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