Scrum Day Europe 2014 - Evidence-Based Managing of Software


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During the past decade, the adoption of agile has grown incredibly. But the dependence of businesses and society on software has increased even more. Software is eating the world.
The survival and prosperity of many people and organizations depend on software. Complexity and unpredictability continue to increase. Yet, many organizations are stuck with old thinking like productivity, performance and blindly pushing more requirements out to the market.
The focus of managing has not shifted to, like was a core intent of the agile movement, optimizing the VALUE that the software brings to the organization. The urgency to do so grows.
The agile values and spirit are more needed than ever, but it's time to include management in the empirical thinking.
Gunther Verheyen directs the Professional Series at and is a partner of Ken Schwaber, Scrum co-creator. Gunther and Ken have developed a view on management in an agile context, "Evidence-Based Management" (EBM).
EBM has its roots in medical practice and promotes evidence-based decision-making in the managerial domain of software.
In his keynote presentation at Scrum Day Europe 2014, Gunther looked at the state of agile through the lens of EBM, and introduce how to apply its principles in a context of software.
If no evidence is collected on the value of software, informed management decisions to maximize it cannot be made. Software development deserves a professional way of managing, a way of managing that is more than mere intuition, opinion and position.

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  • Based on „stam·pede„ ( /stʌmˈpiːd/ ):
    Sudden frenzied rush of (panic–stricken) animals.
    To flee in a headlong rush.
  • This from a March 18th, 2014 article.

    He’s right.

    It’s time to put proof and accountability back into the conversation.
  • Profound change during the agile era
  • Explore

    Learning Objectives
    Gain understanding of complexity in software environments
    How empiricism controls risk, and provides predictability in complex environments
    What is agility and what is Scrum’s place within the Agile discussion?

  • Understand the problem
    Case history
    Current and previous system data

    Gather evidence
    Research bodies of knowledge
    Run experiments and tests
    Expert experience

    Provide assessment

    Collaborate on plan of treatment


  • On trail for killing birds
  • If I am a person considering Scrum, what can I find out there as evidence it is good for me?

  • EB Practices are present in many industries
    Where the desired outcome is often non-deterministic. We must create the desired outcome as we proceed.

    Where the goal is met through iterative, incremental practices relying heavily on inspection and adaptation.

    Looking at the 3 pillars of EB Practices from these professional lenses
  • Indeed, the Agile movement promotes emergence. Indeed, Agile thrives on self-organization. Indeed, Scrum has no defined role of ‘manager’.

    But is that sufficient to label managers as useless or not needed?

    The Agile movement successfully established a set of values and principles that better fit the creative and complex nature of software development. The focus is on teams, collaboration, people, self-directed discovery. The Scrum framework provides a great foundation for organizations to grasp ‘Agility’.

    The adoption of the Agile thinking via Scrum represents a major and on-going shift in our industry. Even without Scrum having prescriptions for management, it is clear that the self-organizing fundaments of Scrum have a profound impact on the role, approach and act of managing. The challenge is to discover and implement the new needs and demands for managers.

    Self-organization requires boundaries, and shared goals and objectives. Self-organizing teams benefit from the provision of information on the market and company strategie. Self-organizing teams benefit from facilitation with standards, expectations, infrastructure and tools.
  • Any way of working can be analyzed through the lenses of value-based evidence.
    Revenue per Employee
    Product Cost Ratio
    Employee satisfaction
    Customer satisfaction

