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4.2 Why Is Agile Process Improvement Important?

Any software or systems development process must continually evolve to meet the ever-changing challenges and requirements of the real world. Agile is no different in this respect. Agile practitioners also know that agile is not perfect and many agile projects have failed for a variety of reasons. Agile processes need to evolve and improve using the very same values and principles that are expected in any agile development effort.

In some ways agile process maturity could be understood almost in terms of a purity measure. Agile processes that adhere closely to agile principles would, in these terms, be considered a more agile process and, obviously, processes that just embrace some agile processes would be more of a hybrid waterfall-agile process.

In order for this measure to be valid, we need to operationalize these principles by considering the extent to which processes embrace agile principles and practices. So how agile are you?

Many organizations want to embrace agile practices and may even recognize the value of agility. They also may find themselves unable to immediately shed their existing processes, especially in terms of corporate governance. This does not mean that they don’t want to start the journey, and they may actually reach a very high level of agile process maturity eventually. So how do you start to adopt agile practices and begin the journey?

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