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Agile tour Ottawa 2017 - Agility in the face of Perplexity (by Gunther Verheyen)


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In February 2001, 17 software development leaders published the “Manifesto for Agile Software Development”.

The Agile Manifesto is 16+ years old. Does it mean it is outdated, Are the days of Agile over?

Gunther reflected upon the value and originality on Agile, as it is. No new names. No new content. Other, better words to describe it, and describe its need.

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Agile tour Ottawa 2017 - Agility in the face of Perplexity (by Gunther Verheyen)

  1. 1. Gunther Verheyen, Ullizee-Inc Scrum. Connector, writer, speaker, humaniser. Agility in the face of perplexity GOAT 2017 20 November 2017 Ottawa (Canada)
  2. 2. 2Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee Are the days of ‘Agile’ over? 1” ‘Agile’ dates from 2001. How relevant is it today (2017)? Raise your hand if you feel that: 1. ‘Agile’ is still worthwhile (and even more needed than ever). 2. ‘Agile’ doesn’t need to be renamed (it’s already difficult enough to explain as it is). 3. ‘Agile’ applies to software development only.
  3. 3. 3Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee Your company wants to become Agile, too. You are invited to come enlighten your CEO and the Executive Team. The CIO says to already know about this thing called Scrum. The HR Director believes half of the workforce would have to be replaced because of this self-organization. What is your approach? What do you say? e.g. • What is the definition of ‘Agile’ you use? • How do you relate ‘Agile’ and Scrum? How do you explain what ‘Agile’ is about? 2”
  4. 4. 4Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee When asked for a definition (n) Agile • The mind-set expressed through the value statements and the principles of the Agile Manifesto, Scrum • A simple framework for complex product delivery, More:, “Agile and Scrum, actually (2015)”
  5. 5. 5Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee Agile is the obvious question. Agility is the actual need. „agility (noun) /əˈdʒɪlɪti/ 1. To be quick and nimble; The ability to move quickly and easily; The ability to think and understand quickly. 2. A state of constant flux, evolution, innovation, improvement and re-invention. The capability to adapt, to swiftly address challenges, to explore and change direction, to take advantage of
  6. 6. 6Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee There may be many reasons to pursue agility. What is your #1 reason? Does your management know/agree? Start with why for meaningful conversations • Improved customer relationships • Higher engagement of co-workers • Easier to change direction • Increased productivity and quality • Taking advantage of market opportunities • New competitors on your markets • Early elimination of risk • Reaching market faster • Increased Return on Investment • Reduced Total Cost of Ownership
  7. 7. Agility… • can’t be planned • can’t be dictated • has no end-state • can’t be copied_ Grow your own model. Use your imagination. Source: Gunther Verheyen, “Scrum – A Pocket Guide (A Smart Travel Companion)”, 2013
  8. 8. 8Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee Still. Exploring new ways to explain ‘Agile’. “Rather than questioning, doubting and scorning, I aspire uncovering new ways, new words, to show the value and the originality of ‘Agile’. I do it for the purpose of clarity over the essence of ‘Agile’, to disentangle the clew that ‘Agile’ turned into, to help people thrive in a world of complexity.”
  9. 9. “Complexity is our world. Simplicity is our path.” Gunther Verheyen
  10. 10. 10Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee Work variables Complexity is our world Work spaces
  11. 11. 11Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee Your iceberg is melting. Your cheese is being moved. At light speed. The balance of society has rapidly shifted from industrial, often physical, labor to digital, often virtual, work; changing the fabric of society and of our social systems. The industrial paradigm is rendered useless. Hence, the value of the Agile paradigm. Much work has shifted to the Complex Novelty space
  12. 12. 12Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee ‘Agile’ is more needed than ever The Agile paradigm defines the new thinking and behavioral tools to turn around the perplexity resulting from the ruling complexity. Acting with agility is key to avoid complexity turning into perplexity; an inability to act.
