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BLOG: Dare to be agile

Steve Hodgkinson | Feb. 8, 2013
The term 'agile' has been around for a while, and is normally used in the context of more agile systems development processes and practices. Agile is usually positioned at the opposite end of a continuum from traditional waterfall systems development methodologies -- with their rigid progression through successive linear phases of requirements definition, specification, building, integration and testing.

This approach leads ultimately to more lightweight systems and adoption of public cloud services and consumer-market style mobile solutions. Framing a request this way, however, means that executives need to be flexible about business requirements and need to learn new ways of understanding and controlling project and counterparty risks.

Business requirements start to become negotiable in the context of benefit/risk trade-off discussions and more rapid feedback loops regarding practicality and cost. Effective use of pre-existing external shared platforms and solutions starts to be seen as a competitive advantage because it accelerates innovation and lowers costs. The focus is on what you do ... not what you own.

'More agile ICT' is fundamentally an executive leadership issue. ICT departments have acted in response to the way executives have framed their requests for ICT solutions over many years.

Perhaps if the requests are framed differently we might start getting different results? This is the key ICT strategy challenge for 2013.

Mobile, cloud, big data/analytics, social networking and BYOD are building blocks of a better way forward.

Unless executives start thinking in terms of external-in requirements logic they will find that their ICT departments will simply build the new blocks into traditionally complex in-house solutions designed to meet old-school internal-out requirements thinking.

Dr Steve Hodgkinson ( is research director IT Asia Pacific for Ovum.


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