Microsoft has gone Agile and I'm not Crazy!
Almost four years ago we became convinced that there had to be a better way to deliver Microsoft Dynamics NAV projects than the typical waterfall approach that is so prevalent in our industry.
After reading some really great books by Mike Cohn and Ken Schwaber about Agile Project Management and Agile Estimating and Planning I couldn't believe that we had ever delivered projects any other way. Unfortunately at the time hardly anyone was talking about agile principles in our industry and how they could be applied to an ERP implementation. In fact despite the industry research that continued to show that ERP projects consistently deliver late, over budget, and with less of a solution than originally envisioned it seemed that everyone was unwilling to accept that a new approach to delivering ERP projects was required.
After four years on our own agile journey I have a greater appreciation for the challenge of reversing decades old mindsets of how people and projects should be managed. Despite the incredible evidence of how effective agile project management can be so often people are locked into ways of thinking and managing that may have worked in the industrial age but are not effective in our information age.
About eighteen months ago I was talking with Dan Brown, the General Manager of Microsoft Dynamics NAV at Convergence and he mentioned that he was taking the NAV development team agile and adopting the same agile variant that we had been implementing, Scrum. I was excited to think that we were no longer alone and others were coming to the same conclusions we had about the benefits of delivering business value and projects in a Scrum framework. While we can't discuss much of what Microsoft has shown concerning NAV "7" at NAV TechDays and at Directions I can say that I am simply amazed at the breadth and depth of progress that the NAV Development team is making on this next release.
I don't think it's any coincidence that incredible work that the NAV Development team has accomplished over the last eighteen months coincides with the transition of the team to a Scrum development model. I'm eagerly awaiting the day that we can talk more about NAV "7" and everything Microsoft is accomplishing in that release. When Microsoft finally unveils everything they are doing with NAV "7" I believe it will be a testament to what a great team Dan Brown has working on Dynamics NAV as well as the vision and foresight that he had to take the team agile.
In the meantime it's nice to know that I'm not crazy and that others are starting to see the benefits of going agile.