Livingston says it's not necessary for IT and other business functions to get along swimmingly for Agile to work effectively. Agile can work even if there's initial tension between the groups, he says.
"We've had groups with troubled relationships, and certainly initial meetings are not always effective out of the gate," he says. "But at least we can agree that we're going to focus on 15 key items in the next 30 days, and at the end of the 30 days, we'll get back to you."
The process forces IT and business partners to prioritize projects together and agree on the 15 items IT will complete in 30 days. Scrum also then drives IT's behavior. At the end of that 30 days, IT has to show something for its work. Scrum makes IT accountable to the business.
When business partners see IT making tangible progress every thirty days, their confidence in IT grows. Says Livingston, "If the business partner sees results more frequently than they used to, relationships can get better. Agile promotes better relationships just by forcing a process, forcing interaction."
Between the structure that Scrum imposes and the relationships that grow out of it, project delivery improves. Livingston says Shaw Industries is seeing this happen: "Better collaboration results in better value for the business," he says.