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June « 2015 « Ocean Web

Archive for June, 2015

How do you measure the success of an Agile transformation?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
posted by daveb

If there is a measurable definition of what Agile is, Cycle Time is it. Cycle Time is Agile distilled down to it’s very essence, with all the sentiment stripped away. To be Agile is to be responsive. Responsiveness means keeping up with the business, because if you are not keeping up, you are lagging further and further behind.

If I could choose just one measurement of Agile success (and it’s probably a good idea to have just one measure) I’d choose Cycle Time – that is time (in days) to turn a request or requirement into delivered business value (i.e. in production).

This is a very objective measure that is hard to kid yourself on. It’s also easy to measure, and it has direct meaning to stakeholders, business users/customers and team members alike.

So to test your success in becoming more Agile (whatever that means) test your Cycle Time before and after your transformation. This is easy enough to do – take a look at how long your average feature request took from inception to production before and after your transformation.

A Brief History of Agile

Monday, June 8, 2015
posted by daveb

Dozens of great books have been written around product and software development with lean/agile and related concepts over the last 50 years or so. While Agile is still young and evolving rapidly (bear in mind the term Agile was only coined in 2001) Lean and related concepts like the Theory of Constraints pre-date that term by decades. The Agile Manifesto was not the invention of iterative, business-focused development processes, it was just a milestone in its evolution towards mainstream adoption in software development. Very seldom have I seen an online resource even mention this fact – I guess the Internet believes history started in around 2000!

A small, random scattering of books to get some history on Agile and some insight into the origins of Lean and Theory of Constraints:

The Toyota Way
The Goal (Goldratt) 
The Mythical Man Month (Brooks) 
Extreme Programming Explained (Beck)
Lean Software Development (Poppendieck)
The Phoenix Project
Toyota Kata (Rother)
Peopleware (deMarco)
The Lean Startup

Hopefully some of these will lead you to deeper insight than online resources and get you past the hyperbole of Agile, towards seeing the 50+ years of solid evidence that supports its underlying hypothesis.