  13. 13. 13Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee Patterns that (might) work in the Ordered Stability space: • Governance controlled separation of skills, functions and positions, and other forms of micro-management • Predictive plans and other pre- empted scenarios based on the belief in linearity • Direction-less task assignment and other forms of utilization-focused approaches to keep people busy What the industrial plague left us with Governance Functions Business IT Executives
  14. 14. 14Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee Probably the most unfit approach for thriving in the Complex Novelty space. Ever. Main expressions of the industrial paradigm Governance UtilizationPlans
  15. 15. 16Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee (Collaboractiv e) People Value (for a Purpose) (Deliberate) Emergence The Agile paradigm. Simplicity is our path. Who How Why The Prime Agile Tenets
  16. 16. 17Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee The Prime Agile Tenets – Collaboractive People The days of super heroism are over. People are in a continual state of ability and willingness to act in concerted ways, to actively engage in collaboration when needed, regardless position, title, hierarchy, or function. • Facets of “Collaboractive People” – Accountability – Professionalism – Teamware (Collaboractive) People Value (for a Purpose) (Deliberate) Emergence The Prim e Agile Tenets
  17. 17. 18Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee The Prime Agile Tenets – Deliberate Emergence More changes than remains stable in the Complex Novelty space. Predictions don’t work (anymore). Emergence prevails. Feedback is provoked deliberately. What works today, might not work tomorrow. • Facets of “Deliberate Emergence” – Time-boxing – Feedback loops – The iterative-incremental continuum (Collaboractive) People Value (for a Purpose) (Deliberate) Emergence The Prim e Agile Tenets
  18. 18. 19Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee The Prime Agile Tenets – Value for a Purpose Success cannot be predicted in big bang deliveries. Value is continually optimized through the delivery of finished slices of work. What is important today, might not be tomorrow. Purpose guides us. • Facets of “Value for a Purpose” – Measuring value, measuring agility – The value in valuation – Exploratory ownership (Collaboractive) People Value (for a Purpose) (Deliberate) Emergence The Prim e Agile Tenets
  19. 19. 20Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee Facets of Collaboractive People • Accountability • Professionalism • Teamware What does ‘professionalism’ mean? e.g. Does getting paid for work make a person a ‘professional’? Why is ‘professionalism’ important in the Complex Novelty space? Are we skilled for the Complex Novelty space? 2”
  20. 20. 21Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee Thoughts on professionalism from my personal life Professionalism encompasses technical and behavioral credibility; people that combine technical craftspersonship and personal integrity.
  21. 21. 22Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee Complex Novelty work requires Agile Professionals • Craftspersonalities – Technical mastery (a craftsperson) – Behavioral integrity (e.g. a collaboractive stance) • Not misrepresenting complexity as ordered and predictable. – Promising certainty where there is none. – Not pretending being able to predict the inherently unpredictable. – Presenting simple rules to emerge complex patterns, not misrepresent the nature of the problem as simple (which is simplistic). • Focusing on the path (enacting the Prime Agile Tenets). Allowing the destination to unravel. A lack of professionalism is a major root cause of perplexity.
  22. 22. 23Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee Growth in the Complex Novelty space Growth can be benign or malignant. Consider how to spend energy and resources in the Complex Novelty space. • Facets of “Growth” – Servant Management – Team of Teams – The extreme org
  23. 23. “The future of Agile is in the small. Adaptiveness comes through small, networked communities and ecosystems collaborating.” Source: Gunther Verheyen, “The future of Agile (is actually in the small)”, 2017
  24. 24. 25Gunther Verheyen – Ullizee-Inc, 2017 - @Ullizee About Gunther Verheyen Independent Scrum Caretaker • eXtreme Programming and Scrum since 2003 • Professional Scrum Trainer • Shepherded Professional Scrum and co-created Agility Path, EBMgt, the Nexus framework for Scaled Professional Scrum • Author of “Scrum – A Pocket Guide” (“Scrum Wegwijzer”, “Scrum Taschenbuch”) Mail Twitter @Ullizee Blog