I run BCA’s On Line systems development. This is an ever increasingly demanding environment. We have used Agile (particularly Scrum) for 4 years to great success, raising expectations and demands.
I have 42 people in my area running in 6 Scrum teams across 3 product streams. Our stakeholders are demanding and at once enjoy the openness of our or approach and availability of information, whilst being less keen on the ambiguity involved in Scrum projects. Particularly early days in a project, stakeholder management is both difficult and time consuming, though ultimately if done well brings it rewards.
I am also Prince 2 certified and find that helps with the stakeholder management. Our biggest difficulty is in finding the right people to lead the scrum teams. They have to be comfortable with ambiguity, driven, yet empathetic with the people around them and the development process.
The Poppendiecks’ ‘Lean Software Development’ has had the biggest impact on my approach to software development. We have also made great use of Cohn’s Agile Estimating and Planning – this gives great guidance on that all important stakeholder expectations of delivery.
Ultimately it is the people delivering the projects that are most important and I identify with Cohn’s assertion that the most important indicator of success is whether “the teams play nicely together”.