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Enterprise Agile in 2010

by David Norton  |  January 20, 2010  |  2 Comments

Well 3 weeks into 2010 and it already clear we going have a busy year regards agile. If last year saw the tipping point for agile this year will see the blood on the boardroom carpet. When clients told me of their plans to use Scrum on a $5 million project with 400 developers in three countries’s I found myself excited and a tad scared – bit like sitting in a roller coaster for the first time.

As agile becomes a strategic tool at the enterprise level we are going to see some great success, often in surprising areas – agile development for defence systems for example. But we are also going to see some spectacular cock-up’s. Yes you heard right – agile can fail.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to be negative about agile, after all I spend most of my time evangelising it. But we have to be realistic, no method is perfect and being the fallible human beings that we are we will misapply the principles, use it on the wrong project and run before we can walk. So there are risks, what’s new? we take a risk crossing the road.

Enterprise Agile (Agile 2.0, sorry I could not resist) needs to raise its game to face the challenges of greater funding oversight, large and complex architectures, legacy and package implementations, and the ever present integration problem.

The work already undertaken by the agile community around PMP, Prince 2, SOX and CMMI needs to consolidated into a consistent set of practices that support agile as a strategic differentiator. Its not the engineering practices that will trip us up, continuous integration, test first, refactoring – these things are understood. Its governance that’s going to be the problem.

Category: agile  application-development  sdlc  

David Norton
Research Director
7 years at Gartner
25 years IT industry

In his role as research director with Gartner's application development and architecture team, David Norton supports clients by developing and delivering quality and timely research. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Enterprise Agile in 2010

  1. I have recently written about these issues in a new book now available titled “SDLC 3.0: Beyond a Tacit Understanding of Agile”. It is available on Amazon and also at .

    In this work, I articulate a required evolution to a “complex adaptive system of patterns” that leverages experience from not only the Agile community, but also Lean and the Unfiied Process experience base to deal with such issues as Agility at Scale, COTS Acquisition, pull-oriented Portfolio Management and governance, and collaborative ALM.


  2. Matt Harding says:

    Hi David,

    I just read your blog and wanted to note that you express some concerns that I wholeheartedly agree with. So much so, that I’ve proprossed an approach for highly governed (SOX style) companies that would be interesting to get your feedback on:


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