Agile’s dark secret? IT has little need for the usual methodologies

For all its emphasis on collaboration and time to market, agile is all about product delivery — not business improvement, let alone transformation.

Agile is supposed to be yesterday’s news. Advanced companies? They’ve jumped to DevOps. Except, a lot of application teams not only haven’t adopted agile techniques, they don’t even see how they could.

You might find this surprising — until you take a closer look at what these teams need to do: There’s very little overlap between their objectives and what agile methodologies deliver.

Agile methodologies, especially Scrum, which many IT managers think is synonymous with agile, are best at what IT does least: develop new applications.

With the exception of the company’s website and mobile apps, one of IT’s core principles is “buy when you can, build when you have to.” IT licenses something like 90 percent of all new functionality in the form of commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS) and software as a service (SaaS), leaving 10 percent for software developed in-house.

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