Posts Tagged ‘organizational change’

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Wasting Time…Agile-ly

April 1, 2011

You have probably heard of Bruce Tuckman’s model describing the stages of group development – Form, Storm, Norm, and Perform.   Unfortunately many in the agile community seem to be stuck in the storm stage.  You see it in discussions that often center on positions such as: “You’re not really agile unless you are doing <insert favorite agile practice here>” or “<Insert practice being disparaged here> is not agile.  <Insert agile theory here> is agile.” or “<Insert agile solution being sold here> is the ‘right’ or ‘only’ way to do agile.” 

The latest skirmish line I have noticed is the Bottom Up vs. Top Down agile adoption arguments.  In general, the bottom up camp supports adoption starting at the team level, with adoption bubbling up, eschewing the heavy hand of corporate process improvement initiatives.  The top down camp posits that bottom up won’t produce sustainable change and that adoption must be driven from the organization level, pushing down.  (Hmmm. I wonder what Friedman and Keynes would think.) 

Why waste time entertaining such squabbles?  Stepping back to get a little perspective, clearly for any significant change to be successful you have to approach it from both the top and bottom.  The people must be educated and mentored on the new competencies.  The organization must create a structure and environment in which the people and the new changes can thrive. 

Both Dan Akerson and Matt Barcomb pragmatically discuss how to introduce agile from the bottom without ignoring the need to change the organization at the top. 

What successful approaches have you experienced (from top or bottom) that might help others improve their agility?

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SOA by the Numbers

January 4, 2010

SOA has not ended hunger or achieved world peace (some of the early marketing came close to promising everything) but it has achieved major inroads in software / systems development.  However, its level of “success” still appears to be a bit muddled. 

Loraine Lawson recently posted a pragmatic look (at ITBusinessEdge.com 29 Dec 2009) at statistics gathered in a Forrester report regarding companies’ satisfaction level with their SOA initiatives.

One of the most interesting statistics is that only 24% of the companies surveyed have (or are working on) an enterprise-level SOA strategy.  Hopefully, this is not indicative of the lingering mindset that SOA = web services.  SOA is really a strategic architectural approach to aligning business and IT (and seeing that the report reflects this is quite satisfying).  To achieve that in its fullest requires quite an investment in not only technology (e.g. an altered development process, modeling, choreography, architecture, reuse, business activity monitoring, business process management, re-skilling and so forth) but may also require organizational change – always a difficult adjustment.  This level of commitment is difficult for all but the largest organizations and even then it is a true challenge.

So follow the above link and enjoy Ms. Lawson’s article and the report.

–Bob Maksimchuk (www.ProjectPragmatics.com )