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John Deere plows into agile

Patrick Thibodeau | Jan. 30, 2012
John Deere & Co., has moved about 800 software developers into an agile development process, and did so in just over a year.

Deere is also deploying new software, a project management platform made by Rally Software, to help align its development effort. It will help "give us more visibility to the bigger things that are happening" and track multiple projects, said Holdorf.

Forrester's Grant said agile adoption is happening across the board in all industries, even in highly regulated ones.

Many of these organizations will have numerous agile experiments going on simultaneously, but at John Deere, "it's more of a determined investment," said Grant, who is familiar with the company's effort.

The approach taken by John Deere is valid, says Grant, and the large deployment helps to meet resistance that may arise during an incremental rollout as well as improve coordination, said Grant. "If there is any institutional inertia there is a much better chance of overcoming it," he said.

The case for agile development has been made, and it came at the worst possible time, in 2009 during the recession, said Grant. The economy force people to think about the way they were innovating, he said.


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