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Leading from Within


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Israel Gat's January 13, 2009 presentation to the IEEE Technology Management Council in Austin, TX

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Leading from Within

  1. 1. Leading from Within Israel Gat   January 13, 2009
  2. 2. The 2004-2008 Agile Transformation at BMC Software <ul><li>&quot;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.” </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>[ Walter Bodwell's abstract for the 2/5/2009 Agile Austin presentation ] </li></ul>
  3. 3. This is My Story within their Story <ul><ul><li>I evoved in parallel with the evolution of the software and the evolution of the organization: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>As a professional: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>System Management --> Agile methods </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>As a human being: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Success driven  --> Lasting value driven </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>As a leader: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Intellectual leader --> Servant leader </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Balance Sheet, Fall 2004 <ul><li>Cons </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Technical debt </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Waterfalled to the N-th degree </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>In general, I was an unknown quantity </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Precious few at BMC knew about Agile/Scrum </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Precious little training done for quite a few years </li></ul><ul><li>-------------------------------------------------  </li></ul><ul><li>Offshoring+Layoffs </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Pros </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>I understood the technical debt problem in a fairly deep manner </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Had a lot of latitude </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Trusted by my boss and her boss </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Had previous experience doing Scrum </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>----------------------------------------------  </li></ul><ul><li>I was clear in my thinking on the subject </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  5. 5. Clarity of Thinking: Sustainable Process Improvement versus Balancing the Books <ul><li>&quot;... 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.” </li></ul><ul><li>   [H. Thomas Johnson, Manage a Living System, Not a Ledger ] </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;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.&quot; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[Shalloway, Beaver, and Trott, Lean Software Development: Scaling Agile to the Enterprise] </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Why do Agile?! <ul><li>Needs </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Higher productivity </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Tap into unutilized energy in the business unit </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Self sufficiency </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Something new and exciting </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Focus </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid massive disruption </li></ul><ul><li>Fit with Agile Methods </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Excellent </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Promising </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Up to a point (needed $$ for licenses, training and coaching) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Promising </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Good (Only do the most important things at any point in time) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Fair (gradual roll-out within very clear intentionality) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  7. 7. #1: The Business Unit &quot;University&quot; <ul><ul><li>What it was: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>90 minute presentation in all US sites every Wednesday at 10AM </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on catching up on technical trends  </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>By business unit employees for business unit employess </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What it aspired to accomplish: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;I am gonna invest in you&quot; message </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Emphasis on developing skills </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Self sufficiency </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Develop a community </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where it led: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Validation of the community concept </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Validation of the untapped energy hypothesis </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  8. 8. #2: Agile Training, Consulting and Coaching <ul><ul><li>What it was: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sustained effort to develop Agile skills by top-notch consultants </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>For every dollar spent on tool licenses, spent a dollar on Agile training, consulting and coaching </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>   </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What it aspired to accomplish: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reinforce the &quot;I am gonna invest in you&quot; message </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Team building </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Emphasis on institutional learning </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where it led: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The passion and the pride of the craftsman </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Shift from &quot;Why is the world hating us&quot; to &quot;Wow, this is fun!&quot; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  9. 9. #3: Attend the Daily Scrum Stand-up Meetings <ul><ul><li>What it was: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blocked the 8-9AM time slot on my calendar indefinitely </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Attended as many Scrum stand-up meeting as possible in as many sites as I could  </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What it aspired to accomplish: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;What you do is important&quot; message </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;Agile is important&quot; message </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where it led: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Being accepted as &quot;One of Us&quot; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>  </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. #4: Agile Assessments <ul><ul><li>What it was: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>An Agile self-assessment questionnaire each of the Scrum teams used to assess how it was doing; and, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>An overarching principle that the assessments belonged to the teams </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What it aspired to accomplish </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Institutional learning </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Empowerment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Decoupling from the official rating/ranking system </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where it led: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Culture within culture </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. #5: Walk the Talk <ul><ul><li>What it was: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ 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.”  </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>  [R&D Manager] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What it aspired to accomplish: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>N/A - defining moment presented itself </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where it led: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We crossed the line between &quot;Oh, a new half baked executive fad&quot; to &quot;They really walk the talk&quot; </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. #6: Strength Over Power <ul><ul><li>What it was: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Individual work with each of my directs to develop their management philosophy towards strength, not power </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What it aspired to accomplish: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Resilience during possible conflicts stemming from being a culture within a culture </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where it led: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Empowerment of my directs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on what we stand for as staff </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. #7: &quot;We are All Equal to the Rewards, and to the Sacrifices&quot; <ul><ul><li>What it was: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The overarching principle for carrying out a significant RIF in the business unit in 2005 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What it aspired to accomplish: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Meritocracy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cammaraderie </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where it led: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Get over the &quot;We are training our assassins&quot; syndrome </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  14. 14. A Social Contract for Agile <ul><ul><li>“ Team, my overarching organizational objective is to preserve our team and its institutional knowledge for our corporation and its customers for years to come </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We will achieve this goal by enhancing our software engineering prowess to the level that the resultant benefits will outweigh the repercussions of the current financial crisis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The state of the Agile art should enable us to attain hyper-productivity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In the event that we fail to accomplish hyper-productivity and our assignments fade away, you will find the Agile skills you developed much in demand in the market </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whether you will or will not be with the company in the future, I acknowledge your need to develop professionally as an Agile practitioner and commit to invest in your education/training” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>(*) Loose definition - social contract: &quot;Implied agreements by which people form a community and maintain relatively stable system of institutions, pattern of interactions and customs.&quot; </li></ul>
  15. 15. Qualitative Assessments of Success  <ul><li>“ 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.” </li></ul><ul><li>  [R&D Architect] </li></ul><ul><li>› “ 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. ” </li></ul><ul><li>  [R&D Director] </li></ul><ul><li>›› “ The team has to continuously improve the Agile process, or the temptation to become rigid and staged will creep back into the processes.” </li></ul><ul><li>  [R&D Manager] </li></ul><ul><li>› “ 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.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>  [R&D Director] </li></ul>
  16. 16. © Copyright 1/11/2009 BMC Software, Inc. Quantitative Assessment of Success: Productivity Index Values by Application Type 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 Productivity Index (PI) w/ ±1 Standard Deviation   Source: QSM Associates, July 2007 Business Information Command and Control Process Control Scientific System Telecommunications Engineering Avionics Microcode Real Time Real Time 28 26
  17. 17. Being agile without Agile <ul><ul><li>Context: pulling together R&D, Sales, Customer Support, and Professional Services to turn around a diffcult customer situation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Duration: 6 months </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Team, my sole objective is to turn around the customer situation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We will achieve this goal by subordinating all other considerations to this objective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data you provide me is not about you, your team, or your organization; it is what it is; it will only be used to mitigate the customer situation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No item you bring to my attention is below me; I will act on it promptly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You will always be fully briefed on the customer situation: good, bad or indifferent&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  18. 18. Qualitative Assessments from the Virtual Team <ul><li>&quot;We see a great progress in: </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Coordination between BU's and [Customer] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impressive progress around RFE's </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish an environment of trust in front of the customer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Showing commitment... from ... senior management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Starting to setup a standard communication flow between BU's and [Customer] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  Improvement of awareness of customer needs in front of our BU's. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I recognize you as a very trusted leader to help to achieve our common targets.&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><li>         </li></ul><ul><li>                   [GAM feedback after 4 months under this social contract] </li></ul>
  19. 19. So, What is Leadership? <ul><ul><li>Intrinsic: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Clarity where you stand on issues of values </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fulfillment of diverse needs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Your word as a gentleman </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Strength to protect a culture within a culture </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extrinsic: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Intentionality </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Method to improve &quot;something&quot; in a sustainable manner </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Modus operandi at all levels </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  20. 20. Thank You! [email_address]