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Expert Guidance to Ensure Business Agility & Top-notch Systems & Software

Make your software, systems, and software organization a source of sustainable competitive advantage in an era characterized by constant change. Cutter’s community of international experts provides a steady stream of alerts, updates, reports, and virtual events to keep your teams on the cutting edge of new developments in software engineering excellence, product management, and enterprise agility.

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Human-Centric Approach to Rapid and Disruptive Changes

by Jagdish Bhandarkar, by Namratha Rao

Disruptive changes within a company can result either in a spectacular rise if done right or an abrupt decline if not handled well. People are at the center of every change. If employees do not connect with their organization, do not see the need for change, do not buy in to the leadership’s vision, or are not motivated, any change will fail. For employees to see value beyond the defined work parameters, they need to feel connected to the company. Connection, respect, and trust will help a company maintain employee support for the changes that a company wants to implement. In this Advisor, we discuss in brief two such initiatives that brought about drastic increases in employee support and participation.


On Teams, Discipline, and Delivery Schedules

by Jens Coldewey

Recently, the Cutter Consortium editor who facilitates this Advisor series sent me a set of questions frequently asked about Agile transitions. Among the ones I found most intriguing wasn’t really a question but merely a statement, claiming: “Misunderstanding on the part of teams that Agile allows for less discipline, leading to less precise delivery schedules.” There are several elements of this statement that I encounter frequently, so I decided to use it as a basis for this article.

Executive Update

An Agile Development Framework for Business Analysts: Part VI — Assurance via Verification and Validation

by Robin Harwood

Here in Part VI, we survey the ADF assurance view with its intent to apply an Agile, quality-control approach to ADF artifact development. All system and software developments have the potential to fail (i.e., they carry risk); assurance is an attempt to reduce or mitigate such risk.

Figure 1 — The "iron triangle."

Agile Team Tips: Identifying the Product Owner

by Donald Reifer

One of the first questions I often hear when explaining Agile methods is, “Who is the product owner?” Answering this question is not so simple. There is a lot of context that you have to set in order to explain the role. When rushed, the short answer is “the person on the Agile team who calls the shots relative to development priorities by acting as the voice of the customer.” This is often followed up with “of course, you know that Agile teams are self-organizing and do not have a project manager?” Then, when greeted with frowns and surprised looks, you add, “instead, the teams elect their own spokesperson.” In this Advisor, we take a look at who the fills the role of product owner as well as their roles and responsibilities.


The Industrial Agile Framework: Scrum Is the Heart of a Future Lean-Agile Industrial Environment

by Hubert Smits, by Peter Borsella

Compared to software, industrial delivery takes longer, is more complex, and requires a broader set of skills. This series on industrial Agile opens with an overview of a framework for industrial agility, and considers these questions:

  • What is new in industry when Agile principles are applied?

  • How do the different frameworks of Lean, Agile, Scrum, and Six Sigma fit together?


Building the Foundation for Organizational Agility Begins at the Top

by Claude Emond

There are more people who work on improving organizational agility than people who know why this should be required. How can you work on something when you do not know why you should do it? So, before working on transforming our organizations to become more agile, maybe we should discuss the business environment and make sure everybody in the organization sees the same one. Then we should look at our internal organizational environment and make sure everyone has the same expectations and the same perceptions of it.

Executive Update

Go or No: Why Agile Proponents Seem Against “Project” and “Project Management”

by Donald Reifer

This Executive Update attempts to clarify the disconnect between the “no project” Agile camp and project managers by exploring seven areas of software development. In addition, two case studies highlight the unique differences.


Driving Toward Agile: Shift to Deadline-Driven Smaller Projects

by Yesha Sivan, by Raz Heiferman

If there is one measure that can drive an organization toward agility, it is the shift to deadline-driven smaller projects. Simply put, we recommend defining smaller projects (that can relate to each other to build a bigger project) and focusing on the deadline — not just on the results. This is part of the skill of project management with a drive to flexibility. The key idea: it is better to have 90% ready this month, on time, than 100% ready next month, which is too late.