Integrating ECM With Agile

By Dr. Myles Bogner and David Elfanbaum  |  Posted 2011-02-04 Print this article Print

Organizations can leverage enterprise change management practices in conjunction with their agile development teams to foster IT delivery adoption.

Integrating ECM With Agile

When an organization is ready to integrate ECM tasks into an agile software development project, securing an ECM subject-matter expert is the first challenge usually faced. If the organization has existing ECM expertise, those people can be added to the agile team. If there are no available resources, it might be necessary to hire an ECM subject-matter expert or send an existing team member through an ECM training program.

Once staffed, a basic approach is to integrate ECM into the agile development process by having ECM requirements progress through the same processes as technical requirements, including user stories, acceptance tests and the iterative development of deliverables. ECM team members and developers participate in the same customer planning meetings and presentations.

Take, for example, the implementation of a portion of a typical change-management plan. In conjunction with an upcoming agile software release, change-management requirements might include:

·        creating a stakeholder list;

·        creating a series of surveys on stakeholder attitudes; and

·        contacting  these stakeholders and socialize the survey results.

Tasks required for the delivery of iteration can then be broken down into stories, such as:

·        making a list of stakeholders in a certain business group;

·        creating a survey covering these specific questions; and

·        creating an analysis spreadsheet.

Creating ECM stories in the same manner as their development tasks integrates change management into the agile process. In fact, these stories can be created in a test-driven development manner. For the above story examples, a test could be written proving that:

·        a stakeholder from the business group is included in the stakeholder list;

·        a survey covers a specific required content item; and

·        the analysis spreadsheet has a correct column.

At the start of each iteration, these tests would initially fail, but they would begin to pass as the change-management stories were fulfilled.

ECM tests and their pass/fail state can be illustrated on the agile teams’ continuous integration dashboards. Making these dashboards available organizationwide gives all stakeholders maximum insight into teams’ overall progress to heighten project awareness across the enterprise.

By integrating ECM into agile development, the team can escape the project stovepipe and extend its vision to the entire enterprise. Although ECM does not give the project team absolute control over its destiny, it can substantively expand the domain of its influence.

Author Bios

Dr. Myles Bogner is vice president of Research and Development for Asynchrony Solutions, an IT consulting firm. He is a practitioner of agile processes and guides teams to apply agile techniques.

David Elfanbaum is co-founder of Asynchrony Solutions and has recently ditched his formal title, vice president of marketing, in favor of “Geek Interpreter Guy.”  


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