Archive for the ‘The Agile Leader’ Category
Software Development Times has just published Guest View: Wrestling with Scaling Software Agility by Ryan Martens and me. This Guest View is a little unique in that Ryan and I actually try to wrestle each other to the ground… Here is why we try to do so:
Agile champions spend a lot of time trying to communicate the agile premise to the executives in their organization. The difference in context between the champion and the executive often makes it a difficult conversation. A Scrum Master versed in behavior-driven design is not always able to relate to the frustrations of a sales executive who gets free advice on how to sell from everyone and his grandmother.
Conversely, a CFO does not necessarily understand why unit test coverage on the company’s legacy code is still inadequate after a full year of investment in agile methods that embrace refactoring as a core practice.
To bridge the chasm through this article, we resort to role-playing. Ryan Martens plays the Agile Champion; Israel Gat plays the Skeptical Executive. Metaphorically speaking, each one tries to wrestle the other to the ground.
Before you get into this Guest View, I would like to reinforce an important disclaimer:
A note of caution before Ryan and Israel make irreparable damage to their long-standing relationship: The two actually understand each other extremely well and rarely are they of different opinions on the fundamentals of agile in real life…
Enjoy the article!
I am already used to the way things are. Before you came, I was thinking about how much time I had wasted in the same place, while my friends have moved on, and either went bankrupt or did better than they had before. It made me very depressed. Now, I can see that it has not been too bad. The shop is exactly the side I wanted it to be. I don’t want to change anything, because I don’t know how to deal with change. I am used to the way I am.
This magnificent paragraph from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, captures the nature of the Agile transformation better than any Agile book, article or presentation I had ever read, seen or listened to. The issue for the team the Agile champion works with is not objectify-ing Cobol, calculating Cyclomatic Complexity or learning how to play Planning Poker. The heart of the matter is members of the team struggle with the innermost feeling “I am used to the way I am.”
I very much doubt that I can summarize Coelho’s counsel on the subject. It would be like trying to capture the wisdom and charm of Saint-Exupery‘s The Little Prince in 500 words or in 140 characters . To fully grasp Coelho’s good counsel, you will need to read The Alchemist cover to cover.
Abstract: The presentation applies Agile thinking to critical aspects of strategy and execution at a time of uncertainty and disruption. The essential point is simple and logical: Agile values and principles are indivisible. To succeed, they must be applied not just to R&D, but also to customer and company, simultaneously. This requires reconfiguration of customer relationships, employee policy, software development, and the relationship that binds the three. The resulting paradigm shift could lower the cost of software and produce prosperity similar to the one induced by ultra-cheap oil in the 50’s.
Perspective: In addition to being a ‘think-piece,’ the presentation offers pragmatic recommendations for the Agile champion in three critical areas:
- It explains how the Agile champion can cross three chasms that tend to form in the course of large scale Agile rollouts.
- It explores how to apply Agile priciples to software deployment and operations.
- It shows how earned value management can utilize ‘real time’ customer feedback in companies that embrace end-to-end Agility.