I’m a consultant working on the border between business and technology.
Over ten years of experience in industrial research at Philips, NXP and Orange have left me with an appreciation of working on projects with high uncertainty but, at the same time, with an observation that the most difficult obstacles to a commercial success are often not technical but business related. It seems that to succeed under uncertain and changing conditions we need both the clarity of our goals as well as operational excellence. In other words, our organization must be an efficient agile machine heading in the correct direction.
It does sound obvious and we have spent decades perfecting both aspects… or did we? The longer I work in our field and the more I study it the more I’m convinced that too often we are forgetting our own history and guiding principles. I like bringing them back to light — it often makes our daily challenges simpler.
If we truly believe that software development belongs to the "complex" domain of the Cynefin model it means we have to embrace tools and ways of thinking that work in that domain. I know that it sounds obvious but are we really doing it?
When we pursue the next methodology, certification or a framework that is supposed to help us, are we truly thinking in terms of taming a complex system? When we pay for a tool or a book that promises a recipe for success, have we embraced living in the complex domain? When we copy a solution that worked in a company of a different size, maturity and culture are we looking for an inspiration or hoping for a working solution?
Let's take a step back and think again what it means to live in the complex domain, because this is, by definition, what being agile is about. Once we get back to basics we might have a different and hopefully simpler idea of what it takes to success here.
In this talk I would like to briefly re-examine what the term "complex" really means and what are its consequences; then go through some common practices and patterns found in agile companies to see how they fit their purpose. I am not saying that our tools and frameworks are wrong but I know we are not always using them correctly or at least not to their full advantage. By the end of the talk I hope you will have fresh ideas about how to continue to improve your work, your team and your organization.Slides Video