Posts Tagged ‘Cutter’
On January 30, 2012 12:00 pm EST, colleague and friend Hubert Smits and I will be doing a Cutter webinar entitled “Big Agile” is More than Just a Software Method. We will follow on in February with a “Big Agile” issue of the Cutter IT Journal [CITJ] for which I am the guest editor. Coming April we are likely to discuss the topic some more in the Cutter Summit.
The heart of the webinar can be summarized in the following words:
Small is beautiful in software. While big software might not be beautiful, more often than not, it’s in the nature of what needs to be accomplished. This contrast between the beauty of small and the requirements of the big generates systemic tension in many software projects, organizations, and companies. Resolving this conflict is the focus of this webinar.
Discussing the webinar and the follow-on CITJ issue with various folks in the Agile, Lean and Kanban movement(s), I became painfully aware of the very many interpretation folks associate with the the term “Big Agile.” Hence, I would like to say a few words on what it means to me. I am taking the very pragmatic view of a client on the subject. A VP of one department or another is chartered to implement an Agile roll-out at scale. The roll-out might not include all the teams. Nor might it include all functions within the company. The roll-out, however, affects a significant number of folks. Focusing the roll-out at the team level is not sufficient.
The typical VP that I run into under such circumstances is not an expert on software methods (and usually acknowledges it). He/she, however, is smart enough and experienced enough to understand that scale matters. He/she knows or feels intuitively that Big Agile is akin to Big Data. Data is data is data, but when it is Big Data you need to address various aspects that do not manifest themselves in dealing with ordinary amounts of data. Likewise for Agile IMHO.
We plan to make the webinar very interactive. Anne Mullaney will start with a few ‘warm up’ questions to enable us to ‘dig’ into the subject, thence turn it over to questions from the audience. We plan to take the discussion to wherever the participants might want to.
I hope you will join us whether you love, hate or indifferent to the term “Big Agile.” We are expecting a lively discussion…
I will have the distinct pleasure of leading a roundtable discussion on the subject in the forthcoming Cutter Summit. Here is the general direction we will jointly explore:
A technical debt assessment is often relegated to the “strictly for geeks” category. Supposedly, no sober executive wants to hear about metrics like Afferent Coupling or Distance from the Main Sequence, let alone learn and track them. Right? Wrong! In this round table discussion, Israel Gat will lead a discussion about the “life-view” that technical debt assessments reveal. Time and time again, we find technical debt readings reflect a broader truth than just the way software is produced. Here, we’ll discuss the measures that you could, and perhaps should, apply to tie process, code and outcome together to create a sustainable equilibrium between development, operations and the business.
I will be presenting on the Agile 2.0 subject in the forthcoming Cutter Summit. The premise of my presentation is that markets nowadays are vastly different from those we used to compete in ten years ago. The changes in the markets pose new challenges to software methods. Insofar as Agile methods are concerned, we are starting to see a new generation methods. I perceive these methods as Agile 2.0.
Here is the abstract of my presentation:
Agile, the software method that was conceived as a way to cope with change, is itself dramatically changing. What we are now witnessing is the emergence of Agile 2.0.
Three rapidly converging trends are driving the emergence of Agile 2.0:
- Markets are becoming hyper-segmented;
- Markets are also becoming fleetingly transient; and
- The value chains that serve the markets are dramatically different from yesterday’s value chains.
Traditionally, the Agile movement responded to change by “merging” two strands – development and testing – at the team level. Agile 2.0 extends this single-level approach by simultaneously applying Agile principles at three tiers:
- The tier at which development, testing and operations merge
- The tier at which strategy and delivery merge
- The tier at which problem and solution merge
Agile 2.0 addresses the key challenge posed by “change is changing”: how to solve a problem when it is not understood well enough to produce a viable solution. Rapidly interlinked iterations at all three levels make it possible to substitute learning for planning. It’s through tight feedback loops in and amongst the three levels that the pace of learning accelerates to match the speed of change.
In this presentation, Cutter Fellow and Director of Cutter’s Agile practice, Israel Gat, will divulge the details you need to know about how to implement Agile 2.0 in your organization/company. You’ll get a blueprint for assessing and responding to the new realities of the competitive environment — without compromising the tried and true Agile tenets.
Many of the findings and the recommendations we make in Cutter technical debt engagements are broadly applicable in concept, if not in detail. There is commonality in the nature of the hot spots we typically find, the mal-practices we identify as the root causes and the ways we go about reducing the “heat.” Granted, your technical debt reduction strategy might dictate investing in automated unit testing prior to reducing complexity, while your competitor might be able to address complexity without additional investment in unit testing. However, the considerations you and your competitor will go through in devising your technical debt reduction strategies are fairly similar.
It is this similarity that we try to capture in this Executive Update. Some of specifics we recount here might not be applicable to your environment. However, we trust the overall characterization we provide will give you, your colleagues and your superiors a fairly good “3D” picture of how the technical debt initiative will look like in the context of your own business imperatives and predicaments.
The good folks at Cutter have released the Executive Update from which the excerpt cited above is taken. It is co-authored by colleague Chris Sterling and me. For a free donwnload, click here and use the promotion code DELVING.
Readers of both the Cutter Blog and The Agile Executive are probably familiar with my my view that Agile nowadays is deployed in a new context. The Agile roll-out is at the very heart of the confluence of major changes in markets, value chains and technological capabilities. Markets are tilting toward hyper-segmentation; value chains are being populated with prosumers; and, technological capabilities are becoming a problem of choosing, not of choice. Hence, the real starting point for the Agile roll-out, indicated by the you are here marker in Figure 1, is comprehending the implications of the merging of these three trends in the context of the client’s business.
Figure 1: A New Context for Agile
DZone has just published an interview with me on the subject. Click here for details, including a discussion of the nature and power of ‘Super-Fresh’ Code in the new context.
The heart of the matter in this engagement was ensuring that technical debt stories would not become ‘second citizens.’ We proposed treating technical debt as a strategic investment theme. To our way of thinking, technical debt is no different from customary budget allocations to growing market segments, tactical sales opportunities, cost reduction and the like.
Allocation Flows in the Data Structure of the Enterprise