Lightweight teams in heavyweight organizations
Agile Special Forces
Sergey Prokhorenko
Luxoft Agile Practice
21 March 2014
2
Clients’ Perception of Agile
21 March 2014
Fixing issues
• Doing right things
• Doing things right
• Clear progress
• Ch...
3
Clash of Management Theories
4
Traditional Hierarchy
Commander-
in-Chief
US Army
10 active
divisions
4 regiments
and BCTs
Special
Operations
Command
US...
5
US Army Special Operations Command
Special Forces
(“green
berets”)
CAG aka Delta
Force
(classified anti-
terrorist unit)...
6
Challenges UW ConceptUSAF
OEF-A Context (2001)
 Abandoned since
1991
 Almost no presence
of CIA
 Landlocked country
...
7
Cross-Functional Teams
Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) structure
FM 3-21.20 (7-20), The Infantry Battalion
13 Decembe...
8
Case Study: ODA 574
Challenge for US SF:
– Support Hamid Karzai (future president of Afghanistan) in heading anti-Taliba...
9
Case Study: ODA 574
Responding to change
10
Case Study: ODA 574 – Analysis
Mission Accomplished
Motivation
Autonomy Mastery Purpose
Resources
USAF
bombers
Supply
d...
11
More Peaceful – Marshmallow Challenge
 18 minutes
 Teams of four
 Tallest freestanding structure
 Marshmallow has t...
12
Lessons Learned
 Kindergarten graduates perform better than business school graduates
 Prototyping matters
 Diverse ...
13
Back to ODA Structure
 “Truck number” ≥ 2
 “Split team” concept
 Fully cross-component
 Able to operate independent...
14
Big Question Marks
 Which projects can leverage
junior team members in self-
organized teams?
 Is Agile really a silv...
15
Case Study: Battle of Tora Bora
Challenge for CAG (aka Delta Force):
– Kill or capture Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora cav...
16
Case Study: Battle of Tora Bora
Failure to
kill or
capture
OBL
Victory
• Tora Bora
complex
captured
• Taliban
presence
...
17
Case Study: Battle of Tora Bora – Analysis
Mission Failed
Motivation
Autonomy Mastery Purpose
Resources
USAF
bombers
Ar...
18
Lessons to Learn
 One of the best operators in the world
 Best equipment
 All might of the US Air Force
vs
 Allies ...
1921 March 2014
Cynefin Framework
20
Agile Principle #5
Success
Autonomy
Mastery
PurposeEnvironment
Support
21
Team Development
21 March 2014
Forming
Storming
Norming
Performing
Shu
Ha
Ri
Successful Agile teams are as valuable out...
22
Easy Scaling?
23
Organizational Culture
Theory X
• Thorough planning
• Resource-based organization
• Strict hierarchy
• Easy scaling
• G...
24
What’s Next?
 Unconventional Development?
– Means for Agile teams to find a place in large enterprise organizations
– ...
25
Personal Development Opportunities
21 March 2014
26
Further Reading
Your
QR Code
Thank you!
14 March 2014
Sergey Prokhorenko
Luxoft
sprokhorenko@luxoft.com
ua.linkedin.com/in/sergeyprokhoren...
