Welcome to Agile in the Real World
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Welcome to Agile in the Real World!
One of my all time favorite movies is the Matrix. It was released around 1999 when I was working for Warner Bros. My favorite part was when Morpheus and Neo are in a martial arts training simulator. Neo is frustrated that he can't hit Morpheus and he is "out of breath". Keep in mind, both Neo and Morpheus are actually just sitting in contraptions with jacks plugged into the backs of their skulls. Morpheus says to to Neo "Do you think that's air you're breathing right now?" Again, it is all in Neo's mind: the training, the physical interaction, his being out of breath. How do we know, as we claim to be rational beings, whether or not our experience actually aligns with reality? Are you really sitting there reading this? Or are you just a brain in a "vat", getting "sensory" data from cables and connections from a Supercomputer? How would you know and how would you find out?
Do you think that's Agile you're doing right now?
It's been over a decade since the release of the first Matrix movie and about the same (more or less) since the Agile Manifesto was signed. And we are no closer to knowing whether or not a company, project or a team is really agile, or if it's just their "sensory" perception. There is no standard for Agile, no test to verify that you are agile. So how do you know and why should you care?
The reality of doing Agile in the "real world" is much different than what we read in the spate of Agile books. According to Mike Gualtieri, Forrester Analyst, there are 1,813 books about Agile on Amazon.com in his article ” Agile Software Is A Cop-Out; Here’s What’s Next". A very interesting and provocative article that challenges the conventional agile wisdoms and suggests that there must be a better way. After all, if Agile were so simple and easy why are there so many books, blogs and conferences about agile. Can we ever obtain the nirvana spouted by the agile purists?
Have you ever had a sense that what you were doing was just a dream that you thought was so real?
According to Dave West, VP, Research, Forrester "Organizations are adopting Agile through a combination of bottom-up adoption and top-down change. But the reality of Agile adoption has diverged from the original ideas described in the Agile Manifesto, with many adoptions resembling what Forrester labels water-Scrum-fall. Mr. West goes on to say "This model is not necessarily bad, but if application development professionals do not carefully consider and make the right decisions about where the lines fall between water-Scrum and Scrum-fall, they are unlikely to realize Agile's benefits." I could not agree more.
The purpose of my weekly blog is to help real organizations understand when and how Agile can benefit them. It will also cover how to ensure that agile projects align to the overall IT strategy, how agile affects the whole organization, how to integrate Agile into the enterprise and how to get started.
Next week, I will blog about "Debunking the Myths around Agile in the Enterprise" and I will follow that up with a series of blogs about the "What's Next" in Agile that IBM has been working on; Agile 2.0, if you will. Let's face it Agile development has crossed the chasm, but 10 years since its inception, IT professionals are still struggling with ways to integrate agile methods and practices into the enterprise.
I'm thinking this is an exciting opportunity for us to discuss, fuss, agree or disagree and talk about the way we help customers get there. I invite you to join in the discussion and help pave the way forward.
Richard Knaster is the IBM Rational Worldwide Practice Manager for Agile and CCM. He helps customers all over the world implement Agile methods, practices and tools. Richard is a member of IBM's QSE Agile Leadership team. He has over 20 years experience in software development from practitioner to executive. He is also a contributor to the PMI Portfolio and Program Management standards and is an Agile Planning and Portfolio Management expert. Richard also has expertise in Business Process Engineering, Measured Improvement and is a PMI PMP, a mix that proves valuable when helping organizations' transition from traditional to modern development practices.