From agile software development
to building an agile company
Damien THOUVENIN
ALE 2013
Bucharest
August 28th-30th
#ALE13 @...
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 wa...
DISCLAIMER
This is not a lecture
This is not a retrospective
It’s story
A story about me and my company
It’s a story about...
WHAT ABOUT ME ?
1980: Computer Kid (IBM 5100)
2001: From TDD to full-grade XP – As a software editor, XP is cool !
2004: F...
WHAT ABOUT THE COMPANY ?
Founded 2004 (Me+Ludovic, 12K €)
First 3 years “lost” trying to know what we want, then growth
No...
THE GOAL
• Make selling easy : deliver high value to our customers
• Make our co-workers happy
• Work is meaningful
• You ...
THE GOAL, REFORMULATED
 Co-author solutions with our customers
rather than negotiate contracts
 Care for relationships a...
APPLY AGILE TO BUILDING A COMPANY ?
How do we build complex software ?
QUESTIONS (PARADOXES)
• Can we make money and not be greedy ?
• Should we grow ? How can we change and stay the same ?
• H...
TRIBUTE
SCALABILITY
Maths souvenirs from 1987 : A mathematical structure that is
infinitely self-similar; properties and appearanc...
Future Present Past
Strategy Management Measure
Marketing Production Administer
MOTIVATION (INTRAPRENEURSHIP)
Do whatever it is that you believe in, provided :
 It fits in the company project, values a...
CONTROL SECURITY
People (at least: my crowd) are not irresponsible. Our culture is based
on autonomy + responsibility.
Res...
COHESION
Conflicts are for power.
In most companies information is power.
Share information that is to take away the power...
LEARNING
We learn as we go. Iterations are key
Shorter iterations = more frequent learning + less deviation
The whole comp...
AGILE PRINCIPLES … REFACTORED
• Shared vision + common « value function »
• Capacity planning + Iterations
• Learning + In...
BE UNREASONABLE
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world:
the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt
the worl...
Ale 2013, from software devt to building an agile company
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Slides of my talk at ALE 2013: Why and how I've been investigating the matter of transposing the agile principles and practises into our company organization

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Ale 2013, from software devt to building an agile company

  1. 1. From agile software development to building an agile company Damien THOUVENIN ALE 2013 Bucharest August 28th-30th #ALE13 @cltservices
  2. 2. 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 goals » building an agile company is not my goal but it’s where my focus is FOREWORD
  3. 3. DISCLAIMER This is not a lecture This is not a retrospective It’s story 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
  4. 4. 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 ?
  5. 5. 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
  6. 6. THE GOAL • 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
  7. 7. 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 !
  8. 8. APPLY AGILE TO BUILDING A COMPANY ? How do we build complex software ?
  9. 9. QUESTIONS (PARADOXES) • 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 ?
  10. 10. TRIBUTE
  11. 11. SCALABILITY 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 ?
  12. 12. Future Present Past Strategy Management Measure Marketing Production Administer
  13. 13. MOTIVATION (INTRAPRENEURSHIP) 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 environement)  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 !
  14. 14. CONTROL SECURITY 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 Roles change
  15. 15. COHESION 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 ?
  16. 16. LEARNING 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.
  17. 17. AGILE PRINCIPLES … REFACTORED • Shared vision + common « value function » • Capacity planning + Iterations • Learning + Information = knowledge • Self-organising teams, and individuals • Fail fast, measure and improve
  18. 18. BE UNREASONABLE “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

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