Lean and the Reasons for Going Agile - Part 1

November 30, 2006 — Posted by Jim Trott

Listen to the podcast Lean and the Reasons for Going Agile - Part 1

We have been snowed in here in Seattle for the last week. It wasn’t that much snow, relative to Milwaukee, where I spent some of my childhood, but it was enough to disrupt most of our infrastructure. We just are not used to thinking about snow here. How to drive in it, what to do if we get stuck, how to adjust. It took my neighbor almost 8 hours to get from his Microsoft office to home the other night. Just a nightmare.

I took my 16 year old daughter out on the ice to teach her how to drive. She needed to learn a new way of thinking so that she could adapt to the new realities she faced. Her normal thought processes would just land her in a ditch. She needed a coach to help adjust her thinking and time to practice. My hair isn’t too much whiter today, I’m pleased to say.

In the same way, it is increasingly apparent that the older ways we did product development are inadequate. The world feels like it is changing and we need the skills to be flexible and adapt to these new situations. Perhaps it was always thus, but it is even more so now. We have to learn new ways of thinking, not just a new set of tools. Principles inform process and technique.

Lean and Agile are these new ways to think about software product development. Lean provides the compelling reasons for going Agile. These are not often talked about in the Agile community, but are well worth considering to motivate the adoption of Agile. The more you understand the principles of Lean thinking, the more powerfully you can implement the processes of Agile and the tools of Lean.

The bottom-line is that agile helps development teams get their projects done quickly. It helps to make development teams very much more effective. Lean helps the organization to deliver value to customers quickly while retaining the ability to add value quickly in the future.

Alan Shalloway has been talking to customers across the country about this. In this show and the next, Alan and I will consider what he feels are the five most compelling reasons for going Lean-Agile:
• Add value to the business quickly
• Gaining clarity on customers’ needs
• Projects can be managed better
• Early feedback makes for motivated teams
• Engineer practices favor Agile

In this podcast, we talk about the first point, adding value to the business quickly. I confess that I am torn about stopping here because the next points flow rather nicely from this. But, if I didn’t stop, it would be an hour long and that is just too long for this format, I think. So, be sure to listen to this and the next podcast together!

In this podcast, Alan refers to two diagrams in his podcast:

The case for iterative development:

Comparing profit and break even analysis for release strategies

Develop the product mix to maximize what the customer is clear about and do not work on what they must speculate about

Planning development of the product to deliver value quickly

Scheduling Note

Over the next several months, Alan and I plan to have a series of discussions to delve into what he is learning and deepen our understanding about why this is so important to people doing product development. He has been teaching the Lean-Agile Overview with major companies across the US and overseas and is bursting with important insights. These are going to be longer podcasts, so I may only get 2 or 3 a month, so keep a watch for them. They will always be posted on this blog site, so keep looking for them.

These are going to be longer podcasts, so I may only get 2 or 3 a month, so keep a watch for them. They will always be posted on this blog site, so keep looking for them.

Make this series useful for you

I want this to be very useful to you and want to dive into the issues you care most about. So, I would appreciate it if you would drop me a note to jim.trott@netobjectives.com with the topics you want us to cover. This blog and podcast series is really about how we can provide value to you.

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Music used in this podcast:

For more information, contact info@netobjectives.com or visit us at https://www.netobjectives.com/

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About the author | Jim Trott

Jim Trott is a senior consultant for Net Objectives. He has used object-oriented and pattern-based analysis techniques throughout his 20 year career in knowledge management and knowledge engineering. He is the co-author of Design Patterns Explained: A New Perspective on Object-Oriented Design, Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility, and the Lean-Agile Pocket Guide for Scrum Teams.



        

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Al Shalloway
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Cory Foy
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Guy Beaver
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Tom Grant
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