Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Agile Manifesto Dilemma

The agile manifesto has served us well now for 13 years and is still as valid as ever.   The only problem now is that the agile mindset is expanding beyond software development, and when presenting the manifesto I often get asked about "Working Software over comprehensive documentation".  This does seem to limit agile to the area of software development, which is not true as it can be used in many areas.

So why don't we be agile about the manifesto itself and embrace change?   Perhaps it's time to tweak the wording slightly - what about

"Delivering value over comprehensive documentation?"

This small change would move the perception of agile into a whole new world, and actually describes more what we are trying to achieve.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Agile Programme Management

I have been working most of this year with Jennifer Stapleton and Adrian Hicks on creating guidance for Agile Programme Management,  soon to become one of the latest in the excellent DSDM publications.

Judging from the response from the DSDM members day in London and the APMG showcase last week, the effort has been worth it.  The interest in it far exceeded expectations, with many wanting early copies and some even wanting to be early pilots.  This seems to show that all the hard work could pay off.

We embarked on the initiative because of current trends in Agile.  The success of Agile at the team level has left many organisations wanting more - wanting to tie it into their governance models and wanting to use it for large scale projects and programmes.  In fact, I have been speaking at quite a few conferences recently and the themes are always around scaling, enterprise-wide implementation and cultural shift to get the most from it.  So Agile Programme Management fits well into this trend.

I think it is an exciting time for Agile now.  I find myself no longer having to give reasons why it should be used, but more to give advice on how it can be used, particularly at scale.  In all that though, I hope the essence of team level agility remains and that we learn from nature when we think about scaling properly.  I recently wrote an article on this, replicated at

on the DSDM web site).

So onwards and upwards for agile - long may it continue!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Pushing the boundaries of agile

Over the past two weeks I have three quite different experiences of Agile in the real world.  They were all good experiences and confirmed my belief that Agile is becoming part of the fabric of organisations.

I was very honoured to be asked to give an Agile course to MSc students at a University just outside London.  Whilst many of the students started with little or no knowledge of Agile, they soon embraced the concepts behind it and saw the benefits of using approaches such as DSDM, SCRUM, KANBAN and Lean.  This culminated in them taking and passing the Agile Foundation qualification from DSDM ( aimed at testing generic agile knowledge and mindset as opposed to adherence to one practice or another.

In my whistlestop two week journey, my next station was Washington DC to a seminar organised by AFEI (  The audience this time were from US government departments and also the Software Engineering Institute.  As with governments across the globe, they have been reticent to adopt agile as it appeared not a good fit to their regulations and processes.

Now Agile is becoming more prevalent in large enterprises, and there are frameworks such as the DSDM framework that address governance issues, the barriers have come down and the move to Agile in government can go full steam ahead.

The audience really enjoyed the one day DSDM seminar, run in parallel with a SAFe seminar, and many thought DSDM was a good framework for government.

So a brief stop back at base then on to Copenhagen and the two day Nordic Project Zone , targeted mainly at Project Managers and particular those using PMI.

There were three tracks - one dedicated to Agile, showing how important it is to PMs, even if some agilists believe you can do without them (which I do not).  Again I was extremely pleased to be asked  to chair the Agile track as well as presenting and running Birds of Feather session on Agile at the Enterprise level.  The quality of the talks was extremely high and the track was well attended.  Topics ranged from building high performing agile teams that are geographically and culturally dispersed, measuring value and cost of delay as a means to prioritisation, scaling agile to enterprise level and the role of the PMO in Agile.

I am looking forward to the next Project Zone in Frankfurt next April.

Tiring as the trip was, it is great to see Agile pushing its boundaries further and further.