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The Decline and Fall of Agile - Antifragile Mindset to Rescue

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What started off as a trial-and-error approach to improve the state of software development by a bunch of tinkerers, is today dominated by management consultants, "Thou-Shall" codified frameworks and rigid, expensive tools. Over the last 20 years, we've gone from, "I'm not sure, let's try this in a small-safe environment" to "you/your-team sucks; you guys have a very poor agile maturity because you are not doing _x_y_z_ (not conforming to the standards)." Along the way, we've lost the purpose of being agile .i.e. to embrace uncertainty and simplicity. Instead we've been forced to believe that consistency via top-down standardisation and predictability by increasing the rigour on process is our eternal quest. Anything that sounds simple and works 80% of the cases is discarded as being naive. What once drove thought-leader into agile, is now driving them insane. This is the unfortunate fate of Agile.

Luckily there has been some fresh perspectives from Nassim Taleb, author of Antifragile. His work explains how some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. More importantly why antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness.

In this talk, I'll use some of Nassim's thoughts (and some of my own) to explain what is wrong with our current approach to Agile and how we can bring life back into Agile. Particularly how we can leverage Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity to make product development more antifragile.

Published in: Software, Technology
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The Decline and Fall of Agile - Antifragile Mindset to Rescue

  1. 1. D E C L I N E A N D FA L L O F A G I L E A N T I F R A G I L E M I N D S E T T O R E S C U E Naresh Jain @nashjain http://nareshjain.com
  2. 2. Agile is for totally dysfunctional teams! I think you deserve something better…
  3. 3. I N T H E 8 0 ’ S - S O F T WA R E D E V E L O P M E N T P R O C E S S E S L O O K E D L I K E T H I S
  4. 4. T H I S L E D T O …
  5. 5. Heavyweight Process
  6. 6. More and more Upfront Planning
  7. 7. Strict Change Control
  8. 8. Over-reliance on documentation
  9. 9. Even if you saw things were going wrong, unable to React
  10. 10. Communication Gaps
  11. 11. R E S U LT ?
  12. 12. 50+% of Projects fall in Challenged Category Succeeded Failed Challenged Chaos Report 2006. Standish Group We need to do beBer than this …. IT Projects
  13. 13. Cost and Time Overruns….
  14. 14. Always 7% OKen 13% SomeNmes 16% Rarely 19% Never 45% Standish Group study reported at XP2002 by Jim Johnson, Chairman O"en or Always Used: 20% Rarely or Never Used: 64% 64% of Features Rarely or Never Used
  15. 15. How significant is requirements change on a project? “The average project has 30% requirements change” Requirements Change Increase ExponenNally
  16. 16. Frustration
  17. 17. Agile was about Embracing Uncertainty/Change via Simplicity
  18. 18. Agile was about Embracing Uncertainty/Change via Simplicity Its origins were rooted in Antifragile thinking
  19. 19. O V E R T H E Y E A R S … A G I L E H A S B E C O M E V E RY F R A G I L E
  20. 20. • F R A G I L E • R O B U S T & R E S I L I E N T • A N T I F R A G I L E A N T I F R A G I L E
  21. 21. F R A G I L E E a s i l y B ro k e n O r D a m a g e d B y A p p l y i n g S t re s s / P re s s u re
  22. 22. P R O P E R T I E S O F F R A G I L E
  23. 23. P R O P E R T I E S O F F R A G I L E • Dislikes variability and stress
  24. 24. P R O P E R T I E S O F F R A G I L E • Dislikes variability and stress • Seek to eliminate variability, noise, and tension
