Agile from the field: Next stop - Singapore

Posted by Nat Tanner on Jun 22, 2017 5:02:44 PM

Last week I had the pleasure of spending 2 days in Singapore, meeting with new Agile prospects and the community at large. I wanted to explore the current state of the market especially where digital and Agile adoption is positioned. There’s often a big assumption where people believe that Agile is not best suited to eastern cultures – but what I witnessed in my short visit would actually contradict this position.

  1. Agile adoption is on the increase

The larger corporations are driving their digital transformation agendas forward. These enterprises have close alignment to agility which is driving the growth in adoption. DBS Bank, the largest bank in South-East Asia, has widely publicised ( see: Forbes Interview with Paul Cobban - COO, DBS Bank ) it’s adoption of Agile and Lean which is closely aligned to their digital strategy. They addressed their cultural and traditional management teams by assigning them onto hackathons with start-ups – a great way to replace your training budgets by engaging your leaders in innovative practices.

Most adoption is still at the team level but many organisations are experimenting with scaling techniques so the lessons learned and best practices from other regions would be welcome input for these companies.

  1. Meet-ups are strong and growing

The community is growing apace – the Agile Singapore meet-up has over 3500 active members and have at least 100 people in attendance every month. The coordinators are very open to good Agile talks. (If you’re part of the Agile Community and happened to be in Singapore or planning a visit please be sure to reach out and support this group by sharing your Agile stories from the field.) The global scrum gathering this week will attract almost 600 attendees, which is significant increase from previous years.

I also got to attend the ISACA chapter forum where my good friend Kath Morrison, presented on The Impact of Agile Transformation on existing IT Governance. The 50+ attendees, who were from risk, security and compliance background, were all new to Agile, however, they had great questions and were really engaged in the ideas. A number of people I spoke with hadn’t been to a chapter meeting in a while but the mention of Agile created a great deal of curiosity and drove them to attend.

  1. Government is leading in digital initiatives

I visited GovTech, the core agency responsible for innovating with a range of digital technologies, and loved seeing the highly collaborative environment and some of the ground-breaking technology solutions they are creating for key government departments. Their office could have been any Agile open space I’ve visited in Australia or the US and the energy of the 170+ people here was certainly not limited by any perceived cultural challenges. Check out some of their solutions that are helping to improve the lives of citizens, businesses and government across all aspects of digital – very refreshing!

Singapore is the gateway to a huge amount of International trade, is extremely technology ready (trust me their Internet hot spots ran like lightening – wish Australia would take a leaf…) and is very tax efficient. These are attractive drivers for digital and Agile adoption at scale and I believe the country and its people are really wanting to embrace it. It also attracts a lot of ex-pats so the mix of skills and cultures makes for a very interesting work culture – I was also really happy that women represented in large numbers at every meeting and gathering I attended.

So, if you’re heading to Asia and you have Agile stories to share please be sure to support this growing Agile community – I was made to feel very welcome and will definitely be back to explore even further and to help support the growth of agility!

Topics: Scaled Agile, Agile, JIRA, SAFe, Signapore