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Beyond Agile - Doing the right thing in a post-agile world

Beyond Agile - Doing the right thing in a post-agile world

In this slide deck, I try to discuss the question how we can move on from where we are today regarding "Agile". I start with a bit of history, where we are coming from in IT and what were the biggest change drivers regarding software development processes. Based on that I explain why agility is needed and useful and what kind of problem it addresses - or at least should address.

Then I look at the typical "Agile transitions" and what went wrong, resulting in a state where "Agile" processes do not the problems they originally were intended for, but basically are the same old story disguised behind some new terminology.

Based on these observations, I end with a few recommendation how to treat such "Agile" settings a bit differently. First, I discuss what to do if "Agile" is not the right fit for the given problem. And secondly, I share a few ideas how to discuss things differently if you are caught in an "Agile" rat race.

As always the voice track is missing, but I hope that also the slides alone will be useful for you.

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Uwe Friedrichsen

September 26, 2019
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Transcript

  1. Beyond Agile Doing the right thing in a post-agile world

    Uwe Friedrichsen – codecentric AG – 2008-2019
  2. Uwe Friedrichsen CTO @ codecentric https://twitter.com/ufried https://www.speakerdeck.com/ufried https://medium.com/@ufried

  3. Where do we come from?

  4. Rise of software development Software crisis Software engineering Software development

    process Waterfall, V-Model, RUP, … Caused high demand Solve crisis by cost-efficiently scaling software production Virtual equivalent to an assembly line Note that Winston Royce described waterfall as an anti-pattern. Unfortunately, this insight got lost over time …
  5. Over time it became apparent that these approaches were flawed

  6. Source: The CHAOS Report (1994) – The Standish Group

  7. What is the problem?

  8. Perspective #1 Understanding market evolution

  9. Formal part of value creation Solution: machine Dynamic part of

    value creation Solution: man sluggishness/low dynamic high dynamic high dynamic The historical course of market dynamics and the recent rise of highly dynamic and complex markets The dominance of high dynamics and complexity is neither good nor bad. It‘s a historical fact. t 1970/80 today Age of crafts manu- facturing Age of tayloristic industry Age of global markets 1850/1900 Spacious markets, little competition Local markets, high customi- zation Outperformers exercise market pressure over conventional companies We call the graph shown here the “Taylor Bathtub”. The “bathtub” curve Source: BetaCodex Network Associates, “Organize for complexity”, BetaCodex Network White Paper 12 & 13
  10. Key drivers Pre-industrial market • No clear driver • “Whatever

    pays the bill” Industrial market • Cost-efficiency • Scalability • Repeatability • Stability • Efficiency & scale Post-industrial market • Cycle times • Adaptability • Flexibility • Resilience • Effectiveness & speed Certainty Uncertainty
  11. Perspective #2 Understanding IT evolution

  12. 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 Complicated (Business functions)

    Complex (Business processes) Highly complex (Business nervous system) Software crisis Software engineering PC LAN Internet Business Support of IT Selective Holistic Complicated Complex “Moore’s law” Mobile IoT
  13. IT has changed a lot over the decades ...

  14. 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 Complicated (Business functions)

    Complex (Business processes) Highly complex (Business nervous system) Software crisis PC LAN Internet Business Support of IT Selective Holistic Complicated Complex “Moore’s law” Mobile IoT Software engineering ... but still we strive to control our IT of today ... ... based on the concepts we developed for an IT almost 50 years ago
  15. Formal part of value creation Solution: machine Dynamic part of

    value creation Solution: man sluggishness/low dynamic high dynamic high dynamic The historical course of market dynamics and the recent rise of highly dynamic and complex markets The dominance of high dynamics and complexity is neither good nor bad. It‘s a historical fact. t 1970/80 today Age of crafts manu- facturing Age of tayloristic industry Age of global markets 1850/1900 Spacious markets, little competition Local markets, high customi- zation Outperformers exercise market pressure over conventional companies We call the graph shown here the “Taylor Bathtub”. Remember the “bathtub” curve? Source: BetaCodex Network Associates, “Organize for complexity”, BetaCodex Network White Paper 12 & 13
  16. 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 Complicated (Business functions)

    Complex (Business processes) Highly complex (Business nervous system) Software crisis Software engineering PC LAN Internet Business Support of IT Selective Holistic Complicated Complex “Moore’s law” Mobile IoT The business we support with IT today ... ... is very different from the business we supported back then
  17. 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 Complicated (Business functions)

    Complex (Business processes) Highly complex (Business nervous system) Software crisis Software engineering PC LAN Internet Business Support of IT Selective Holistic Complicated Complex “Moore’s law” Mobile IoT Certainty Uncertainty
  18. Perspective #3 Understanding complexity

  19. Cynefin Source: https://cognitive-edge.com/blog/cynefin-as-of-st-davids-day-2019/

  20. • Few linear connections • Easily predictable • Obvious in

    hindsight • Planning not needed • Many linear connections • Predictable beforehand • Understandable in hindsight • Planning essential • Many non-linear connections • Not predictable beforehand • Understandable in hindsight • Only short-term planning useful • Many unknown connections • Not predictable beforehand • Not understandable in hindsight • Planning useless Certainty Uncertainty
  21. What can we learn from it?