  25. 25. P R O P E R T I E S O F F R A G I L E • Dislikes variability and stress • Seek to eliminate variability, noise, and tension • Consistency/Standardisation driven
  26. 26. P R O P E R T I E S O F F R A G I L E • Dislikes variability and stress • Seek to eliminate variability, noise, and tension • Consistency/Standardisation driven • Overly optimised for specific use-case/scenario
  27. 27. P R O P E R T I E S O F F R A G I L E • Dislikes variability and stress • Seek to eliminate variability, noise, and tension • Consistency/Standardisation driven • Overly optimised for specific use-case/scenario • Prediction based
  28. 28. P R O P E R T I E S O F F R A G I L E • Dislikes variability and stress • Seek to eliminate variability, noise, and tension • Consistency/Standardisation driven • Overly optimised for specific use-case/scenario • Prediction based • Typically large
  29. 29. R E S I L I E N T A b l e To W i t h s t a n d O r R e c o v e r Q u i c k l y F ro m D i ff i c u l t C o n d i t i o n s
  30. 30. A N T I F R A G I L E A n t i f r a g i l e S y s t e m G a i n s F ro m D i s o rd e r / C h a o s , R a n d o m n e s s , U n c e r t a i n t y, Vo l a t i l i t y, C o m p l e x i t y & A m b i g u i t y. T h r i v e s O n Va r i a b i l i t y O r R a n d o m n e s s
  31. 31. Venture Capitalist
  32. 32. P R O P E R T I E S O F A N T I F R A G I L E
  33. 33. P R O P E R T I E S O F A N T I F R A G I L E • builds layers of redundancy to localise impact
  34. 34. P R O P E R T I E S O F A N T I F R A G I L E • builds layers of redundancy to localise impact • decentralized system with buffers & inventories (Opp. of J.I.T)
  35. 35. P R O P E R T I E S O F A N T I F R A G I L E • builds layers of redundancy to localise impact • decentralized system with buffers & inventories (Opp. of J.I.T) • dislike consistency/standardisation
  36. 36. P R O P E R T I E S O F A N T I F R A G I L E • builds layers of redundancy to localise impact • decentralized system with buffers & inventories (Opp. of J.I.T) • dislike consistency/standardisation • less is more / keep it small and simple (KISS) - large is vulnerable
  37. 37. P R O P E R T I E S O F A N T I F R A G I L E • builds layers of redundancy to localise impact • decentralized system with buffers & inventories (Opp. of J.I.T) • dislike consistency/standardisation • less is more / keep it small and simple (KISS) - large is vulnerable • encourage optionality by deferring decisions to the last responsible moment (hence is more opportunistic)
  38. 38. P R O P E R T I E S O F A N T I F R A G I L E • builds layers of redundancy to localise impact • decentralized system with buffers & inventories (Opp. of J.I.T) • dislike consistency/standardisation • less is more / keep it small and simple (KISS) - large is vulnerable • encourage optionality by deferring decisions to the last responsible moment (hence is more opportunistic) • dislike prediction (system based on prediction are fragile)
  39. 39. P R O P E R T I E S O F A N T I F R A G I L E • builds layers of redundancy to localise impact • decentralized system with buffers & inventories (Opp. of J.I.T) • dislike consistency/standardisation • less is more / keep it small and simple (KISS) - large is vulnerable • encourage optionality by deferring decisions to the last responsible moment (hence is more opportunistic) • dislike prediction (system based on prediction are fragile) • safe-fail, fail-frequently, fail-diversely
  40. 40. Commercial Break!
  41. 41. Copyright © 2012, Naresh Jain (@nashjain)
  42. 42. Mumbai
  43. 43. Tech Talks!
  44. 44. O V E R T H E Y E A R S … A G I L E H A S B E C O M E V E RY F R A G I L E
  45. 45. W H AT ’ S W R O N G W I T H A G I L E T O D AY ? W R I T E D O W N A F E W P O I N T S B A S E D O N Y O U R E X . Q U I C K P O L L :
