Based on feedback from participants in my Agile 2010 workshop “How We Do Things Around Here In Order To Succeed,” I am planning to offer the workshop as a one-day seminar. A tentative agenda for the seminar is as follows:
- Introduction to Cultural Framework
- Exercise #1: Determine Your Culture
- Exercise #2: Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Culture
- Change Behavior, Not Culture
- When Cultures Meet
- Exercise #3: Conflicts in Devops
- The Agile Flywheel
- Exercise #4: Using Technical Debt as a Boundary Object
- Bringing Individuals and Organizations Together
- Exercise #5: It is About Sharing the Process, Not Just Sharing the Information
- Exercise #6: From success in devops to end-to-end success
Until I publish a full-fledged outline for the seminar, here is the central theme:
Inter-departmental flow in a corporate setting is often envisioned as the inner workings of a swiss watch. Wheels turn other wheels in a precise manner. Not only is effectiveness maintained, it is maintained in an efficient manner.
Problem is, many individuals and most departments hold distorted views of the departments they interact with. Reasonable distortions can be mitigated as long as the operational balance between departments is maintained. Once the operational balance is broken the “swiss watch” stops to function as the inter-departmental distortions block any attempt to restore the balance.
The most effective way to get dev and ops on a path of collaboration is for the two departments to jointly construct a boundary object. As dev and ops are joined in the hip through the code, and even more so through its quality, technical debt is well suited to serve as the core of a boundary object around which the two department share meaning while retaining operational autonomy.
Similar boundary objects can be constructed between dev and other departments – customer support, professional services, marketing, sales and finance. When conceived and implemented in a manner that links numerous boundary objects together, Agile success in dev can be extended to both upstream and downstream functions.