May 212011

Dispatched to Saigon in 1963, a fact finding mission reported back to Washington in two voices. The military envoy was quite optimistic on the prospects for success in Vietnam. In contrast, his counterpart from the state department was very pessimistic. Puzzled by the variance between the two reports, JFK inquired “You two did visit the same country, didn’t you?”

A variant of the question often comes to my mind during the interviews I do in preparation for my executive workshops. The variance between what I hear from one exec versus what I hear from another makes me wonder whether the two are actually working for the same company. For example, the past week an interviewee from a company that committed itself to Agile told me point blank:

Bottom line: I don’t think Agile is the global solution to our issues, without interrogating all the other factors that will make us successful.

This executive was not negative, not at all.  He actually leveled with me, reflecting on the out-of-alignment situation between R&D and the business. While the client has been making good progress on the nuts and bolts of Agile, the modus for end-to-end Agile has not yet been firmed up. Hence, the VP of R&D and the business executive whom I was interviewing are experiencing very different realities.

If your Agile roll-out exhibits similar variances, you owe to yourself to attend the Agile Executive Forum which will be held at the same time and place as the Agile2011 conference (August 8 in Salt Lake City). We [1] are organizing the forum to bridge the chasm between R&D and the business, to explore how Agile as a software method could be and should be integrated in the process fabric of your company.

I can’t give you a money back guarantee on the registration fee. However, if you are in R&D I can guarantee you will understand the business ramifications of Agile. And, if you are on the business side, I can guarantee you will grasp why Agile software methods are critical to your success.

More importantly, perhaps, I can guarantee that next time you have a heated debate on Agile with one of your colleagues in front of your CEO, he/she will not wonder whether the two of you work for the same company.


[1] Phil Brock, Linda Cook, Jim Highsmith, Erik Huddleston, Maxwell Keeler, Robbie Mac Iver, Pat Reed, Lisa Shoop and me.


Israel Gat

Israel Gat served as Cutter Fellow and the Director of the Agile Product Management & Software Engineering Excellence practice from 2008 until 2015.


  One Response to ““You two did visit the same country, didn’t you?””

  1. Perfect! Hits the target on center.

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