Ale 2013, from software devt to building an agile company
From agile software development
to building an agile company
As an agile coach, I
tell my clients :
« Agile is not an end,
it is rather a mean to
an end. What is it that
you really want ? »
As a manager I have
learned at least one
lesson : « in order to
achieve your goals,
you must focus on
means rather than on
is not my goal
but it’s where
my focus is
This is not a lecture
This is not a retrospective
A story about me and my company
It’s a story about paradoxes, and how we deal with them
I hope it is also about us, sharing ideas during these 3 days
What this is not
What this is
WHAT ABOUT ME ?
1980: Computer Kid (IBM 5100)
2001: From TDD to full-grade XP – As a software editor, XP is cool !
2004: Founding CLT – As a contractor XP is hard !
2006: Reading a lot: from Poppendiecks’ to Lean thinking
2007: Reading a lot more: from Lean to Scrum
2008: Scrum training with Jeff Sutherland
2008-2009: Community (learn and share)
2010+ : Agile consulting
2011+: Could this also apply to the way we grow our company ?
WHAT ABOUT THE COMPANY ?
Founded 2004 (Me+Ludovic, 12K €)
First 3 years “lost” trying to know what we want, then growth
Now 30 co-workers, ~2.2 M€ turnover
12% net profit in 2012
Three lines of business
Soft’It: Custom software development
CoActiv: Lean-Agile facilitation
GreenDot: Microsoft .NET craftmanship
Actively investigating agile as a way of running a our company since 2011
• Make selling easy : deliver high value to our customers
• Make our co-workers happy
• Work is meaningful
• You get your say
• You learn a lot and become better at what you do
• Make (a lot of) money
• Don’t be selfish : contribute to making the world a better place (at the
very least, don’t make it worse)
Building a virtuous company
THE GOAL, REFORMULATED
Co-author solutions with our customers
rather than negotiate contracts
Care for relationships and people
rather than rules, processes and SOPs
Focus on delivering value
rather than compliance and paper work
Word is changing fast: learn and adapt
rather than follow the business plan
It’s the f**ing manifesto !
APPLY AGILE TO BUILDING A COMPANY ?
How do we build complex software ?
• Can we make money and not be greedy ?
• Should we grow ? How can we change and stay the same ?
• How can we have a single shared vision and let every co-
worker bring her own project ?
• Can we have self-organising teams and not loose control ?
How do you manage a herd of cats ?
Maths souvenirs from 1987 : A mathematical structure that is
infinitely self-similar; properties and appearance are preserved
when scale changes …
How can we get bigger and stay the same ?
Future Present Past
Strategy Management Measure
Marketing Production Administer
Do whatever it is that you believe in, provided :
It fits in the company project, values and ambitions (Make
money, grow people, deliver value, benefit to your
People in the company can freely move to or from your
business unit to another (i.e. provide career gateways from/to
other lines of business)
You have better ideas ? Go try it !
People (at least: my crowd) are not irresponsible. Our culture is based
on autonomy + responsibility.
Responsible decisions require knowledge
Raw information is useless
Actionable knowledge = shared information + learning
The manager becomes a facilitator, the accounting/administrator
becomes an information provider
Nobody wants to sink the ship
Conflicts are for power.
In most companies information is power.
Share information that is to take away the power stakes.
“Democracy is dead, long live sociocracy !” Gilles Charest.
Why not share power ?
We learn as we go. Iterations are key
Shorter iterations = more frequent learning + less deviation
The whole company moves in very short steps and we
communicate a lot
To learn and improve, measurements also are key.
AGILE PRINCIPLES … REFACTORED
• Shared vision + common « value function »
• Capacity planning + Iterations
• Learning + Information = knowledge
• Self-organising teams, and individuals
• Fail fast, measure and improve
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world:
the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt
the world to himself. Therefore all progress
depends on the unreasonable man.”
George Bernard Shaw