The House Jim Built
Visualize a house structure with a roof, a foundation, and three pillars… The roof is business goals — the rationale for implementing agile methods and scaling to larger agile projects. The foundation is agile values or principles — principles that need careful interpretation as to how to apply them to larger teams. And finally, the three pillars: organization, product backlog, and process/practice.
The simplicity of the metaphor makes it quite effective in communicating what Agile is in a concise manner. The need to do a better job conveying the concepts (as distinct from the practices) of Agile was highlighted during Rally’s recent event in Los Angeles. Numerous participants in the event felt they have not managed to get the Agile premise across to their executives.
Scrum, as a management methodology, is elegant in its design, requiring only three roles (i.e., product owner, ScrumMaster, and self-organized team), three ceremonies (sprint/iteration planning, daily Scrum/debrief, and sprint review meetings), and three artifacts (product and sprint backlogs and the burndown chart) — just-enough practical advice so agile teams do not overcomplicate the development lifecycle with too much ceremony and documentation.
Between Jim and David, you should have no problem carrying the day in discussing Agile methods with an uninitiated executive.
[David’s Report is available in entirety here. You will need to subscribe to the Cutter service in order to get a copy of Jim’s Advisory. The excerpt cited above, taken from the public summary of the Advisory, is largely self-contained and should suffice for delivering the core message].