  46. 46. S T O RY P O I N T S A N D V E L O C I T Y V E L O C I T Y I S K I L L I N G A G I L I T Y S T O P I T 1 :
  47. 47. # N O E S T I M AT E & C O N T I N U O U S D E P L O Y M E N T S C O N S TA N T LY D E L I V E R I N G VA L U E & VA L I D AT I N G I T A N T I F R A G I L E 1 : X
  48. 48. D E F I N I T I O N O F D O N E H A N G O V E R F R O M C H E C K L I S T D R I V E N P R O J E C T M A N A G E M E N T S T O P I T 2 :
  49. 49. # D E V O P S B U I L D P I P E L I N E S & S A F E - FA I L R O L L O U T A N T I F R A G I L E 2 : X
  50. 50. D E AT H B Y M E E T I N G S / C E R E M O N I E S M O R E P R O C E S S I S N O T T H E A N S W E R S T O P I T 3 :
  51. 51. N E G AT I VA T H R O W O U T P R A C T I C E S ( L E S S I S M O R E ) - R E D U C E D O W N S I D E A N T I F R A G I L E 3 : X
  52. 52. C O L L A B O R AT I O N A M P L I F I E D W H AT A B O U T S O L O - D E E P T H I N K I N G & A U T O N O M Y ? S T O P I T 4 :
  53. 53. Think of your best work-related idea
  54. 54. Think of your best work-related idea Where were you when you come up with this idea?
  55. 55. Think of your best work-related idea Where were you when you come up with this idea? How many of you were collaborating/working with other people when you come up with your most profound idea?
  56. 56. H O W M A N Y P E O P L E W R O T E T H E A G I L E M A N I F E S T O ?
  57. 57. S E T- B A S E D D E V E L O P M E N T I N D E P E N D E N T, A U T O N O M O U S , PA R A L L E L S A F E - FA I L E X P E R I M E N T S A N T I F R A G I L E 4 : X
  58. 58. T E C H N I C A L D E B T O V E R F L O W H O W L O N G W I L L E N G I N E E R I N G E X C E L L E N C E B E I G N O R E D ? S T O P I T 5 :
  59. 59. T H R O W AWAY C O D E F R E Q U E N T LY U S E F U L L - S TA C K P R O G R A M E R S T O B U I L D M I C R O S E R V I C E S A N T I F R A G I L E 5 : X
  60. 60. M I C R O - M A N A G E M E N T G O O D P E O P L E N E E D T H E I R S PA C E A N D T I M E S T O P I T 6 :
  61. 61. P R O G R A M M E R A N A R C H Y O R O P E N S O U R C E M O D E L H I R E G O O D P E O P L E A N D L E T T H E M B E S E L F - D I R E C T E D A N T I F R A G I L E 6 : X
  62. 62. S M & P O A R E H A L F - A * * E D R O L E S L A C K O F O W N E R S H I P & A C C O U N TA B I L I T Y S T O P I T 7 :
  63. 63. G A R A G E S TA RT U P S T Y L E L E A D E R S H I P L E T P O W E R C E N T R E S E M E R G E D Y N A M I C A L LY A N T I F R A G I L E 7 : X
  64. 64. P E R F O R M A N C E A P P R A I S A L S O M E E M P L O Y E E S W I L L A LWAY S G A M E T H E S Y S T E M S T O P I T 8 :
  65. 65. “Simple, clear purpose and principles give rise to complex and intelligent behaviour. Complex rules and regulations give rise to simple and stupid behaviour.” Dee Hock
  66. 66. O P E N S A L A R I E S A N D S K I N I N T H E G A M E B U I L D P O L I C I E S T O M A K E L I F E E A S Y F O R M A J O R I T Y N O T M I N O R I T Y A N T I F R A G I L E 8 : X
  67. 67. S C A L I N G A N D S U S TA I N I N G N I G H T M A R E S L A R G E I S V U L N E R A B L E A N D C O M P L E X S T O P I T 9 :
  68. 68. A U T O N O M O U S - A L I G N E D T R I B E S K E E P I T S M A L L A N D S I M P L E A N T I F R A G I L E 9 : X
  69. 69. C E RT I F I C AT I O N A B I L L I O N D O L L A R B U S I N E S S S T O P I T 1 0 :
  70. 70. G E N E R A L I S I N G S P E C I A L I S T S W I T H H A N D S - O N S K I L L S S P E C I A L I S T S C A N B E C O M E Q U I C K LY I R R E L E VA N T A N T I F R A G I L E 1 0 : X
  71. 71. A N D T H E L I S T G O E S O N …
  72. 72. T H A N K Y O U ! Q U E S T I O N S ? Naresh Jain @nashjain http://nareshjain.com

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