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Re: [XP] Re: A trend in career creation?

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  • D.André Dhondt
    On Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 4:43 PM, Chris Wheeler
    Message 1 of 18 , Nov 6, 2010
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      On Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 4:43 PM, Chris Wheeler <christopher.wheeler@...
      > wrote:

      > I feel as though some have not taken the time to acquire the hard skills
      > necessary to work on an actual XP/Agile
      > team.
      >

      It's hard to develop the soft skills necessary to coach an agile team. I've
      (mostly) stopped working on my technical skills to focus on the soft
      skills--and it's made a big difference in my ability to coach teams.


      > I could get past the hard skills thing if there was real evidence that the
      > practitioners were true 'change agents'.
      >

      What's evidence? My job is to work myself out of a job, to get the team to
      the point that they say, in Lao-tsu's words, "we did it ourselves".

      I call myself a coach, or a facilitator. My business card says "Don't teams
      gel themselves? Dhondt teams do!"

      This is a tall claim, and I think it's the same attitude that you're
      against. So tell me more.

      --
      D. André Dhondt
      mobile: 215-805-0819
      skype: d.andre.dhondt
      twitter: adhondt http://dhondtsayitsagile.blogspot.com/

      Support low-cost conferences -- http://AgileTour.org/
      If you're in the area, join Agile Philly http://www.AgilePhilly.com


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Tim Ottinger
      I had a marketer tell me that his company was in the thought leadership business. I asked them if they actually did some work, too, and what kind of work it
      Message 2 of 18 , Nov 6, 2010
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        I had a marketer tell me that his company was in the thought leadership
        business.

        I asked them if they actually did some work, too, and what kind of work it was.
        Do people pay you just to be smart? I doubt it.

        I'm going to go change my title to "Executive Senior Melismatic Euphonia
        Manager"
        which would secretly mean "I turn off the radio when a pop diva comes on."

        Tim Ottinger
        http://agileinaflash.blogspot.com/
        http://agileotter.blogspot.com/



        ----- Original Message ----
        > From: Kay <tranzpupy@...>
        > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Wed, November 3, 2010 3:09:10 PM
        > Subject: [XP] Re: A trend in career creation?
        >
        > Chris Wheeler wrote:
        >
        > > Has anyone else noticed this, and is anyone else a little annoyed by it?
        >
        > Yes, and somewhat.
        > But times is hard, and we do what we can. <grin>
        >
        > I'm bothered by the loose use of the word agile. I'm in the Washington, DC
        >area, and I have friends who work for the feds, in one way or another. Most
        >people who use the word "agile" haven't the foggiest idea what it is. Mostly
        >they really mean they don't do documentation.
        >
        > This in spite of visits by Scott Ambler, Uncle Bob, and various other
        >gen-u-wine agilista's.
        >
        > One friend who works with a lot of various programmers and programming
        >companies says most of them just want to "get the s*t out the door and make
        >money." Which is not a very agile attitude IMHO.
        >
        > Are you noticing the "soft titles" because you're hiring? Or for some other
        >reason?
        >
        > I'm curious why the titles bother you? Is it because it looks to you like
        >they have no *real* hard skills? Or another reason?
        >
        >
        > I think your being a little annoyed is perfect valid... I'm just curious about
        >your reasons.
        >
        > Kay P
        >
        >
        > --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Chris Wheeler
        ><christopher.wheeler@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > All,
        > >
        > > Lately I've come across a number of people on the interweb who mix a number
        > > of buzz words together in order to create some title, and then create
        > > websites/linkedin profiles that are even more bizarre. For example, I've
        > > seen the titles "Agile Change Agent", "Community Change Wizard", and "Agile
        > > Change Evangilista", all coupled with claims that they "foster", or
        > > "cultivate" or "embrace" some type of soft-skill-can't-put-a-finger-on-it
        > > nonsense.
        > >
        > > What the hell is going on?
        > >
        > > This sounds a lot like "I don't have a real job, so I'll give my self a
        > > title and make nebulous claims that are obliquely attached to something
        that
        > > is trendy".
        > >
        > > Has anyone else noticed this, and is anyone else a little annoyed by it?
        > >
        > > Chris.
        > >
        >
        >
        >
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      • Chris Wheeler
        ... Andre, tell me, do you make claims that you can change entire organizations? That s where my beef lies - coaches, team members, or anyone, who ve coached
        Message 3 of 18 , Nov 6, 2010
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          On Sat, Nov 6, 2010 at 3:55 PM, D.André Dhondt <d.andre.dhondt@...>wrote:

          > > I could get past the hard skills thing if there was real evidence that
          > the
          > > practitioners were true 'change agents'.
          > >
          >
          > What's evidence? My job is to work myself out of a job, to get the team to
          > the point that they say, in Lao-tsu's words, "we did it ourselves".
          >
          > I call myself a coach, or a facilitator. My business card says "Don't
          > teams
          > gel themselves? Dhondt teams do!"
          >


          Andre, tell me, do you make claims that you can change entire
          organizations? That's where my beef lies - coaches, team members, or
          anyone, who've coached a team once or twice (or never), or maybe
          participated on an agile project, did the typical, "Wow, this must work
          everywhere", and presto-change-o, suddenly they are branding themselves as
          an Organizational Change Master with really no experience outside of the
          realm of creating a software product.

