The Agile Executive

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Posts Tagged ‘Hyper-Segmentation

Agile 2.0 in the Cutter Summit

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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:

  1. The tier at which development, testing and operations merge
  2. The tier at which strategy and delivery merge
  3. 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.

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Written by israelgat

December 8, 2011 at 11:12 pm

A New Context for Agile

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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.

Written by israelgat

October 26, 2011 at 11:51 am

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The Three Faces of Innovation

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To succeed with innovation, you need to simultaneously address all three aspects:

  1. Affordable experimentation through the Agile process.
  2. Empowerment of (self sufficient) local teams.
  3. Let go of the hierarchical control concentrated in corporate headquarters.
Click here for details how hyper-segmented markets and a new breed of value chains transform the pre-requisites for innovating.

Written by israelgat

September 30, 2011 at 8:00 am

Getting Ready for Agile 2011 – Part II

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In her recent post Getting Ready for Agile 2011, Anne Mullaney gave an outline of my forthcoming sessions at the conference. Specifically, she highlighted the emergence of new forms of Agility:

“Super-Fresh Code” is a term Israel coined (an extension of the “Super-Fresh Web” concept) to describe code that results from seizing upon the opportunities opened by combining recent advances in Agile software methods, cloud computing, mobile applications, and social networking. With the right mix, a company can outgun, outclass and outmaneuver its competition through real-time requirements management and superior business designs. Essentially, super-fresh code becomes the source of competitive advantage. This is a workshop that will make you think about Agile in ways you never have before.

Appropriately enough for the anniversary year of the Agile Manifesto, my strong conviction indeed is that we are just about witnessing Agile going beyond being “just” a software method. Markets are becoming hyper-segmented. There is no way to reach tiny, granular market segments economically without sophisticated software. Moreover, markets are becoming ultra-fluid. It takes a high degree of software-based business agility to penetrate market segments that form and collapse at the speed with which social networking groups emerge (and disappear). Hence, software is becoming a bigger and bigger part of just about any business — avionics, financial services, healthcare, retail, transportation, telco, and so on. In fact, in many engagements Cutter consultants carry out, the software is the company. Unless Agile methods are used strategically, the ability of a company to generate value for its customers and capture profit for itself might be in jeopardy: the company simply cannot adapt fast enough in the face of a significant amount of technical debt.

Viewed from this perspective, technical debt becomes an integral part of Agile methods. One starts an enterprise level Agile roll-out in order to, well, gain Agility. The accrual of technical debt puts a damper on Agility. Hence, implementing a technical debt assessment, reduction and prevention program is an essential part of the Agile initiative. In fact, Cutter recommends to its clients to integrate the two all the way down to the backlog stories.

I can’t wait to discuss these topics with you and other Agile 2011 participants in just about two weeks!

Agile Enterprise Forum 2011

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Charles Handy, Chris Potts, Don Reinertsen, John Seddon and I are the featured speakers in the Agile Enterprise Forum 2011. The Forum will be held on March 10, 2011 in the Chandos House at the Royal Society of Medicine,  London. Attendance is limited to 30 CIOs.

The theme for the forum is Agility for Complex Organizations. The overarching message is nicely captured in the following summary by James Yoxall:

There are two strands of interest for a CIO: strategy and delivery.  The Agile/Lean message can be summarised as “merging” the two, so that delivery can start before strategy is complete, and delivery informs strategy through feedback loops. This leads to a faster/earlier delivery and a better end result.

My own workshop – Agile Governance: Tying Delivery to Value – builds on this message by describing a specific strategic initiative which is not achievable without the use of advanced delivery techniques. Here is the abstract for my workshop:

This workshop will explore mechanisms for unlocking the full potential of existing software through the combination of Agile/Lean methods with technical debt techniques. These mechanisms apply to complex organisations that rely on in-house development teams as well as to third party delivery partners. Israel’s approach emphasizes the need to continuously monitor and mitigate the decay of software that more often than not had been developed over many years. Most importantly, it shows how well-governed software can become the enabler for unleashing the synergistic power of cloud, mobile and social.

You can think of the workshop as linking past, present and future. The “sins” of the past require technical debt reduction initiatives today. These initiatives utilize the classical Agile/Lean techniques of continuous measurement and tight feedback loops. Without such initiative, the value of existing software cannot be unlocked in the future. In particular, competing in the hyper-segmented markets that cloud, mobile and social generate will be next to impossible for legacy software that has not been modernized.