Agile is ready for its next big break, CIOs say

After seeing positive results and greater team morale, leading CIOs are breaking agile methodologies out of development – and applying them across the organization
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CIOs, for the most part, have had a taste of agile development – and now they want more. Companies like AT&T, Walmart, Vanguard, and Cardinal Health have ambitious goals to scale lean and agile practices, like DevOps, DevSecOps, and continuous integration – not only for greater efficiency and product quality but also for better employee morale. 

As noted in a new Harvard Business Review Analytics Services report, CIOs who are succeeding with digital transformation have their own definitions of “agile.” For Zack Hicks, chief digital officer and CIO of Toyota North America and CEO of Toyota Connected, agile is about “delivering only what the customer asks and no more [a minimally viable product, or MVP], then hearing what customers like or don’t like and building that into the next iteration of the product.” His teams work in short sprints; two weeks is a typical length.

Such an agile approach makes people in IT feel like they are on “cloud nine,” notes a midsize insurance company CIO in the report. That's a far cry from the old way of working: “At the end of it you’ve done this massive project. You’ve killed yourself, given up nights, weekends, summer vacations … but you’re six months to a year late and you’re $1 million to $2 million over budget. It’s not anybody’s fault, but nobody feels good,” the CIO says.

That’s one reason why CIOs are spreading agile methods into the entire IT organization, and even into other business functions, with measurable results. 

Download the report, “Transformation Masters: The New Rules of CIO Leadership,” to learn more about their strategies, as well as advice for leaders just getting started with agile. 

Carla Rudder is a community manager and program manager for The Enterprisers Project. She enjoys bringing new authors into the community and helping them craft articles that showcase their voice and deliver novel, actionable insights for readers.  

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