In a recent Skype conversation around agile, estimating, Little's Law and the #NoEstimate hashtag, the term agile community was used. My first reaction was whose agile community? The community of sole contributors? The community of $1B weapons systems and all in between?
My thoughts go back to the presentation below. There is a spectrum of project management processes built around agile. My experience starts with 5. Literally 5, since I have time in that aircraft. My software development management experience goes all the way to the end. And aircraft experience to 25.
And guideance for deploying agile
So Now Back To The Core Issues
If you're a sole contributor and have a customer sitting near by, estimating you cost, schedule, and technology outcomes is likely of little value. If you're in the other end, say the flight avionics systems for the 777, then the level of rigor, formality, reporting is different. Both use agile. Not all in the same way, but both write code using the principles of agile development
No credble management process would or should object to these principles and practices. Do to so means Doing Stupid Things on Purpose. So many of the motivators for not doing something are actually bad management. Let's not estimate, because estimates are misused is my favorite DDSTOP example.
Here's an example of how to connect the dots between these principles and practices in a more formal business management process - in this case Earned Value Management.
So when we hear the agile community and those representing the agile community which community is that?
There is a crass American term used in our domain.
When you see dysfunction, see something you don't understand, or see something that is counter to your paradigm - Follow the Money.
This is the basis of microeconomics of writing software for money. What is considered a waste or even evil in one domain is a critical success factor in another domain.
Ask some simple questions to establish this domain:
- What's the Value At Risk?
- Are you subject to any governance process?
- Is this project considered mission critical in any way? Project's that are not mission critical have little need to be successful on time, on budget, with the needed capabilities.
In The End
Can we have any meanigful disucssion about any topic in the absence of a domain and context? Especially when that topic is driven by Value at Risk, Governance, and business processes?
I'd say it is incumbent on those making a suggestion for example
To show in what domain this statement is applicable, how we would recognize its applicability outside the the domain of those making the suggestion, how we could test the suggestion to see if it is applicable, and most important what are the conditions that allow the suggestion to work in those domains?
- How can decisions be made in the absence of knowing the impact of those decisions? This is a violation of the principles of microeconomics.
- How can we spend other peoples money and not inform them about the probability of the total cost, delivery date, and confidence in delivering the needed capabilities?
- How can we plan for needed capacity in the absence of knowing what Done looks like in some unit of measure meaningful to the decision maker - not just the solution provider?