    Release frequency
    Release stabilization
    Cycle Time
    Installed Version Index
    Usage Index
    Innovation Rate
    Total defects
  • About Gunther Verheyen
    Gunther Verheyen ( ) ventured into IT and software development after graduating in 1992. His Agile journey started with eXtreme Programming and Scrum in 2003. Years of dedication followed, of working with several teams and organizations, of using Scrum in diverse circumstances. Building on the experience gained, Gunther became the driving force behind some large-scale enterprise transformations.
    Gunther is a partner to Ken Schwaber, Scrum co-creator, at He is Professional Scrum trainer and directs the series of ‘Professional Scrum” products of He shepherds classes, trainers, courseware and assessments. He co-created the ‘Evidence-Based Management’ framework of to help organizations improve their agility.
    In 2013 Gunther published a ‘smart travel companion’ to Scrum, his highly appraised book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide.”
    Gunther lives in Antwerp (Belgium) with his wife Natascha, and their children Ian, Jente and Nienke.
    Find Gunther on Twitter as @ullizee or read more of his musings on Scrum on his personal blog,
  • Scrum Day Europe 2014 - Evidence-Based Managing of Software

    1. 1. by – Improving the Profession of Software Development Evidence-Based Managing of Software Measure  Assert  Facilitate Ken Schwaber Gunther Verheyen Scrum Day Europe Amsterdam July 3rd, 2014
    2. 2. 2© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Session Backlog • A Decade of Agile • The Act of Managing • Evidence-Based Managing of Software
    3. 3. 3© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved A Decade of Agile Evidence-Based Managing of Software
    4. 4. 4© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved A Craze During the First Decade of Agile? scrum·pede/skrʌmˈpiːd/ 1. Frenzied rush of panic–stricken companies to do Scrum because they want to be Agile, too. 2. To flee in a headlong rush back to the old ways of doing things because Scrum is hard work.
    5. 5. 5© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved MIN 3 • 100%? • Less, but more than 90%? • Less, but more than 75%? • Around 57,305%? How do you know? Is that important? How Agile has it made YOU ?
    6. 6. 6© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Plenty of subjectivities and opinions dominate agile and software development
    7. 7. 7© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Agile Has Failed “The original agile manifesto was very much about self organizing teams, it would be great if we could get back to that. In the meantime, the word ‘agile’ has become so abused, that we should stop using it.”
    8. 8. 8© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Agile Is Dead “[Agile] has been greatly abetted by the legions of Agile consultants. By stressing the practices, they have corrupted what Agile was about.”
    9. 9. 9© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Agile Is Not Dead “Fact is, most teams are doing Scrum wrong; plenty of people misapply Kanban; and most organizations have no idea how to introduce Management 3.0 practices. But that’s nothing new.”
    10. 10. 10© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Agile Is The Future “The Agile Manifesto was written to express shared values of people who saw a new way of developing software. […] I perceive that many in our industry will continue to build better and better software based on these values.”
    11. 11. 11© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved State of Agile Nobody can tell you what the state of agile is, because: • Nobody can tell you what the value is that organizations derive from employing agile • Investments in agile are high, but its values are ignored, and the returns remain unknown • Everything we know is subjective and based on anecdotal evidence
    12. 12. 12© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved • Y2K panic • Windows XP • iPod • Google search with click-through ads • AOL merger with Time Warner • CDMA • Web 2.0 • .COM bubble has burst • NSA, Wiki, Facebook • Stuxnet, cyber warfare • 39% / 77% internet usage • Mobile devices • Books, music, movies, social • Business competes on the internet • Most products have embedded software (bar codes) • Driverless cars and tractors (In the meantime) Software Is Eating The World 2001 2014
    13. 13. 13© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved The Act of Managing Evidence-Based Managing of Software If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. -Steve Jobs
    14. 14. 14© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Managing, A Matter of Professionalism? Common observations about managerial decisions: • According to magazine X … • On my last team/company … • The customer demands it. • I read a book that said … • Mandatory overtime. • Hire a consultant. • Google it.
    15. 15. 15© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved What if we added evidence to opinion, intuition and beliefs?
