All posts in Agile

Does this sound familiar?

You have probably been to a presentation or a sales pitch where you have heard things like:

We bring Cloud based solutions into your development environment with an Agile methodology that ensures Lean delivery on-time and on-budget.

Next time you hear something like this, try asking if he or she can describe two parts of the Agile Manifesto? Chances are that he or she cannot.

Why is that so? The reason is that Agile and Lean is the new super hot buzz word, the silver bullet to solve everything, the war to end all wars. The problem is not that that most people do not do Agile properly but merely use it as a selling point. The problem is that very few managers can tell the difference. Can you?

It is actually quite simple

Agile is basically about communication, trust and accountability. Thats it!

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Why you need a simple technical setup

You need a simple technical setup because you need to have full control over your production line. An overly complex technical setup means that you cannot support your business with the functionality they need, when they need it. This again leads to loss of revenue.

The less cogs and wheels we have in the machine, the less can go wrong. Have you ever been in a situation where you couldn’t go-live due to technical issues that you couldn’t solve? If so, then you know why a simple technical setup is a good thing.

How did it get “un-simple”?

Complex Setup
Complex Setup

Over the years our IT ecosystems have gotten more and more complex. We used to work on a single machine, using only two or three programming languages. The system landscape today is a lot more complex. Clustered servers, different sorts of server types for different tasks, a mix of data interchange formats, integration middleware, several different programming languages and a mix of different operating systems, just to name a few.

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The Alignment Trap

Categories: Agile
Comments: No

In a recent study from Bain Analysis, where senior and business executives from 504 companies participated, nearly 3/4 answered that they believed that their IT capabilities was neither highly aligned with their business goals nor highly effective. These companies are found in the Maintenance zone. Average IT budget and a business growth 2% below average, which can be seen below.

Alignment Trap
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I have often wondered why big programs tend to end up in big failures and I think I have finally understood the dynamics behind it. Having taken part in several big programs myself, that all failed one way or the other, I have felt it on my own body and it is not a nice feeling. Recently I was involved with a program that had tried and failed 3 times using the same approach.

By the way, by big programs I do not mean, say a Java program with tons of lines of code, but a collection of projects intending to make major changes to an organization.
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Note: This is the english version of Jeppe’s qed.dk blog post

There is an interesting change in the approach to SOA and it comes from an unexpected area.

I have worked with SOA (a great acronym which really says nothing as it has been watered out) for over 10 years and through my time I have seen companies build more and more hierarchy (or rather layers) and structure into their SOA landscape as a way to achieve “business agility through business and IT alignment and increased recycling”. If you tend to get a gag reflex by hearing the phrase, I feel you.

The idea and the intention is good, but the execution many places is to the grade F-. Instead of having achieved agility through loosely coupled services, these companies instead end up with hard-coupled services, an expensive and cumbersome organizational Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), which is placed centrally to coordinate the hundreds to thousands of services we have built. It is a bit like herding sheep with a chest freezer and a rope tied to each sheep.
Let me make it clear, I don’t believe SOA, nor the ESB, is to be blamed for these failures. In my experience it has been the way they were implemented and deployed that cause the majority of problems.

Herding sheep using a chest freezer and rope

Herding sheep using a chest freezer and rope

It’s messy and unstable. Not unstable as in the ESB is unstable, but unstable in that we’re desperately trying to create order out of chaos without understanding the mechanisms of action.
Let me make it clear, I don’t believe SOA, nor the ESB, is to be blamed for these failures. In my experience it has been the way SOA were implemented and deployed that has caused the majority of problems.
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