Context: Creative people—such as engineers, designers, managers, researchers, lawyers, architects and investors—increasingly work in project teams.
Creative teams take too long
Creative people often brush off customers with, “It will be done when it’s done!” If creative professionals had done it before, we could expect them to estimate and deliver on time, but copying isn’t creative, and real creativity naturally involves uncertainty. Many have tried to impose detailed planning to creative efforts, but overplanning has produced extraordinary failures costing billions of dollars [char2005]. Nevertheless, the value of creative work often depends on timely delivery, and patrons can become desperate.
Context: We have a goal requiring creative effort. We want to succeed.
Overplanning increases risk …
When embarking on a creative project, success seems certain. We plan optimistically, and then almost immediately after we start, delays and challenges emerge. The plan and likely outcome keep diverging. We become more realistic. We double down on effort. We plan with more detail, but encounter even more problems.
What I’m looking for in the dharma is not just a set of effective self-help techniques, stripped of philosophical and ethical context. I’m seeking to find a way of life. —Stephen Batchelor
Two years ago, I paused writing about agile practices. Many factors contributed: I was considering a move to Asia, I was separating from my spouse of 28 years (amicable, but complex), a friend offered me a management position in his biotech company. It became less urgent to write about agility, than to address more immediate needs. But while I didn’t write about agility, I used agility in my personal life.
If you hang around agilists long enough, someone will mention lean manufacturing, Toyota Production System or Kanban. Since these concepts predate Agile, you might wonder how they relate, and perhaps why lean manufacturing wasn’t directly applied to software (until perhaps recently with Lean/Kanban). You might wonder whether Agile is just a subset of Lean Manufacturing.
Are you exploring agile/lean management practices? Submit an agile/lean research paper or experience report to the Agile/Lean mini-track at the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS). The Agile/Lean mini-track at HICSS has been operating continuously since 2007. Influential papers on Scrum patterns, agile metrics, lean forecasting, qualitative grounded inquiry, distributed development and large-company experience reports have appeared in past years.
The HICSS conference, sponsored by IEEE, brings together a broad cross-section of researchers in system sciences—including software development, social media, energy transmission, marketing systems, knowledge management and information systems. Agile and lean management practices apply to all of these fields. HICSS 50 will be held January 4-7, 2017 at Hilton Waikoloa Village, Big Island, Hawaii.
In conjunction with, and in celebration of, the 50th HICSS conference, selected submissions from this mini-track may be selected for fast-track consideration in the Journal of Information Technology Theory and Application (JITTA) and the AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction.
Want to understand agile and its challenges fast? Check out this comprehensive 15 minute video.
Dan Greening (Senex Rex) and Brent Barton (SolutionsIQ) explore the fundamental patterns of agility; how leadership inhibits and nurtures agility; why agile is hard to maintain; how to tell rapidly if a person, team or organization is agile; how to build agile manager teams to tackle tough strategic problems; and how to hire agile leaders.
Creative people with limited resources, such as product managers, developers, CEOs, investors and artists, must choose which items to assess, staff or fund. They compare value, cost, flexibility and risk to make a decision.
Pattern languages can help us understand complex systems. Read how pattern languages work, and how you can write your own. We are defining agility and its practices using a pattern language called the Agile Canon. Using the first five patterns in the Agile Canon, you can diagnose whether your team is agile, whether it can keep its agility, and whether it expands agility beyond the team’s boundaries.