Friday, January 30, 2009

 

Convincing an organization that they aren't doing SCRUM...

In the military, there is an acroynm known as FUBAR. I have been curious to know if Grady Booch were to walk into a shop supposedly practicing the Rational Unified Process (RUP), would he actually recognize it...



One would have been much better off espousing the individual techniques that were used than claiming that the Scrum methodology was applied. Using only certain Scrum techniques and adopting only some of the Scrum characteristics may not preclude you from claiming you are agile. However, I would use this analogy to show why you cannot profess to be using true Scrum: Can you say you've made a batch of chocolate chip cookies if you leave out the chocolate chips?

Now, Let's focus on one Agile principle which is the notion of self-organizing teams. Now ask yourself, do you think this is even possible in the world of tainted governance? Consider that ducks when flying south for the Winter are self-organizing (Don't draw a mental picture of project management and all the quacking that occurs) or penguins. Did you know that male penguins stay in the middle of the antartic continent for months with an egg on their feet keeping each other warm? Self-organization requires leadership and sacrifice where very large enterprises are more centered around more selfish outlooks where it is rare that you are rewarded for sacrificing for the greater good.

Anyway, self-organizing works in that talent is not constrained to follow a pre-defined process. This is counter to the notion of governance and review cycles. I am an Agilist but also an Enterprise Architect who focuses on security, so the ability to live in an iterative world constrained by command and control is something I have come to grips with. Instead of sugar-coating my world, part of self-organizing is to acknowledge one's constraints and work around them accordingly.

Self-organization requires the ability to discover common passion kinda like pickup basketball games in the neighborhood. Two kids find they have the same passion and run with it. For me to be successful in the security space, I participate in OWASP which is the poster child for self-organizing teams. When my IT peers attend OWASP meetings, they tend to show their passion and we can all work towards a common goal.

Sadly, there is no passion in IT around other important domains. I haven't seen passion around approaches to BPM, business rules, ECM or even SOA. Sure, we can twist our false sense of worth in our day jobs with our grimace smiles into passion, but the results are transparent and we as a profession are failing. Self-organizing teams is what can best align business with IT for strategic competitive advantage...




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