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Agile Special Forces

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Agile Special Forces

  1. 1. Lightweight teams in heavyweight organizations Agile Special Forces Sergey Prokhorenko Luxoft Agile Practice 21 March 2014
  2. 2. 2 Clients’ Perception of Agile 21 March 2014 Fixing issues • Doing right things • Doing things right • Clear progress • Change for free Traditional restrictions • Cost reduction • Budget commitments • Zero tolerance for failures • Shareholders’ pressure
  3. 3. 3 Clash of Management Theories
  4. 4. 4 Traditional Hierarchy Commander- in-Chief US Army 10 active divisions 4 regiments and BCTs Special Operations Command USMC USN USAF USCG SecDef CJCS
  5. 5. 5 US Army Special Operations Command Special Forces (“green berets”) CAG aka Delta Force (classified anti- terrorist unit) 75th Rangers Regiment (elite strike force) Various support and logistics units “Operations conducted by, with, or through irregular forces in support of a resistance movement, an insurgency, or conventional military operations.” FM 3-05.201, (S/NF) Special Forces Unconventional Warfare (U) 28 September 2007
  6. 6. 6 Challenges UW ConceptUSAF OEF-A Context (2001)  Abandoned since 1991  Almost no presence of CIA  Landlocked country  No up-to-date invasion plan  Six months estimate for planning phase  Massive bombing of key targets  Engaging targets from high altitude due to AA emplacements  Flying from Oman or Indian ocean  No real results  “True Believers”  Deploy to Uzbekistan as CSAR teams  Infiltrate Afghanistan  Help USAF with air control  Train local forces and prepare for full-scale invasion
  7. 7. 7 Cross-Functional Teams Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) structure FM 3-21.20 (7-20), The Infantry Battalion 13 December 2006
  8. 8. 8 Case Study: ODA 574 Challenge for US SF: – Support Hamid Karzai (future president of Afghanistan) in heading anti-Taliban movement in southeastern Afghanistan (Oct-Dec 2001)
  9. 9. 9 Case Study: ODA 574 Responding to change
  10. 10. 10 Case Study: ODA 574 – Analysis Mission Accomplished Motivation Autonomy Mastery Purpose Resources USAF bombers Supply drops Money Infrastructure CCT Satellite links Equipment
  11. 11. 11 More Peaceful – Marshmallow Challenge  18 minutes  Teams of four  Tallest freestanding structure  Marshmallow has to be on top
  12. 12. 12 Lessons Learned  Kindergarten graduates perform better than business school graduates  Prototyping matters  Diverse skills matter  Incentives + low skills = failure  Incentives + skills = success Does Agile approach fit any activity?
  13. 13. 13 Back to ODA Structure  “Truck number” ≥ 2  “Split team” concept  Fully cross-component  Able to operate independently in a hostile environment  Highly skilled professionals (rank is SSG and higher)  No novices – at all  Typical career path: regular Army or Rangers, then SF  Often teamed up with USAF combat controllers
  14. 14. 14 Big Question Marks  Which projects can leverage junior team members in self- organized teams?  Is Agile really a silver bullet?  How to train juniors for large business-critical Agile projects?
  15. 15. 15 Case Study: Battle of Tora Bora Challenge for CAG (aka Delta Force): – Kill or capture Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora cave complex (Dec 2001)
  16. 16. 16 Case Study: Battle of Tora Bora Failure to kill or capture OBL Victory • Tora Bora complex captured • Taliban presence eliminated
  17. 17. 17 Case Study: Battle of Tora Bora – Analysis Mission Failed Motivation Autonomy Mastery Purpose Resources USAF bombers Area blocking Money Infrastructure CCT Satellite links Equipment
  18. 18. 18 Lessons to Learn  One of the best operators in the world  Best equipment  All might of the US Air Force vs  Allies not seeing clear purpose  Risk-averse approach  Political issues  Lack of support from SF and Rangers Would conventional (non-Agile) approach fit better?
  19. 19. 1921 March 2014 Cynefin Framework
  20. 20. 20 Agile Principle #5 Success Autonomy Mastery PurposeEnvironment Support
  21. 21. 21 Team Development 21 March 2014 Forming Storming Norming Performing Shu Ha Ri Successful Agile teams are as valuable outcome of the project as the product itself
  22. 22. 22 Easy Scaling?
  23. 23. 23 Organizational Culture Theory X • Thorough planning • Resource-based organization • Strict hierarchy • Easy scaling • Good for keeping up Theory Y • Responding to change • Team-based organization • Steep learning curve • Good for rapid engagements
  24. 24. 24 What’s Next?  Unconventional Development? – Means for Agile teams to find a place in large enterprise organizations – Leading the way in challenging projects – Opportunity for most skilled people – “Bootcamps” and qualification courses for the rest of organization  Clear grading system to identify missing skills  Quantity to quality – Organizational transformation – Education and coaching at senior levels
  25. 25. 25 Personal Development Opportunities 21 March 2014
  26. 26. 26 Further Reading
  27. 27. Your QR Code Thank you! 14 March 2014 Sergey Prokhorenko Luxoft sprokhorenko@luxoft.com ua.linkedin.com/in/sergeyprokhorenko
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