Leading from Within Israel Gat January 13, 2009
The 2004-2008 Agile Transformation at BMC Software
"In late 2004, BMC was the antithesis of Agile. Teams created detailed requirement specs, large functional specs and huge design specs. Releases were lengthy, often late and typically had less than originally promised. Then a perfect storm of events came along: a project was created to move a large customer base to the next generation product, huge expense pressures resulted in a shrinking workforce and a new VP (Israel Gat) joined with the idea of taking a different approach. By 2008, BMC had over 1000 people doing Agile. Releases were quicker, of higher value and quality and were done with fewer resources. This is their story.”
[ Walter Bodwell's abstract for the 2/5/2009 Agile Austin presentation ]
Precious little training done for quite a few years
I understood the technical debt problem in a fairly deep manner
Had a lot of latitude
Trusted by my boss and her boss
Had previous experience doing Scrum
I was clear in my thinking on the subject
Clarity of Thinking: Sustainable Process Improvement versus Balancing the Books
"... a business organization cannot improve its long-run financial results by working to improve its financial results. But the only way to ensure satisfactory and stable long-term financial results is to work on improving the system from which those results emerge.”
[H. Thomas Johnson, Manage a Living System, Not a Ledger ]
"Unfortunately, focusing directly on lowering costs does not necessarily have the benefit of improving quality or speed. In fact, it typically works the other way."
[Shalloway, Beaver, and Trott, Lean Software Development: Scaling Agile to the Enterprise]
“ For me the success of the release was closely managed from day 1 in the Release Planning meeting when the senior management told those product teams with low confidence level in their plans to not forcefully fit requirements into the fixed schedule.”
What it aspired to accomplish:
N/A - defining moment presented itself
Where it led:
We crossed the line between "Oh, a new half baked executive fad" to "They really walk the talk"
“ Working with the agile teams at BMC those last two years were some of the most rewarding in my career because of the sense of purpose, direction and camaraderie that the process instilled in everyone.”
› “ If we used waterfall on BPM, we would still be in development. We would likely be cutting features right and left to try to bring the date back in. Changes requested along the way by the solutions teams would have been pushed back on rather than embraced. ”
›› “ The team has to continuously improve the Agile process, or the temptation to become rigid and staged will creep back into the processes.”
› “ The change you brought to BMC with Agile is the single largest change to the development model that I have ever witnessed in my almost 20 years at BMC."