Four Levels of Delivering Software (For Enterprise Software Teams)

The ability to deliver software (physically turn ideas into working software that a customer can use) has different levels, and before trying to improve your team, it helps to know where you are. These levels are focused on Enterprise Software Teams (EST). Product Teams have a similar track with a different focus (they’re focused on revenue generation as an indicator of success). These levels are ranked from emergent to established:

1: Can turn a written specification into working software reliably
2: Can turn not-well-specified ideas into working software reliably
3: Can work with customer to elicit ideas to turn into working software reliably
4: Can challenge established norms and focus on delivering value over writing software according to customer’s stated needs

Agile, and Scrum specifically, work at levels 3 and 4. Most ESTs are at 1 or 2, and they believe that adopting agile (or Scrum) will get them to level 3 and 4.

If you look closely, there’s a precursor step before being able to adopt any agile methodology (like Scrum): The software team must be able to focus on the needs of the customer and be able to make the decisions necessary to improve the customer’s experience. Not a VP of Delivery, not a project manager, but the team itself.

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