Sep 112012
Be the Management You Want to Change — An Open Letter to Agilists

Dear Agilist, Everywhere I go I hear the same thing: “Culture and management are the major impediments to enterprise agile adoption.” Indeed, hundreds of us recently sought out the annual industry conference presentations and panels on how to change management — and culture — to facilitate the agile organization. I propose you and I stop hoping for management to change. Instead, why don’t we become the change we want management to be? That’s right, become a manager! Why the heck not? Here’s my reasoning. If you are skilled in the disciplines of: Prioritizing based on value, quality, and risk reduction Self-organizing cross-functional teamwork Transparent communication Making work visible Limiting work in process Feedback loops for sensing Read more

Sep 092012

I have two purposes in mind writing this blog post: Bring to your attention a new Santa Fe Institute paper on technological progress. I consider it quite a remarkable paper. Provide guidance as to applying the findings reported in this paper. Bela Nagy et al have recently published a working paper entitled Statistical Basis for Predicting Technological Progress. Numerous intriguing observations are made in this paper, including the following comparison between Moore’s Law and Wright’s law: We discover a previously unobserved regularity that production tends to increase exponentially. A combination of exponential decrease in cost and an exponential increase in production would make Moore’s law and Wright’s law indistinguishable, as originally pointed out by Sahal. Read more

Sep 082012

As we all know, Abraham Lincoln was largely self-taught in the midst of meager means and living on the frontier in Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, far from centers of learning and culture east of the Appalachians. For him, the book represented the path, and he sought them with great effort. As president he sought books on military matters during the Civil War in order to educate himself. As a result of his own drive and intellect, Lincoln emerged as a very capable, if not supremely capable military strategist. It is illustrative to learn how far one person can advance themselves by reading. The bibliography of Lincoln’s reading is noteworthy since it reveals his penchant for Read more

Sep 072012
Finding Peace via IT Governance

Good IT governance promotes balance across time-to-delivery, portfolio effectiveness, overall IT responsiveness and affordability. Without good governance, the IT playing field quickly becomes fragmented and fraught with frustration for all players — IT professionals on one side and countless business professionals on the other. And while it’s true that both sides have a role in the process, it’s unlikely that any of the stakeholders fully understands the others’ focus. In this table, I’ve charted a way for both the demand- and supply-sides to understand governance processes and tools.   Demand Side Governance Process Supply Side User requirements and expectations Service-level definition and monitoring, funding mechanisms IT service delivery performance Applications required and used by organization Read more

Pursuing Velocity

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Sep 052012
Pursuing Velocity

In my recent Cutter Advisor “Reassessing Your Software Process,” I tried to shed light on the relative velocity of an in-house process v. that of related processes in the market. I stressed that I actually perceive the two as “twins” that can’t really be separated as they mutually affect each other. Furthermore, I expressed my conviction that the boundary between the firm and the market shifts nowadays not “only” as a function of cost of transactions[1], but as a function of the disparity in velocity of the software process inside the firm versus the velocity of related processes in the market. In response to my advisor, Peggy Drew, an Agile Program Manager with Omgeo, wrote Read more

Aug 282012
Lessons from the Olympics on Stakeholder Management

The 2012 Summer Olympics, officially “The Games of the XXX Olympiad” (I don’t want the IOC branding police after me), have finally concluded, but the buzz about NBC’s coverage in the US still goes on. It all started during the opening ceremonies when the Twitterverse went crazy over the fact that the Games were not being broadcast live here in the US, but rather were delayed at least five hours. Now, I think there is plenty of room for dissatisfaction with NBC’s coverage. The inane blabber from the announcers comes immediately to mind. And if you wanted to see something other than gymnastics, swimming, track, or volleyball, you were pretty much out of luck. (There Read more

Aug 152012

For those not familiar with the structure of subways, the third rail is the one that carries the power for the trains. Under no circumstances do you ever want to touch it. The phrase “third rail” has made its way into political discourse as a description of a “no-win” issue — something that should be avoided at all costs. In corporate IT, email and the increasingly sophisticated messaging structure that supports it are third rail issues. As I said, the third rail is what carries the power to a subway train or electrified rapid transit. Should you be so unlucky as to find yourself on one of those tracks, it’s safe to touch the two Read more

Aug 022012
Test-Driven Business: The Myth of Planning

In my first post in the Test-Driven Business (TDB) series, I took the liberty of being a little provocative, placing Planning after Ideation and Implementation as one possible way in which the three phases could be sequenced. This arrangement is illustrated in Figure 1. Figure 1: Cultivation Culture Obviously, Planning could precede Implementation and it might precede Ideation. The reason for my provisionally placing it last was to draw attention to the complicated interrelationship between the three phases, to the fact that in today’s markets linear order between the three can’t really be taken for granted. As a matter of fact, I would contend that sharp scholars have been observing that the order is not necessarily Read more

Aug 012012

August has officially arrived, which means the annual Agile conference is just two short weeks away. Whether you’re doing Agile, thinking about doing Agile, or are a leading Agile thinker, you’re aware of this event. This year’s conference, Agile2012, is headed to Dallas, Texas. The weather promises to be about 100°, so don’t forget to bring your hat and sun block (under 3.4 ounces if you’re carrying on)! I’m pleased to report that eight members of the Cutter Consortium Agile team are presenting at Agile2012. Led by Dr. Israel Gat, Director of our Agile Practice, Cutter’s team is ready to help you make the most of your Agile2012 experience. Dr. Gat’s “No Bull Know How” Read more

Aug 012012

Is there something intrinsically incompatible between Agile and CMMI that will forever keep this conversation burning? This always heated debate hasn’t lost its steam yet. But maybe it should. Instead of focusing on “why or why not” – let’s focus instead on “how” Agile and CMMI can work together to effect successful software projects. The upcoming Cutter IT Journal with Guest Editor Hillel Glazer seeks practical advice and insight on how to improve the understanding and compatibility between Agile and CMMI. How can Agile or CMMI as products and services — provided via training or education — contribute to fanning or resolving the conversation? Or is there a viable reason they should part ways? Let Read more