    16. 16. 16© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Evidence Is Data Weighed Against An Assertion Assertion Data Evidence✚
    17. 17. 17© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Evidence Has Properties of Quality Circumstantial (‘secondary’) evidence is weakest • Is merely consistent with the assertion • Doesn’t rule out contradictory causes • Unclear, sparse, unreliable Direct evidence (‘primary’) is strongest • Direct proof whether an assertion is true/false • Rules out any alternative explanation • Obvious, plentiful, trusted Weak Strong
    18. 18. 18© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved This Cat Ate The Missing Bird What type of evidence?  Circumstantial  Direct Assertion 1 2 3 4 5Weak Strong
    19. 19. 19© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Scrum Is A Good Way To Build Software Scrum Hit list – 10 good reasons for Scrum 1. Competitiveness 2. Develop what is needed 3. Confidence through transparency 4. Build Quality in 5. Recognize risks in time 6. To have the costs under control 7. Changes are welcome 8. Keep it lean and agile 9. Perfect for system development 10. Scrum makes fun Assertion 1 2 3 4 5Weak Strong
    20. 20. 20© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Agile Projects Are More Successful Than Waterfall The CHAOS Manifesto, Copyright 2011 Assertion 1 2 3 4 5Weak Strong
    21. 21. 21© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved A Higher Velocity Means More Success What type of evidence?  Circumstantial  Direct “Scrum Metrics for Hyperproductive Teams” (Downey and Sutherland) Assertion 1 2 3 4 5Weak Strong
    22. 22. 22© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Better Process Adherence Means More Valuable Software What type of evidence?  Circumstantial  Direct Assertion 1 2 3 4 5Weak Strong
    23. 23. 23© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Schedule Adherence Means More Value Assertion 1 2 3 4 5Weak Strong
    24. 24. 24© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Evidence, A Matter of Managerial Culture Evidence-Based Management (“EBM”): • Roots in medical practice. • The application of direct, objective evidence to make decisions. • For software organizations, EBM is employed to maximize the VALUE of software to the organization. Best Available Evidence Customer & Organizational Values Manager’s Judgment
    25. 25. 25© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Evidence-Based Managing of Software Evidence-Based Managing of Software Not everything that can be counted, counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. - Albert Einstein
    26. 26. 26© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Back To The Drawing Board Remember? “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.” How is that for a purpose?
    27. 27. 27© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Use direct evidence to optimize the VALUE of your software
    28. 28. 28© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Direct Evidence Considers What, Not How Kanban Agile DevOps Outcomescreates
    29. 29. 29© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved A Starting Recipe for Collecting Direct Evidence of Value Value Current Value Time to Market Ability to Innovate Revenue per Employee Product Cost Ratio Employee Satisfaction Customer Satisfaction Release Frequency Release Stabilization Cycle Time Installed Version Index Usage Index Innovation Rate Defect Density
    30. 30. 30© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved A Starting Recipe for Using Evidence Measure Assert • Skills, Knowledge, Understanding  Product managers  Managers  Developers • Practices, Tools, Standards Facilitate Value  Current Value  Time to Market  Ability to Innovate
    31. 31. 31© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved EBM Employs The Scrum Mindset People self-organize and use empiricism to optimize the value of their work.
    32. 32. 32© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Closing Evidence-Based Managing of Software The future state of Scrum will no longer be called ‘Scrum’. What we now call Scrum will have become the norm, and organizations have re-invented themselves around it. -Gunther Verheyen
    33. 33. 33© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Evidence-Based Managing of Software Optimizes Value Employs Direct Evidence Thrives on Feedback Loops
    34. 34. 34© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved About Gunther Verheyen • eXtreme Programming and Scrum since 2003 • Professional Scrum Trainer • Directing the Professional series at • Co-developing EBM at • Author of “Scrum – A Pocket Guide (A Smart Travel Companion)” (2013) Mail Twitter @Ullizee Blog
    35. 35. 35© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Connect with the community Twitter @scrumdotorg LinkedIn /company/Scrum.or g Facebook / Forums /Community RSS
    36. 36. 36© 1993-2014, All Rights Reserved Thank you