Agile Project Management

Cutting-edge Agile methodologies, software development techniques and project management practices.

Sep 242013
Sociocultural Aspects of Software Projects

The desire to be agile has long impacted human behavior. Consider the elite athlete, the army general, the opera singer, the belly dancer, the professional golfer, the heavyweight boxer, the high seas sailor, the commercial pilot, the top-end banker, and even the federal politician — they all love agility, and so do we. Why? Put simply, agility provides the basis for adaptability and change which, in turn, are integral to our survival and growth. The same agility that enables a springbok to outrun a lion or an ant to carry a load more than 20 times its size allows a small start-up in Southern California to prevail against the might of a large, well-established brick-and-mortar Read more

Welcome Aboard, Lynn!

 Posted by on Sep 14, 2013  No Responses »
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 Read more

Sep 062013

  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 Read more

Sep 032013

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 Read more

Sep 022013
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 Read more

Coherence of Vision

 Posted by on Aug 27, 2013  No Responses »
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 Read more

Aug 202013
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 Read more

Jul 162013

An agile enterprise is a flexible, robust organization that is capable of rapid response to unexpected challenges, events, and opportunities. Agile enterprises achieve continuous competitive advantage in serving their customers by following strategies that facilitate speed and change. Enablers of enterprise agility include diffused authority; flat organizational structures; trust-based relationships with customers and suppliers; and, of course, an agile information technology strategy. In this post, I focus on what it takes to have an agile IT strategy. IT departments that are truly agile, or are at least on the path to becoming so, exhibit several key characteristics. First, the majority of their project teams are taking an agile approach to the full delivery lifecycle. This Read more

Jun 202013

The API Economy has exploded. The use of APIs today is so prolific that the number of publicly-exposed APIs has grown exponentially to the tens of thousands, and is expected to increase even further as non Internet-centric companies are starting to realize its business potential. We’re finding that as businesses begin to expose and combine their information resources with those of others to build new and innovative assets, a whole new market of customers becomes available — creating a new channel for businesses to generate revenue and gain a competitive edge. Sounds like a win-win situation — but is it too good to be true? What are the risks of exposing your data assets and Read more

Jun 072013
What’s on Tap for Day 2 of Summit: Executive Education+

The Cutter Summit program includes a mix of keynotes with accompanying panel sessions, case studies, interactive exercises, roundtable discussions, lightning talks, half-day immersion workshops and seminars, and many, many networking opps. The other day I wrote about the keynote and case study that will take place of the first day, Nov 4, of this Fall’s Summit. Today I’ll highlight the “main events” for the second day. (Watch for another post on roundtables and lightning talks.) Israel Gat will kick off the morning, keynoting on the impending explosion of the API economy. Israel is well-known for his expertise on Agile and software/product development governance supported by technical debt assessment and valuation, but he actually spends much Read more