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Re: [XP] Scrum, and Revolution

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  • Steven Gordon
    Tim, You write that when people are really into continual improvement and frequent delivery, scrum is a powerhouse and conclude that We probably need a new
    Message 1 of 167 , Dec 17, 2012
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      Tim,

      You write that "when people are really into continual improvement and
      frequent delivery, scrum is a powerhouse" and conclude that "We probably
      need a new banner to fly over the proven practices. But we need more
      attention to the reason that they work than the mechanics of managing those
      practices."

      What difference does a new banner make when we just focus on the same good
      practices? Most of us fully explain why they work and how to make them
      work, but apparently the message does not come across.

      Agile in a different name would break down in the same way it has now,
      unless we have a remedy for the organizational dysfunctionalities that
      prevent agile from truly being adopted in the later adopters. It is not
      that nobody has explained why it works well enough; it is that either
      nobody knows how to defeat corporate antibodies or we have not teamed up
      with the people who do.

      Unfortunately, rebranding now would work even worse that Agile did. The
      original early adopters of agile would have no reason to adopt what they
      are already doing under a different name, so there will be no momentum to
      get the rebranded movement to the later adopter stages where knowing how to
      defeat the corporate antibodies would make a difference.

      We can continue on the current course and win some individual "battles" in
      the software development arena, but from a global point of view, the state
      of things will not change much. Winning the global "war" can only be
      accomplished in the organizational change arena, not in the software
      development arena.

      Steven Gordon



      On Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 10:51 AM, Tim Ottinger <linux_tim@...> wrote:

      > **
      >
      >
      > > What is there to do except develop the silver bullet for software
      > > development?
      >
      > I don't know that a revolutionary method is necessary, but I agree that
      > "compliance scrum" is not getting us where we want to go.
      >
      > When I spoke at the Canterbury Software Summit in New Zealand, in the time
      > the prior presenter left me (it was a good talk, but I trimmed 1/3 out of
      > my talk to fit the clock), I said what I believe to be the case: agile
      > practices don't work because they are agile; agile works because the
      > practices work.
      >
      > We tap into a well of real power when we do the things that really work
      > (and not the things that seem like good ideas). For instance, when people
      > are really into continual improvement and frequent delivery, scrum is a
      > powerhouse. When they are not, then scrum piddles about making some changes
      > and maybe even helping to improve things a little bit over the course of
      > months/years.
      >
      > The trouble that a lot of companies have is:
      > * they blame the problems of the system on the citizens of the system ("we
      > need better minions")
      > * the successful citizens of the system (typically managers & architects)
      > refuse to change it
      >
      > * they demand a positive balance of devotion and commitment in their favor
      > * they expect minions to produce more by sheer willpower and application
      > of elbow-grease
      >
      > Agile (including scrum) originally was putting things right again, using
      > feedback and team decision making and safe technical practices.
      >
      > Where scrum (often called "agile") goes wrong is with taking ceremonies
      > that belong to the new system and bolting them to the old.
      >
      > Certainly, a resurgence of the values won't "take" under the banner of the
      > same groups who downgraded them.
      >
      > We probably need a new banner to fly over the proven practices. But we
      > need more attention to the reason that they work than the mechanics of
      > managing those practices.
      >
      >
      > Tim Ottinger <tottinge@...>
      > http://industriallogic.com/
      > http://agileotter.blogspot.com/
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Tom Rossen
      Rob, Thanks for your kind offer. I am currently gainfully employed - until Feb. 2, when my current contract runs out. Northern Trust renewed it as many times
      Message 167 of 167 , Dec 30, 2012
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        Rob,

        Thanks for your kind offer. I am currently gainfully employed - until Feb.
        2, when my current contract runs out. Northern Trust renewed it as many
        times as they could, but there's a hard limit of 1.5 years.

        Re the high-performing teams: it's funny, but I really think I prefer
        working with an organization that's struggling with Agile. I'm extremely
        curious as to why XP practices, which seemed so obvious and satisfying when
        I first read Kent Beck's book years ago, are so frustrating for developers
        and managers who aren't used to them and didn't volunteer for them. I was
        rather seriously burned on my previous engagement when the company was
        acquired by a conglomerate and the policy of openness to Agile suddenly
        evaporated, so my insistence on TDD - which no longer seems as doomed as it
        would have been just a year ago, based on what I'm seeing now in the
        Chicago area - is protection against that sort of thing.

        So I'm curious about the high-performing teams you mention - at least in
        the Chicago area: I don't intend to relocate or commute a long distance (I
        worked in Madison, WI for several years after the dot-com-bomb wiped out
        the Chicago market - not a fun commute).

        Tom


        On Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 2:30 PM, Rob Myers <rob.myers@...>wrote:

        > **
        >
        >
        > Tom,
        >
        > Thanks for the supportive reply!
        >
        >
        > > 35 years in my case, and amen! Here's a snippet from the cover letter
        > I've
        > > been sending out recently:
        >
        > Tom, if you are not currently gainfully employed, I can point you to a few
        > truly high-performing teams across the country. They are in the minority,
        > as most software/IT organizations struggle to change those
        > command-and-control cultures, and to foster passion and creativity in both
        > Product and Development areas.
        >
        > > *I just thought of an analogy to explain why I am so single-minded about
        >
        > > TDD. Suppose you need an operation and you're looking for a hospital to
        > do
        > > it. A major hospital sends you a wonderful brochure explaining how
        > > successful they are, what a high-tech surgical suite they have,, etc.,
        > etc.
        > > But when you call up and ask them whether the surgeons wash their hands
        > > before operating, they say, "Why would we want to do that?" Oh yes,
        > > surgery was practiced for centuries before surgeons ever scrubbed up -
        > it's
        > > a great tradition. But I don't think you'd want to have anything to do
        > with
        > > a hospital like that. That's how I feel about TDD. It's a matter of
        > > funda**mental
        > > software hygiene. *
        >
        > It's a perfect analogy. Scott Bain uses this in his book /Emergent Design/
        > as one example of how software development is similar to surgery. (Aside:
        > Apologies if I popped an original-idea bubble: So often I find I think of
        > something original, only to spot it in a blog post the next day. It's the
        > Newton-Leibniz Effect ;-) The medical field provides an analogy that gets
        > us much farther than bridge-building. Of course, no analogy is perfect, but
        > I often find myself thinking "Doctor, it hurts when I do *this*!" ;-)
        >
        > Happy Holidays!
        >
        >
        > Rob
        >
        > Rob.Myers@...
        > Twitter: @agilecoach
        > http://www.agileInstitute.com/
        >
        >
        >


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