Author

Israel Gat

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Israel Gat is Director of Cutter Consortium's Agile Product & Project Management practice and a Fellow of the Lean Systems Society. He is recognized as the architect of the Agile transformation at BMC Software. Under his leadership, BMC software development increased Scrum users from zero to 1,000 in four years. Dr. Gat's executive career spans top technology companies, including IBM, Microsoft, Digital, and EMC. Read more ...

 
A New Kind of Software Development Framework

A good way to make predictions is to recognize current trends and then extrapolate them into the future. The longer the trends, the more confident you can be about the predictions. Thinking about software development processes, we see two long-term paths that software development has taken. These paths are the basis of both our joint prediction for the coming year and the kind of holistic consulting we will focus on in 2015. The path some have taken has been moving from one lifecycle process to another, each containing a set of prescribed practices. These, in rough order, are waterfall, spiral, controlled iteration/RUP, Xtreme Programing, Agile, and DevOps. We may have missed one or two, plus …

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May 242014
 
Welcome aboard, Diana!

One of the great pleasures of being practice director is welcoming aboard new consultants. With each consultant we add to the Agile Practice I feel both the practice and I are enriched. The practice gains new expertise as well as another perspective on various methodical issues we wrestle with. Likewise, I gain access to a set of experiences, insights and values that I might not have been privy to before. Adding a consultant to the practice is actually a most gratifying form of network effect. I feel particularly delighted to welcome Diana Larsen to Cutter through this post. Diana, of course, needs no introduction. So, instead of an introduction I will share an episode and …

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May 242014
 
Read it Twice!

We were not literally poor when I was a kid, but my parents had precious little disposable income. The free public library in which they registered me had a strict two-day book exchange policy. If I borrowed a book on Monday, I could not get a new one till Wednesday. It was cruel torture for a book worm like me: I would typically finish the book I borrowed the very same day and would impatiently count the nanoseconds remaining till I was eligible to borrow another book. Fast forward to 2014 and I am feeling like a stranger in paradise, spoiled rotten by any number of great books, articles, presentations and blog posts on any …

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Oct 042013
 

In a recent post I reflected on a ‘built-in’ benefit of my job, as follows: One of the pleasures of being practice director is that I get to know and be known to fascinating folks that I might not otherwise have had the opportunity to meet and build a relationship with. If another proof for my reflection was needed, this post welcoming Dr. Murray Cantor is as hard a proof as they come. Here is a researcher and author whose originality and rigor are second to none, and I have the privilege and pleasure of writing about his joining Cutter as a  Contributing Expert! I would hate to steal Murray’s thunder, but would allow myself to hint …

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Sep 142013
 

How appropriate it is that Lynn Winterboer is joining Cutter just about at the time that we publish the Cutter Benchmark Review on Achieving an Agile Organizational Mind. With Lynn on board, we have another heavy hitter who applies the values, methods and practices of ‘traditional’ Agile to data, data warehousing, and business intelligence. The importance of so doing in the era of big data can’t be overstated. Just about every Cutter client I meet is struggling to extract meaning from the data he/she possesses. Needless to say, extracting meaning in an Agile manner constitutes an important competitive capability. Between the ‘old hands’ in the practice and the recent additions of Professor Giancarlo Succi, Sue …

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  Let me start with full disclosure: A) I am a fellow of the Lean Systems Society; and, B) I will be attending the conference. Obviously, I am a little biased. This very natural bias notwithstanding, if you find my blog posts (click here and here) of interest, I am fairly certain you will have a ball in the conference. Moreover, I believe you will step out of the conference with a few actionable insights that might surprise you. The #1 problem most of my clients are struggling with these days is complexity; #2 is that they are expected to solve the complexity problem through best practices: #3 is that I tell them something like …

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It is my profound pleasure to welcome Sue McKinney and Tom Grant to the Cutter family and to the Agile practice. I am really excited about the expertise they bring to the practice and the opportunity to work with them in person. I first met Sue some five or six years ago in an APLN conference in which she presented her experience teaching the IBM elephant to dance to the rhythm of Agile. My overarching impression from the presentation was “Wow, this lady has fire in her belly!” This impression of mine grew stronger and stronger over the years as I became more familiar with her large scale transformative work at both IBM and Pitney …

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Technical Debt in the Era of Transient Competitive Advantage

A situation that I and various consultants in the Cutter Agile Practice are often exposed to is a pressing need to reduce technical debt. A prospect calls with respect to some software assets that have ceased to perform adequately. What we almost invariably find once we do the Technical Debt Assessment is that over time the client’s codebase got both bloated and spaghetti-like. As a result, the client is struggling with 10M, 20M or 50M lines of tangled code. The combination of size with “spaghetti tangles” renders it hard to effectively adapt the software as in such code even changing/adding a single line of code could require significant integration and regression efforts. The situation is …

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Aug 272013
 
Coherence of Vision

In my recent blog post Choosing Your Point of Organizational Incoherence, I stressed the importance of making a choice on how to deal with systemic incoherence that is beyond your control as a CIO or a CTO. Technology, economy and society are not likely to be aligned anytime soon; emphasis on maximizing shareholders value might make it impossible for you to make certain strategic investments; and, unrealistic expectations about predictability of the software development process might make you want to tear your hair out. True and painful that these three factors and possibly many others might be, you can’t just sit on your hands waiting for all the moons to be aligned. You have to …

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Choosing Your Point of Organizational Incoherence

Much has been written, presented and debated in the past few years on the “right way” for executives and policy makers to reinvigorate companies, markets and economies. The distinguished scholar Carlota Perez suggests fundamental changes to the way growth and prosperity get measured. Along somewhat similar lines, Steven Denning focuses on the damage inflicted through adherence to the tenet of maximizing shareholder’s value. Gary Hammel, elaborating on another thread that Perez touches on, advocates values over value. Last but not the least, Hagel, Brown and Davison emphasize the power of pull for both designing the right system and designing the system right [i]. While the debate spans some topics that are clearly beyond the scope …

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