  22. Traditional software development approaches assume certainty Under uncertainty they tend

    to work poorly
  23. But over time IT and business evolved into uncertainty

  24. How did people tackle the problem?

  25. The traditional top-down solution approach …

  26. Do more of the proven practices! a.k.a. the one-size-fits-all trap

  27. Made things worse …

  28. The alternative bottom-up solution approach …

  29. Going Agile …

  30. Source: Heart of Agile, https://heartofagile.com/

  31. At least that is how it should be

  32. What actually happened …

  33. Scrum ousted the other agile methods …

  34. … and became a license to print money

  35. Agile became a hype

  36. The velocity promise led the wrong way

  37. Scrum got filled up with “proven” practices

  38. Where are we today?

  39. Agile is everywhere These days the laggards are picking it

    up
  40. Agile is the new “one-size-fits-all” We replaced one one-size-fits-all fallacy

    with a new one
  41. Agile is broken Usually it does not tackle uncertainty, but

    is the same old story in new clothes
  42. Scaling Agile killed the last bit of agility In the

    end, it’s a drug to relieve an industrial company’s yearning for certainty Source: Scaled Agile, Inc., https://www.scaledagileframework.com/
  43. Typical effects

  44. From zero to legacy in just 6 months!

  45. High frustration on all sides due to misaligned expectations

  46. Stressed dev teams with everyone else ignoring them

  47. • IT value chain not accelerated • Uncertainty not tackled

    • Customer expectations not addressed
  48. None
  49. What can we do to fix it?

  50. Going beyond Agile

  51. Accept Agile as what it is and not as what

    you want it to be
  52. Kill the useless cargo cults

  53. Broaden your vision and find the places where Agile is

    not a good fit
  54. Uncertainty Certainty Invent potential new business offerings Grow a successfully

    launched new business offering Explore a potential new business offering Extend/improve an established business offering Create a new digital interaction point for an established business offering Implement new legal regulation Replace system that technologically reached EOL Typical tasks with varying uncertainty
  55. Uncertainty Certainty Task examples with varying uncertainty “Create a better

    world for our children” (vision) Evolution of new Living 360 offering (insurance) Fruits4U (startup) Release of new Warp wireless plans (telecommunications) Subcontractor self-service app OTID (logistics) Implement the new customer documentation law (banking) Replacement of AS/400 based ERP AMS/400 (retailer)
  56. Uncertainty Certainty “Create a better world for our children” (vision)

    Evolution of new Living 360 offering (insurance) Fruits4U (startup) Release of new Warp wireless plans (telecommunications) Subcontractor self-service app OTID (logistics) Implement the new customer documentation law (banking) Replacement of AS/400 based ERP AMS/400 (retailer) What Agile originally was meant for but usually does not address ? What Agile usually is used for ignoring the original ideas What is the point of using Agile here? How do we approach these kinds of tasks best?
  57. Fill the spaces with suitable approaches

  58. Uncertainty Certainty Software development approaches Focus on cost (Waterfall, V-model,

    SAFe, …) Enterprise “Agile” (SCRUM, LeSS, …) Focus on flow (DevOps, Lean, …) Focus on feedback (Developer anarchy, …) Focus on innovation (No software development)
  59. Uncertainty Certainty Software development approaches Cost “Agile” Flow Feedback Innovation

    “Create a better world for our children” (vision) Evolution of new Living 360 offering (insurance) Fruits4U (startup) Release of new Warp wireless plans (telecommunications) Subcontractor self-service app OTID (logistics) Implement the new customer documentation law (banking) Replacement of AS/400 based ERP AMS/400 (retailer)
  60. And if I’m stuck in the Agile fallacy?

  61. It is not about becoming more agile!

  62. What you can do instead …

  63. work = efficacy(money) scope = work * time quality

  64. time = scope * quality efficacy(money) Increase efficacy Limited effect

    Slows down temporarily Reduce quality Default action Makes things worse Reduce scope Usually forgotten Very powerful lever
  65. The biggest lever for more speed is not you running

    a faster rat race but your environment questioning and adjusting their often counter-productive habits
  66. Wrap-up

  67. Wrap-up • Agile usually is not what you think it

    is • Detect it. Accept it. It makes life a lot easier • Not everything needs to be agile • One size does not fit all • Be wary of hypes and silver bullets • Go for what is needed in your situation instead • Dismiss cargo cults
  68. Uwe Friedrichsen CTO @ codecentric https://twitter.com/ufried https://www.speakerdeck.com/ufried https://medium.com/@ufried