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Agile Schmagile -- Jon Kern
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Agile Schmagile -- Jon Kern

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It would seem that Agile isn’t the foolproof silver bullet that we said it would be! Oh, wait. We never said that. Let me re-phrase this a bit. Ahem. Ok, so not all groups doing agile succeed in …

It would seem that Agile isn’t the foolproof silver bullet that we said it would be! Oh, wait. We never said that. Let me re-phrase this a bit. Ahem. Ok, so not all groups doing agile succeed in delivering software. And not all folks trained in two days of Scrum are magically anointed with wisdom and a Midas touch. The anger against “agile” is palpable in many discussion groups and blogs.
What should we do? Go back to Waterfall? Train people for four days? Well, I think it is time we do a re-set, and (re)educate folks on what agile is all about. If you are dogmatically following along with a handful of agile practices, but don’t really “get” the intentions behind the agile mindset, you may (will?) be disappointed in your results.
I’ve always said “agile is hard to do well” and I’m sticking to it! Let’s re-commit to the core principles and practices. Let’s do Agile like we mean it.

(Originally presented at JavaSymposium in March 2011)

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  • Hah, let’s reverse the typical talk format that does Q&A as a last slide <evil grin>I want to start out by setting the stage to have the audience reflect on their current agile experience from their current frame of reference.Then I want to deliver a quasi-interactive talk to have them reflect on the “true” meaning of Agile.I will then help folks RE-CONNECT to the agile principles.Conclude with a call to action at the individual level.And I’ll return to asking them again about their “Agile Practice” and just how good it really is.
  • Can you go at full speed and stop on a dime?
  • A rare treat in a career
  • How would your stakeholder and/or clients grade your team?
  • How would your stakeholder and/or clients grade your team?
  • Show a mass of soldiers marching in lock-step (like North Korea or China or Russia)
  • Of course, this implies having been connected in the first place. Hmmm. Might have to rethink <g>.
  • What is the #1 ingredient to be successful at an Agile project?
  • What is the #1 ingredient to be successful at an Agile project?
  • What is the #1 ingredient to be successful at an Agile project? #2 & #3 are also important!
  • Show a stack of books, historical documents…
  • Like the Laws of Physics…The tenets distill the immutable motive forces behind delivering software
  • Think of some sort of closed-loop image. A system of systems. An energy cycle. Weather cycle, or the photosynthesis cycle.The beauty and challenge of Agile methods is the holistic nature that must be grasped.Much like the human body, or in engineering a system (for example an aircraft), many of the pieces affect other parts of the puzzle.So it goes with Agile and Software Development projects.
  • The techniques and ideas behind agile are not rocket science
  • Yet, it is hard to continuously be perfect at agile.
  • Cover each manifesto point as if we lived on the Planet Bizarro.
  • Ask… How will you Get Started?Do any of you feel like you are in Camp Bizarro?
  • Nothing beats self-gratification.Oh, but wait, this isn’t that!
  • Photo from http://sourcesofinsight.com/2010/04/22/change-is-hard-because-self-control-wears-you-out/
  • From our ballerina daughter, magnets on the refrigerator
  • Agile practices are all about reducing the gap in time between an action and it’s result.
  • Show something off-balance and out of whack.Too much emphasis on any one thing leads to imbalance and disharmony.Images like the proverbial aircraft designed by separate disciplines… Propulsion group wants giant engines, Aero group wants needle-like fuselage with no drag, etc.
  • Image: big question mark? Scratching head? Head surrounded by 5 question marks?Try it… ask about something and keep going for 4 or 5 levels deep. Good luck getting that far. And if you do, it’s a great thing!
  • Show digging a ditch and filling it back in.
  • Add yoga-esque imagesGurus/yogis sitting cross-legged, or crazy pose…
  • Inverted pyramid leading to YOU
  • Inverted pyramid leading to YOU
  • Transcript

    • 1. Agile Schmagile
      Does Agile Stink, or is it Just Me?
      Jon Kern
    • 2. Questions!
    • 3. Are You Agile?
    • 4. Peak Performance
      Do you work on a high-performing team?
      How can you be sure?
    • 5. Abysmal Performance
      Have you been disappointedby Agile?
      What practice has failed you/your team?
    • 6. Grade From Your Stakeholders/Clients?

