Ironically, Land O'Frost still uses traditional waterfall methods in the little bit of software development that it does, Sakats says. That's because the company purchases a lot of its systems rather than developing in-house.
Agile coming full circle to its roots in business management
Athough "agile" has become a popular buzzword in software development, Agile42 consultant Sharrock says agile processes have always been used in business, but they hadn't been clearly defined before: "Once you have an agile software development organization, you automatically start putting pressure on other parts of the organization to work in a similar way [to agile]."
Lean -- a quality-oriented production management method that is a forerunner of agile -- and agile tenets were promoted back in the 1970s by W. Edwards Deming, says Nathan Slippen, chief U.S. technologist for agile consulting firm Valtech. "When you look at the tenets [of agile], they can be applied at different levels within an enterprise," such as reducing and eliminating waste and figuring out ways to make processes more transparent, he says -- both foundational tenets of Lean.
The use of agile practices beyond just software development is a noble goal. If done successfully, businesses can apply the same concepts of collaboration and flexibility for business benefits that agile provides in software development. But agile practice requires a new way of thinking, and participants in the process must be able to accommodate changes to how things have always been done. As Sharrock says, "It's a people change."
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