Shoestring Agility in a Velcro Organization

At an Agile-unfriendly Fortune 100 bank, with little budget or domain expertise — and no testers! — our tiny team’s discipline and creativity enabled us to safely and reliably manage risk, deliver value, and earn precious trust. In a project-oriented, non-software-savvy, risk-averse yet risk-unskilled large organization, our efforts were not always understood or appreciated. But Agile practices helped us do just what the organization required: make the best of our limited resources, meet stringent constraints on speed, visibility, and control, and deliver as much value as we possibly could. When under deadlines, we shipped on time and on spec; when free to react to the changing needs of the business, we shipped dozens of high-quality monthly releases, consistently mitigating change risk and minimizing cycle time. I’ll share a few of our most effective maneuvers.