    • 7. Grade From Yourself?




    • 8. Agile Stinks! Or Does it?
      No escaping that Agile can be a BAD word
      100,000+ CSMs could be a good thing, or not
      How can we tell what we should be doing?
    • 9. (Re-)Connect With Agile!
    • 10. Recipe For Agile Success
      Killer App Software Product
      Ingredients:1.2.3.
    • 11. Recipe For Agile Success
      Killer App Software Product
      PEOPLE!
      Ingredients:1. 2.3.
      Ingredients:1. PEOPLE!2.3.
    • 12. Recipe For Agile Success
      Killer App Software Product
      Ingredients:1. PEOPLE!2. Process3. Tools
    • 13. Being Able to Reason is Key
      Educate yourself about the agile practices
      Learn about successful project teams
      Engage in observation – Cause and Effect
      Reason about what you do as a team
      Reflect & Adapt
    • 14. The Manifesto Reveals Truths
      Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
      Working software over comprehensive documentation
      Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
      Responding to change over following a plan
    • 15. Agile Practices Demand Holism
      Consider the project to be a system
      Synergies of Practices
      Holistic Approaches
    • 16. Agile is Simple
    • 17. And Yet… AGILE IS HARD!
    • 18. Let’s Turn the World Upside Down
    • 19. The Anti-Agile Manifesto
      We are uncovering better ways to provide the illusion of developing software by listening to others talk about watching people try. Through this (dare I call it?) work, we have come to value:
      Dogmatic process and CASE-tool-like automation over inspiring quality individuals to interact with the team and the clients
      Sufficient up-front comprehensive design specifications over seeing frequent, tangible, working results.
      Writing detailed Statements of Work and negotiating changes over collaborating to do our collective best with the time and money at hand
      Driving toward the original project plan over accommodating the client changing their mind, or a path turning into a dead end
    • 20. So “What’s It GonnaBe?”
      Agile Manifesto?
      Bizarro Manifesto?
    • 21. How Do We Start?
    • 22. It Starts With You!
    • 23. Change is Hard
      Especially because it starts with you!
      I needtraining
      We only work on COMPLEX projects
      We’re stuck with legacy code
      The QA Dept does all of our testing
      Agile isa Fad
      Tight Deadlines
      TDD takes too much time
      Management doesn’t care about quality
      We’ve never done it that way before
      We need full requirements up front
    • 24. Be… a Craftsman
    • 25. Be… a Professional
    • 26. Be… Impatient
    • 27. Be… Balanced
      Treat software holistically, as a closed-loop system
    • 28. Be… Lazy
    • 29. Be… Inquisitive
    • 30. Be… Bold
      Question with BOLDNESS
      Ask Why?
      Why?
      Why?
      Why?
      Why?
    • 31. Don’t: Just Do It!
      Understand why you are doing it
      Observe, reflect, adapt
    • 32. You Don’t Do Agile, You Are Agile
      Agile is first and foremost a personal PRACTICE!
      As is ballet, yoga, rock climbing…
      Never a master, always a student
    • 33. Agile Has Failed Us?
      Not so much!
      Return to the founding principles
      Be Agile, don’t blindly just DO Agile!
      Apply common sense
      Agile problems? First look inward…
      The Agile Mindset has no agenda, no certificate
    • 34. Agile Can’t Change the World
      But…
      You can be more agile
      Your team can be more agile
      Your group can be more agile
      Your company can be more…
    • 35. Agile Can’t Change the World
      But…
      You can be more agile
      Your team can be more agile
      Your group can be more agile
      Your company can be more…
      • Maybe agile CAN impact the world after all!
    • Agile Schmagile
      Does Agile Stink, or is it Just Me?
      Jon Kern
      jkern@lightshipinc.comjkern@axialexchange.com
      http://TechnicalDebt.com
      Thank you!

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