Context: We can study others who succeed, imitate their activities and gain their skills. But these activities create nothing new. Once we have reached their capabilities, how do we know if we’ve improved?
While agile has zealots, it is not a religion. Agile is a scientific method that converts economic chaos to profit.
Enterprises often have lots of time-sensitive opportunities and insufficient skilled or creative people (called “developers” in this pattern) to do everything.
Problem: Stakeholder competition distracts creative people, interferes with profitable work and creates office politics …
To sustain rapid adaptation and innovation, we need good agile managers. But management talent is rare, and agile management talent even rarer.
Danger lurks when executives and managers don’t understand agile. You can tell when managers don’t understand agile: they don’t use it themselves. Agile methods, Scrum particularly, are perfect for managing creative teams, including management teams planning and executing strategy (see Strategy Scrum Teams). [suth2014]
Management teams can use Strategy Scrum to manage themselves and more effectively finish important work. It creates greater resiliency, a more collaborative culture and deeper agile understanding, which helps their Scrum development teams succeed.
The strongest, most resilient agile entities (organizations, teams, individuals) follow 5 progressive agile base patterns. To assess your agility, ask how well you follow those patterns. To stay agile, follow the agile base patterns indefinitely. Continue reading
Leaders who publicly demonstrate agile methodologies and promote them top-down drive their organizations to sustain agile practices and succeed. But bottom-up agile transformations lack resiliency and generate cultural strife.
Agile methodologies are now widely recommended for managing software development, but most large companies require transformation from entrenched “waterfall development,” an intuitively appealing strategy that has created massive project disasters (see Why Software Fails). Traditionally, most large agile transformations have been pursued bottom-up. One approach starts with a single team, proves agile works, and then expands further and higher in the organization. Hopefully that agile team’s success inspires others to become agile. Another approach religiously converts all engineering teams to adopt a specific agile methodology, but leaves management teams and hierarchies, dependencies, promotion policies, job titles, roles, recruiting and budgeting in their previous form. The developers adopt agile, but the managers don’t. Continue reading
Using an agile methodology for project management can help CEOs, organizations, managers, teams and individuals rapidly adapt to change, beat slower competitors and win profitable markets. Agile methodologies were created to prevent the frequent and expensive manufacturing and development failures that arose in “waterfall” or “ad hoc” projects.
Most people tackle large projects using an intuitively obvious approach called “the waterfall method”: plan a sequence of activities upfront (for example: design, prototype, build, test, deploy), then focus on one type of activity after another until they have completed the whole thing. Only in the end do they have something of value. From software development to car manufacturing, the modular sequencing in waterfall has proven extremely risky, resulting in multi-million dollar project cancellations and corporate bankruptcies. The problem arises from the enormous costs that precede real-world testing. There’s a lot of risk riding on the final stage. Continue reading
Dan Greening and Jeff Sutherland will discuss Agile Leadership Patterns: The Agile Way of Doing at the Agile 2015 Conference, August 3–6, 2015. Join us and learn to answer the questions, “Am I agile?”, “Is my organization agile?” and “Are my leaders agile?” You only need to know five patterns.
Estimating lots of work items can help agile teams dramatically: Estimates help Product Owners make trade-offs, help teams gauge capacity, help Product Owner forecast feature releases, and help team members think about architectural issues. However, in too many cases, estimating is painfully boring and slow. It doesn’t have to be.