Incremental Implementation | What it is. Why we use it. Why it is important

Scaled Agile or Scrum are popular agile development approaches for large enterprises. Are they a problem? No, but big-bang scaled agile transitions are hard. They require total leadership commitment, a receptive culture, enough talented and experienced agile practitioners to staff hundreds of teams without depleting other capabilities, and processes and tools to align everyone’s approach. They also require a high tolerance for risk, along with contingency plans to deal with unexpected breakdowns.

To make large-scale agile implementation projects more successful we use an incremental implementation approach to process and software implementation projects. Our proven approach focuses on an initial, simplified implementation, which then progressively gains more scope. The approach may be to start with rich capability implementation with a small pilot team or implementation of a smaller set of capabilities across a larger team.

While agile development models such as Scrum, Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Kanban, and Lean have come to be generally accepted for software development, we use a similar iterative approach with our process and tool implementation strategies.

At 321 Gang we have adopted this approach when discussing projects with our clients. Rather than inject wholesale changes into organizations, we work with clients to develop a stepping-stone or incremental implementation approach to reduce risk and increase success rates of the process or tool change.

Unlike the more traditional big-bang implementation strategies often recommended for large-scale agile implementations – we believe in jointly working with our clients on an incremental implementation plan. After an initial planning phase, stages of capability increases are repeated as needed, with each completion of the cycle incrementally improving and iterating on your implementation. Capability enhancements can be implemented as quickly as your team can successfully adopt and digest the changes.

Planning & Requirements: As with most any project, the first step is to go through an initial planning stage to map out the scope, goals, timeline, and initial steps as well as prepare for the upcoming stages of the implementation.

Implementation: With the planning and analysis out of the way, the actual implementation process can now begin.

Evaluation: Once the initial implementation prior stages have been completed, it is time for a thorough evaluation of implementation up to this stage. This allows the entire team to examine where the project is at, where it needs to be, what can or should change, and so on.

We then work with our clients on the next stage of their incremental implementation, whereby we review the most recent implementation of the process and software, as well as all feedback from the teams, which is brought back to the planning stage and the process repeats itself all over again.

Why it is important – Advantages of Incremental Implementations

Risk: By starting with smaller steps, we not only reduce the initial cost of the project but also the risk. When you inject too much change into a team there may be pushback or disruption in existing projects. The incremental change reduces these risks.

Cost: By managing the upfront costs of both the software and implementation services we can break down your costs into phases, enabling the cost of the project to more closely map to the benefits you receive.

Rapid Turnaround: the beauty of the incremental implementation is that each stage can effectively be slimmed down into smaller time frames; whatever is necessary to suit the needs of your project or organization. While the initial run-through of the initial phase may take some time, each subsequent iteration will be faster.

Easy Adaptability: Hinging on the core strength of incremental implementation another advantage of the incremental implementation approach is the ability to rapidly adapt to the ever-changing needs of both the project and our client.

Interested in learning more? Contact us for a FREE discovery call with one of our agile experts to see if we can help your organization.

Written by Tom Hollowell, 321 Gang Sales and Marketing Advisor & Talent Scout

321 Gang | 14362 North FLW | Suite 1000 | Scottsdale, AZ 85260 | 877.820.0888 |