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Agile: Panacea or Placebo?


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My talk at AgileNCR 2014 on exploring agile from the core foundations of what makes a great team, and whether agile is the panacea for everything that plagues the software development, or it is really a placebo in the sense that once you have all these pre-conditions that makes a team successful, irrespective of whether you practice agile methods, you will perhaps be equally successful, if not more.

Published in: Software, Business

Agile: Panacea or Placebo?

  1. AGILE: PANACEA OR PLACEBO? Tathagat Varma, VP Strategic Process Innovations and HR, [24]7 Innovation Labs AGILE
  2. Panacea ! Greek Goddess of Universal Remedy ! Solution to all problems; Cure-all
  3. “There is no single development, in either technology or management technique, which by itself promises even one order of magnitude improvement within a decade in productivity, in reliability, in simplicity.” 1987
  5. Perkins Patent Tractors
  7. EXTRAORDINARY GROUPS • A compelling purpose that inspires and stretches members to make the group and its work a top priority • Shared leadership that encourages members to take mutual responsibility for helping the group be successful • Just-enough-structure to create confidance to move forward, but not so much as to become bureaucratic or burdensome • Full engagement that results in all members jumping in with enthusiasm, sometimes passionately and chaotically, regardless of role • Embracing differences so that group members see, value, and use their diversity as a strength • Unexpected learning that translates into personal and group growth • Strengthened relationships among members characterized by trust, collegiality, and friendship • Great results, tangible and intangible
  8. LEARNINGS FROM NATURE • Collective Leadership: Any group member can take the lead. • Instant Messaging: Instant whole- group broadcast communications. • Ecosystems: Small is Beautiful … but Big is Powerful. • Clustering: Engaging many through the few.
  9. BIOTEAMING RULES 1. Stop Controlling: Communicate information not orders 2. Team Intelligence: Mobilize everyone to look for and manage team threats and opportunities 3. Permission Granted: Achieve accountability through transparency not permission 4. Always-On: Provide 24*7 instant “in-situ” message hotlines for all team members 5. Symbiosis:Treat external partners as fully trusted team members 6. Cluster: Nurture the team’s internal and external networks and connections 7. Swarm: Develop consistent autonomous team member behaviors 8. Tit-for-Tat: Team members must learn effective biological and interpersonal cooperation strategies 9. Genetic Algorithms: Learn through experimentation, mutation and team review 10. Self-Organizing Networks: Define the team in terms of “network transformations” – not outputs 11. Porous Membranes: Develop team boundaries that are open to energy but closed to waste 12. Emerge: Scale naturally through nature’s universal growth and decay cycles
  10. CONCLUSIONS • Sorry, there are no silver bullets • Agile provides great training wheels • Focus on people, teams and culture • Believe in what you do, but test it first!
  11. REFERENCES • • • • • • HBRApril2012.pdf •