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RE: [XP] Can one become "Too agile"?

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  • kentb
    Lior, Yes and no. From a theoretical point of view, if you control a system more frequently than its inputs change you can get oscillations--think of someone
    Message 1 of 89 , Dec 1, 2008
      Lior,

      Yes and no. From a theoretical point of view, if you control a system more
      frequently than its inputs change you can get oscillations--think of someone
      who raises the temperature on a thermostat once a minute even though the
      room takes ten minutes to heat up. Then the room is too hot and they open a
      window, then two, then three, then...

      I've seen teams do this--mid-week plan changes even though no new
      information has arrived. When I'm doing this the first thing I do is take a
      moment to laugh at myself, then I slow the rate of inputs or raise the
      frequency of feedback until they match, then resume shrinking them together.
      If working with an external customer, I might say, "These midweek changes
      seem to be doing more harm than good. They disrupt development and damage
      morale because people can see that the results of the change aren't used for
      another month. We want to be responsive. Can we add a To Be Estimated place
      on the board that we will make sure is clear at the end of every day?"

      Now, is the team "too agile", as in "would they produce more if they were
      less responsive"? Not the way I look at it. The problem is not caused by the
      team's responsiveness, but by the mismatch between the planning cycle and
      the feedback cycle. Getting to a productive rhythm is better done by taking
      a step back and looking at the whole system rather than gruffly saying, "No
      more midweek changes. Period."

      Regards,

      Kent Beck
      Three Rivers Institute

      _____

      From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Lior Friedman
      Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 3:31 PM
      To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [XP] Can one become "Too agile"?



      Hi all,

      I know its vague, but I would like to hear what people think.

      Can a company become to agile for its own good?

      If you think the answer is yes, do you have any specific examples?

      Lior Friedman
      Email: lfriedmal@gmail. <mailto:lfriedmal%40gmail.com> com
      <mailto:lior@typemock. <mailto:lior%40typemock.com> com>

      Blog - http://imistaken. <http://imistaken.blogspot.com> blogspot.com
      <http://imistaken. <http://imistaken.blogspot.com/> blogspot.com/>

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      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • John Levy
      Lior-- [this is late, but...] There is another word for the type of agility you describe: lability. This is used in chemistry to describe molecules that
      Message 89 of 89 , Jan 23, 2009
        Lior--

        [this is late, but...]

        There is another word for the type of "agility" you describe:
        lability. This is used in chemistry to describe molecules that easily
        detach and re-form in different combinations. Also in psychology for
        easily-changing moods.

        What you observed sounds like a labile organization that is not
        achieving what the Agile principles are all about: business value
        delivered in spite of changing external conditions. One of the
        metrics I use for agile teams is related to stability of the team
        itself. Perhaps there should be another for stability of the business
        plans as reflected in the release plans and other business objectives.

        Sounds to me as if some of the business managers need a wake up call
        or knock on the head. Yes, they are too labile ("agile").

        --John
        -----
        John Levy, PhD
        415 663-1818
        info@...


        Managing product development for speed and innovation

        http://johnlevyconsulting.com


        On Dec 2, 2008, at 3:31 PM, extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com wrote:

        > 1.2. Re: Can one become "Too agile"?
        > Posted by: "Lior Friedman" lfriedmal@... friedmanlior
        > Date: Tue Dec 2, 2008 2:14 am ((PST))
        >
        > Hi Charlie,
        >
        >
        >
        > Yes if you take Agile to mean delivering value then I guess one can't
        > deliver "too much" value
        >
        > What I meant at the time was agile in the regular sense of the word.
        >
        >
        >
        > What I saw is someone taking the "embrace change" part one step too
        > far.
        >
        > Too far in the sense that release plans and work plans were changing
        > so fast
        > that trying to develop was becoming very hard.
        >
        > It was hard keeping the scope of an iteration constant until its
        > end, and we
        > were doing 1 week iterations.
        >
        > Release themes were changing so fast that we felt we didn't have a
        > change to
        > follow through on some ideas, making real progress hard to achieve.
        >
        >
        >
        > Another manifestation of the same problem become the ever changing
        > structure
        > of the teams, teams were forming and dissolving way too fast for my
        > taste
        > giving everyone the feeling of instability.
        >
        >
        >
        > I know that agile is all about change and I do think a team should be
        > prepared for making changes, but still in my opinion no matter what
        > you do
        > change (in most cases) does not come at zero cost,
        >
        > and if one keeps on changing too fast you end up paying that cost
        > without
        > delivering real value.
        >
        >
        >
        > So coming back to my original question,
        >
        > I guess I was aiming at knowing how can agile practices (and maybe
        > principles) can be taken to the point in which they doing more
        > damage than
        > good.
        >
        >
        >
        > Hope this clears things a little
        >
        > Lior
        >
        >



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