Leadership for Successful Agile Transitions

If you only adopt one practice of Agile, adopt retrospectives. The rest will emerge from that. This is old wisdom among Agilists, and back in the early 2000s, Cutter Senior Consultant Alistair Cockburn boiled down his Crystal Clear method to “Iterate and Reflect.” I thought everything of interest had already been written on this topic — until I was involved recently in a mostly failed transition during which this was a major topic. Looking at leadership models, you find the concept of post-heroic leadership where the heroic leader solves problems by either being the expert him or herself, or an “achiever” who pushes others to solve the problem. The post-heroic leader works by providing the …

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Back in 2004, when he was a vice presidential candidate, then-Senator John Edwards hit a nerve with his “Two Americas” speech at the Democratic National Convention. Here is the core sentence in that speech: And we have much work to do, because the truth is, we still live in a country where there are two different Americas, one for all of those people who have lived the American dream and don’t have to worry, and another for most Americans, everybody else who struggle to make ends meet every single day. It doesn’t have to be that way. The Agile movement faces its own version of the Two Americas problem. It’s appropriate and necessary to celebrate …

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From Guest Editor Dave Rooney: As a consultant and Agile coach, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different clients and speak to many people about Agile methods. From my earliest Agile experiences in 2000 to the present day, I’ve encountered a common statement made by those who haven’t been part of teams working in an agile manner, and even from some who have. The phrasing always contains the words, “in the real world.” For example, “Agile is great in theory, but I can’t see it working in the real world.” Or how about, “Test-driven development sounds great, but in the real world it’s impractical.” Then there’s, “Having each team member dedicated 100% to …

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Complementing Agile SDLC with Agile Architecture

The reality of today’s highly competitive and customer demand-centric market conditions have pushed software (solution) delivery organizations beyond the traditionally accepted limits of software development and delivery capabilities. There is no argument that Lean methodologies such as Lean Six Sigma and DevOps can help improve operational solution delivery capacities through: Streamlining of solution delivery process Improved software quality Automation of system operations Self-administration of system operations by development teams Agile methodologies, however, help augment such operational improvements with their own enablement of faster time to market (TTM) through transforming the Lean concept of “value-added activities” into “value-added product features.”  Agile software architecture must augment solution delivery organizations’ Agile software development lifecycle (SDLC) capability by creating …

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Several of today’s technology developments affect the market for mobile technology and the ways end-user organizations implement collaboration solutions. These include the rise of cloud-based platforms, the mobile collaboration mechanisms increasingly built into enterprise applications, and the integration of mobile capabilities with enterprise social networks. On-Premise vs. Cloud Solutions Enterprise mobile collaboration solutions are available as software for deployment on premise as well as in the form of cloud-based platforms from a number of providers, including Cisco, IBM, Microsoft (Yammer), SAP, Avaya, Box, Aastra, NEC, ShoreTel, Alcatel-Lucent, and AT&T. Like every other category of enterprise solutions, the cloud is having a profound effect on how organizations implement mobile technology in general. Over the next 12-18 …

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In research and in economic innovation, great insight and great value are frequently created by individuals with stocks of knowledge in two or more domains and by teams of people where the individuals might be experts in one domain but have the facility to grasp enough of another domain to connect the dots. In universities across the globe, more and more research is being done by multidisciplinary teams. While deep expertise in one domain is needed to perform well on these teams, facility with — if not some significant expertise in — another domain is also needed. Tomorrow’s problems and the innovation needed to solve them are likely to require multiple disciplines. One person with …

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Jul 012014
 
Who Is the Product Owner?

For a rapidly evolving role, the basic requirements of product ownership are somewhat ill-defined. The role was developed initially in Scrum, which has become the most widely used and recognized component of Agile development. But the concept is close to the chief engineer in Lean engineering as well as similar roles in other Agile philosophies. Product owner is a critical role, but one that has sprung from software development rather than the business side. We must bring today’s product owner into the organizational structure. The product owner role is crucial because it represents the actual interface between stakeholders — users, managers, marketers, and the business community — and the development team. Without the product owner, …

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What's happening with IT budgets?

IT budgeting is the topic of Cutter’s longest-running research — we’ve just opened our ninth annual survey on the topic, and we hope you’ll participate. Not so surprisingly, last year’s survey found that security drove the largest increase in IT budgets, led by increases from large companies. According to author Dennis Adams, “This may be a response to the idea that large companies are bigger ‘targets’ to hackers.” On the other end of the spectrum, Adams pointed out that “Although some consultants have predicted that energy costs would increase the costs of computing, our surveys have not borne this out. This year, as in the past, energy costs have not factored into the costs of …

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There are times when major trends intersect. Sometimes they reinforce each other; other times they cancel each other out. In the case of Target’s security problems, there seems to have been a fair amount of interference (to read my earlier Advisor on the Target security breach, see “Cyber Security: Inside and Out“). The FireEye software that was supposed to warn of the kind of exposure that did Target in reacted as it was supposed to: the basic problem was flagged and diagnosed immediately, and a warning message was included in one of the security logs and highlighted by analysts at Target’s Bangalore security center. Unfortunately, the critical message was not deemed worthy of immediate action by the …

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It should come as no surprise that decision making in some flavor or another is at the heart of nearly every business book, method, conference, and article. After all, especially in business, what are we trying to learn from the past if not the answer to “why” or “how did they do that?” Looking at any project or process technique, any analysis, any case study in nearly any topic, ultimately what we’re after is making sense of the means and the ends. Any metric, measure, and indicator is — when used properly — merely a trigger, tripwire, forecast or estimate of something on which to guide the path forward. All of project management can be …

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