          As for evidence - if you claim to be a change agent, tell me what you've
          changed and how it impacted a company's bottom line. Forget weasel words
          like 'embrace' and 'foster'. Say things like, "Did X, got Y" In other words,
          come to the Show-Me Show with a bit more than an airy title and a loving
          embrace.

          Chris.


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • D.André Dhondt
          On Sat, Nov 6, 2010 at 11:11 PM, Chris Wheeler
          Message 4 of 18 , Nov 7, 2010
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            On Sat, Nov 6, 2010 at 11:11 PM, Chris Wheeler <
            christopher.wheeler@...> wrote:

            > Andre, tell me, do you make claims that you can change entire
            > organizations?
            >

            Not that I recall--though I have changed _small_ organizations--less than 30
            people. I guess the thing is it's hard to say what I might be able to do in
            a new organization--it really depends on who is there and what is going on.


            > ..."Wow, this must work everywhere"
            >

            It's probably a common fallacy--after we 'get it' in one context, we tend to
            think we can do that again. I've tried and failed to change certain things
            in some organizations. It was humbling--not sure if I learned my lesson
            enough, I'm still pretty confident I can bring about change in other
            organizations--but I also can see things I can't change.


            > As for evidence - if you claim to be a change agent, tell me what you've
            > changed and how it impacted a company's bottom line.
            >

            Could I measure it in decreased cycle time? I moved multiple teams down more
            than 50%... but then again, as I said before, they 'did it themselves'.


            --
            D. André Dhondt
            mobile: 215-805-0819
            skype: d.andre.dhondt
            twitter: adhondt http://dhondtsayitsagile.blogspot.com/

            Support low-cost conferences -- http://AgileTour.org/
            If you're in the area, join Agile Philly http://www.AgilePhilly.com


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Charlie Poole
            ... This is always the case. No outsider can change an organization. Only people in that organization can change and the aggregate of all those changes is
            Message 5 of 18 , Nov 7, 2010
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              On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 6:21 AM, D.André Dhondt <d.andre.dhondt@...> wrote:
              > I moved multiple teams down more
              > than 50%... but then again, as I said before, they 'did it themselves'.

              This is always the case. No outsider can "change an organization."
              Only people in
              that organization can change and the aggregate of all those changes is what we
              generally refer to as organizational change.

              I offer myself as someone who can *help* folks who are trying to
              change. Claiming
              to do more than that is false advertising - no matter who says it.

              Even managers can't change the organizations they "control." All they
              get to change
              is there own behavior, using feedback from other organizational
              members to modify
              that behavior further. In most of my engagements, I arrange to have
              access to managers
              at least a few levels above the team. I try to stress the limitations
              of the "managing"
              role in introducing change. Mostly, they aren't surprised at this -
              good managers usually
              have a good understanding of the limits of management.

              Charlie
            • Kay
              Hi, Chris, Sorry for the delay in responding. ... Yes, I had much the same experience when I was taking care of my 92-year-old aunt... I got a different
              Message 6 of 18 , Nov 8, 2010
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                Hi, Chris,

                Sorry for the delay in responding.

                --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Chris Wheeler <christopher.wheeler@...> wrote:
                >
                > On Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 4:09 PM, Kay <tranzpupy@...> wrote:
                >
                > >
                > > Are you noticing the "soft titles" because you're hiring? Or for some
                > > other reason?
                > >
                >
                > Not because I'm hiring. Though I don't actively participate in software
                > development anymore, I do check in on the 'state of the art' from time to
                > time, with agile/xp holding a special place in my heart. Checking in,
                > informally, from time to time, gives me different perspective than when I
                > used to be in the thick of it all; I can see how the field is moving now,
                > better than I could before.

                Yes, I had much the same experience when I was taking care of my 92-year-old aunt... I got a different experience of the whole extreme programing / agile concept.

