The Core Principle Behind Agile
Hyper-productive Agile teams, reaching twice, thrice and even higher level of productivity compared to industry average, have been reported by various consultants and practitioners, including Jeff Sutherland, Michael Mah and me. I run into a lot of questions about the reported case studies. Often times I sense that the executives quizzing me about the accomplishments of BMC Software are wishing at some level to find something extraordinary that would explain how my project teams accomplished hyper-productivity. In other words, the reported productivity figures are sometimes considered too good to be true in general.
IMHO Agile hyper-productivity stems from a very simple universal principle: everyone on the team does only the most important things at any point in time. Effectiveness and efficiency are the results of systemic elimination of less important features, functions and tasks.
Various executives ask me the question “Should I adopt Lean Agile or should I do Scrum ?” The answer I invariably give is “To my way of thinking, the two apply the same principle: Lean Agile focuses on eliminating waste; Scrum focuses on the elimination of “waste” in form of the less important.”
I will cover the “secret sauce” of BMC Software’s sucess with Agile methods in forthcoming posts. Before doing so, I would like the reader to come to terms with the following view: the secret sauce we used at BMC was “just” creating the environment within which the less important was eliminated. What we did was a successful implementation of the core principle: “Do only the most important things at any point in time”.
In a way, our secret sauce was grasping this fundamental principle and developing a whole socio-technical system to free the principle from the metaphorical chains of archaic methods.