Meet Erika Halperin!

Erika 2021 Headshot

Erika Halperin is one of AJC’s amazing Consultant Team members with a strong experience in Agile and Strategy. We are excited to share her expertise with our readers!

What is Agile?

Agile is a mindset and set of practices that allow software development and business teams to work collaboratively and iteratively to frequently deliver high-quality, valuable technical solutions to end customers. A lot of people assume that agile was defined as capital “A” Agile first, followed by various frameworks to implement Agile, when in fact the various “lightweight” ways of working, including Scrum and XP, existed first and then the Agile Methodology and Principles were developed later (in 2001) to provide overarching guidance and a common language across the software industry.

Is there a way to incorporate portions of Agile and not full “Scrum?”

Scrum, like other Agile methodologies, is quite lightweight compared to the behemoth of traditional waterfall project management, but in the hands of the uninitiated it may feel overly complex–that’s why leveraging an experienced consultant can make all the difference! 

“The Scaled Agile Framework (“SAFe”) is another common framework in which Agile and Lean are combined and drive the work cadence and processes of a large group of teams made up of both business and technical folks working together to achieve common goals.”

Erika Halperin

What major take-aways would you recommend companies consider when trying to be more “agile”?

Listen, we all know that change of any kind is difficult, so a critical first step for any organization that wants to become more agile is to get real about what’s not working. Sometimes it seems like companies initially chase agile frameworks because it’s the hot thing that everyone else is doing, without really understanding why, and that’s a recipe for disaster. It’s important to be honest about questions like the ones listed below because embracing change in the ways we work requires us to truly believe things can be much better than they are. 

  • How long do your projects take from idea to implementation? 
  • Are you plagued by cost overruns?
  • Are your projects delivering what’s actually needed by the end user? 
  • Are your software development teams and business groups siloed or are they truly collaborating to meet the fundamental goals of business? 
  • Are high quality standards baked into every step of your process or just a box to check near the end of an initiative? 
  • How often are you releasing code into your production environment and does doing so require stressful, Herculean efforts? 
  • How engaged and excited are your employees? Are they driven by a shared vision that results in innovative solutions and valuable problem solving?
  • How quickly are you able to respond to changes, such as new competitors or outside forces that significantly alter your customers’ needs?
  • Are you experimenting?

What’s a fun or funny fact about you that people probably wouldn’t know?

I used to be a certified Paraglider pilot! I got into Paragliding as a way to overcome my fear of heights. It didn’t work.

What’s your favorite movie?

When Harry Met Sally. It will simply never get old.