The guys over at InfoWorld put together an article on the Top 4 Information Technology Turf Wars. Whether it is Security vs. The World, Operations vs. Development, Admins vs. Other Admins, or IT Management vs. The Staff, it seemed that they hadn’t fully thought through some of the ways that some facets of Agile could help alleviate some of the frustration.
On Security vs. The World:
“When someone comes to the security people and says, ‘I want to do this,’ security’s default answer is to say no…”
Agile can help by bringing in the security personnel into the process earlier. While working through stories or grooming the backlog, it can help to have a security representative be part of the tasking-process. This can help in that the security dude can give technical and potentially architectural guidance around requirements.
On Operations vs. Development:
“The classic conflict is that IT is very often just managed as a cost center… They believe their job is to figure out how to do more with less… The operations side saw its job as managing costs, while the developers saw their job as managing quality…”
Agile can help by bringing QUALITY into the mix. Since so much of IT resources are focused on fixing and working through environmental issues and maintenance, Agile can help by defining “done” with quality baked in. As quality controls are built into the development process, less and less will break and operations will see development as something more than just managing a cost center.
On Admins vs. Other Admins:
“The classic scenario: A sys admin departs on bad terms and decides to wreak revenge… We’ve had to deal with admins who’ve abused their privileges maybe a couple of dozen times. For 99.999 percent of admins, this is never the case. But when we do hear about a rogue administrator gone wild, the danger is to say admins are going to run amok and steal things from the company. It breeds a culture of mistrust from management to security to IT. It’s counterproductive.”
Agile can help by bringing in two things: Cross-pollination of skills and knowledge through paired programming and (pair) administration, and creating an environment of transparency and accountability to those system admins. There should almost never be one single point of failure. How many horror stories have been told about the guy who got hit by the bus and now nothing can get done? Or is it more politically correct to say that he “won the lotto?” Agile is about transparency and disclosure into those things previously hidden. Utilize it for goodness’ sake!
On IT Management vs. The Staff:
“The biggest conflict is between IT management and IT staff… For some reason, the companies I’ve worked for seem to hire or promote people who are not technologically literate.”
Agile can help through inspection and adaption of processes and procedures. As the stakeholders, Product Owners, and management personnel learn more about what is going on with development, they will not only learn, but also be a more informed party during the development cycle. Bring your IT people into the fray. Let them into the development process. Over time, they’ll learn, and who knows, our know-it-all-senior-developer might learn a bit more about how the business runs as well.