Of the four agile values, this is probably the least understood and most often misinterpreted. It certainly does not say that there should be no documentation as some (the less ambitious developers and teams) propose. It says that there is more value to actual software than comprehensive documentation.
I am pleased to announce that my first book, Understanding the Agile Manifesto: A Brief & Bold Guide to Agile is now available as a podcast. Over the next few days / weeks I will be releasing the book, chapter by chapter, on this website and through the iTunes store under my “Agile Doctor” podcast.
So when my friend mentioned that a good indicator for agile transformation success was a company had hit rock bottom I knew exactly what he was referring to. In this particular case he used the examples of the FBI Sentinel Project and Healthcare.gov website debacle. In both cases, it wasn’t until each was a total disaster that Agile was actually tried with any seriousness and rigor and in both cases the results were amazing.
I am often faced with explaining the various aspects of Agile to people new to Agile and I have come up with a very simple way to remember (and explain) Agile. I present to you now the “3Ps of Agile Software Development” with the hope you find this useful to your own understanding and an aid in your ability to explain Agile to others.
This particular problem manifests when a company desires the potential benefits of Scrum without really understanding Scrum. Without a good understanding, people attempt to map their existing roles with those of Scrum. Let me make one thing perfectly clear. The role of Scrum Master is unique to Scrum and any attempt to map it to existing roles will only result in confusion, frustration and less than optimal outcomes.
When trying to get waterfall teams and organizations to move to a more Agile development methodology there are two training strategies – philosophy and practice.
The philosophical approach relies on teaching the history of software development and the philosophy behind Agile – the manifesto and principles. This approach assumes that as long as one is equipped with the proper overriding principles then one will be able to make the correct decisions as challenges occur.
The practice strategy relies heavily on training the ceremonies, especially scrum ceremonies like standups, retrospectives, reviews, etc. This approach assumes that if you do the rights things that overtime the reasons for the practices will become apparent.
Continue reading Philosophy Versus Practice →
I entered my previous post on the subject when I had just begun Taleb’s book Antifragile. As I continue my reading I have run into some very specific passages which lead me to theorize that the reason Agile development works so well is that it is a living, breathing example of what Taleb would call “Antifragile.” I am also coming to the conclusion that Taleb is a truly great contemporary thinker. As I examine my own career, I plan to take to heart many of his suggestions on creating one that is Antifragile.
While I am no in any way paid to sell this book, I encourage all Agile folks to highly consider adding this to their reading list.
Continue reading Agile = Antifragile Part 2 →
I am currently reading the book Antifragile: Things that Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I loved two of his other books, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable and Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets so I thought that I would give this one a go.
His central thesis is that there are systems that are not only robust, able to withstand randomness and chaos, but there are those that actually thrive on such events. He calls these “antifragile” as opposed to fragile systems.
Continue reading Agile = Antifragile? →
I gave the Larry’s Top Ten Agile and Scrum Myths talk to the Java Users’ Group in Phoenix recently and … More Larry's Top Ten Agile and Scrum Myths →
In Daniel Pink’s bestseller Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, the author persuasively argues that what motivates people in the knowledge economy (of which software development is squarely seated) “is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world. ”
People are no longer motivated by the carrot and stick approach of past Tayloristic, manufacturing, assembly line business. What motivates new workers, and what has been supported by a wide range of scientific studies, can be summarized by the acronym AMP which stands for Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.
As an Agilist, I am always curious why in one company an Agile implementation succeeds and in another it does not. While there are many reasons for Agile implementations to fail, one thing that many have in common is that they fail to take into account the three factors Pink describes in his book.
Continue reading Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us and Why Agile Works →