                >
                >
                > >
                > > I'm curious why the titles bother you? Is it because it looks to you like
                > > they have no *real* hard skills? Or another reason?
                > >
                >
                > Fair question. It's a mix of things. I feel as though some have not taken
                > the time to acquire the hard skills necessary to work on an actual XP/Agile
                > team. For me, and this is my own problem, I suppose, acquiring some time in
                > the trench makes one seem more legitimate as a practitioner. Perhaps it's
                > because I acquired my own skills working on agile teams in the olden days.
                > Maybe there is a better way to do it nowadays.
                >
                > I could get past the hard skills thing if there was real evidence that the
                > practitioners were true 'change agents'. When one works on an agile team,
                > you definitely feel differently, the environment is different, you act
                > differently, you feel more productive, more alive. However, experiencing
                > that doesn't make one an expert at creating that type of setting. Nor does
                > it make one an expert at changing corporate culture. I dare say that one
                > can't coach a team and truthfully call oneself a change agent unless that
                > person has spent a considerable amount of time making change happen, and can
                > point to the change that has happened.

                Thank you for telling me this.

                >
                > What I think happens is that, as people are exposed to Agile/XP, they see
                > the soft side and say 'Hey, I can do that', without actually knowing what
                > 'that' entails. And then they give themselves a fancy title, sort of like
                > 'Community ChangeMaster Agent', use some fluffy 'I empower teams to change'
                > words, and away they go!
                >
                > I guess, too, I see my beloved Agile/XP graduating into that realm where
                > everyone who's every seen a unit test gets to hang their own shingle,
                > without really knowing what they are doing or without having an appreciation
                > for how hard 'change' can be, and without realizing that companies don't
                > explicitly want change, they explicitly want results.
                >
                > So, somewhere in that ramble, I hope I've explained my annoyance.

                Yes, you definitely did. I agree on the growing fuzzyness of agile...
                That worries me, too.

                Incidentally, I don't claim to be an "change agent" by any other name. I'm a VB.Net programmer (nowadays, that's being a C# programmer, too) who just wants to work, just wants to create software, and would love to work on an XP team...

                Kay P
              • Lior Friedman
                Hi All, I m looking for more ideas about how to split a big epic that is aimed at improving performance of a system. Currently the system is compose of 3
                Message 7 of 18 , Nov 9, 2010
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                  Hi All,



                  I'm looking for more ideas about how to split a big epic that is aimed at
                  improving performance of a system.



                  Currently the system is compose of 3 levels. The low level is composed from
                  many agent gathering data sending it the second level to be processed on
                  dedicated servers. Most of the business logic is done on those servers which
                  includes some heavy processing. The results are than stored and are accessed
                  by the higher level which is in charge of some final processing and user
                  interaction.

                  Currently it appears that the second layer is doing too much and each server
                  can handle up to about 10 agents.



                  The epic goal is to improve on that achieving a ratio of 1:100, cutting down
                  costs etc etc.



                  According to the technical guys, local kind of optimizations while will most
                  likely will improve the situation are probably going to fall short in
                  reaching the 1:100 goal

                  However they have an idea on how to achieve that, but it require a big
                  changes to the system (architectural changes) that most likely will take a
                  few months to be completely finished.

                  Question is how to approach the splitting of the epic into smaller stories
                  which can fit inside an iteration and still make sense from the business
                  side.



                  Any suggestions?





                  Lior Friedman





                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • JeffGrigg
                  ... Because the interaction of agent and server levels is not directly visible to the users, and the issue is performance, the business-observable results of
                  Message 8 of 18 , Nov 10, 2010
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                    --- "Lior Friedman" <lfriedmal@...> wrote:
                    > [...] many agent gathering data sending it the second level
                    > to be processed on dedicated servers. [...]
                    >
                    > [...] it require a big changes to the system (architectural
                    > changes) that most likely will take a few months [...]
                    >
                    > Question is how to approach the splitting of the epic into
                    > smaller stories which can fit inside an iteration and still
                    > make sense from the business side.

                    Because the interaction of agent and server levels is not directly visible to the users, and the issue is performance, the business-observable results of the whole effort will be (1) reduced latency before updated data is visible and (2) reduced hardware and support costs (number of servers) for a given number of agents. So those are the results you'd like to see, incrementally, in intermediate iterations.

                    If the agents send more than one kind of message to the server, then this suggests optimizing each message type independently, each in its own iteration. Most expensive CPU first.

                    If it's more monolithic, then work on separating the server logic into layers and moving the layers to the client.

                    (If you don't have it already, you will probably want to have an application library of code shared between the agents and servers, so that they can both use the same business logic.)

                    During the transition period, the communication layer between the agents and server may need to be more flexible: It may need to handle messages of different layers of abstraction while logic moves from server to agent. It will need to change, possibly in significant ways, as layers of logic move from server to agent -- moving the communication layer up in the stack of business logic.

                    I suggest doing brainstorming with the team. Openly consider silly, impractical and impossible options, as these may inspire someone with an idea that might turn out to work quite well.
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