Posts Tagged ‘LeSS’

Scaling Up Agile

March 23, 2016 2 comments

Lo and behold, the four phases of scaling up agile:

Agile Scaling

So, what are you waiting for? Whip out your checkbook and hire that LeSS or SAFe expert that’s been ringing your phone of the hook. It’ll turn out just fine.

Categories: management Tags: , ,

I Dunno

August 10, 2015 Leave a comment

A dear twitter friend recently sent me a link to this case study written by a LeSS management consultant: “Thales Surface Radar”. Since I’ve been an active contributor to the development of multi-million dollar air defense and air traffic control radars for decades, I was excited to finally see a case study directly applicable to my domain of interest.

On my first reading, I found it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Sadly, I experienced the same frustrating feeling on my second read-through – even though I slooowed down and arduously tried to absorb the content. Honestly, I tried, I really tried. I’m just not smart enough to “get it“. No “ah-hah!” moments for BD00.


I think the case study is just another self-promoting, fluffy, smoke-and-mirrors piece written by a stereotypical consultant who wants your money. What do you think?

Less Msgs



Categories: management Tags: ,

By How Much?

June 27, 2015 6 comments

Thanks to a social media friend, I was directed to an agile transformation case study written by a management consultant and posted on the consultancy’s site along side several other huge success stories. At the end of the long writeup, the following outcomes were asserted:

Xform Outcomes

When I see fancy, professionally-crafted, “qualitative” success lists like these, knowing that they are touted by highly subjective people whose livelihoods require the projection of infallibility, my BS detector starts beeping. For this specific list, these questions come to mind:

  • Feature time-to-market has been reduced“: by how much?
  • Ability to release frequently has been increased“: by how much?
  • Technical debt has been reduced“: by how much?
  • Reactivity to portfolio prioritization is much improved“: by how much?
  • “WIP has been reduced”: by how much?
  • Morale is strongly improved within and between teams“: by how much?
  • Trust between sites is improved“: by how much?
  • The dispersion of development over many sites has been reduced“: by how much?
  • Global product and technical leadership is visible“: by how much?
  • How much did this 18 month transformation cost the client? How much money did you make?
  • How much have client revenues increased and costs decreased as a result of your effort?

Of course, no quantitative percentages were given because no pre-transformation benchmarking was performed. If benchmarking was indeed performed, there would’ve been a chance that the before-and-after metrics may have driven the client to conclude that the whole effort was a huge waste of time and money.

huge success

It’s funny how managers who love to hold others accountable for adhering to micro-defined, quantitatively specified, burndown charts, not only get to evaluate themselves, but they get to do so qualitatively, with no supporting data.

In God we trust; all others must bring data. – W. E. Deming

In Consultants we trust; all others must bring data. – BD00

The Same Script, A Different Actor

A huge, lumbering dinosaur wakes up, looks in the mirror and sez: “WTF! Look how ugly and immobile I am!“. After pondering its predicament for a few moments, Mr. Dino has an epiphany: “All I gotta do is go on a diet and get a makeover!“. Diet Makeover It’s the same old, same old, script:

  1. A large company’s performance deteriorates over time because of increasing bureaucracy, apathy, and inertia.
  2. Wall St. goes nutz, pressuring the company to take action.
  3. A new, know-it-all, executive with a successful track record is hired on to improve performance.
  4. The nouveau executive mandates sweeping, across-the-board, changes in the way people work without consulting the people who do the work.
  5. The exec makes the rounds in the press, espousing how he’s gonna make the company great again.
  6. After all the hoopla is gone, the massive change effort flounders and all is forgotten – it’s back to the status quo.

The latest incarnation of this well worn tale seems to describe what’s happening in the IT department at longtime IT stalwart, IBM: IBM CIO Designs New IT Workflow for Tech Giant Under Pressure. We’ve heard this all before (Nokia, Research In Motion, Sun, etc):

The mission is to have innovation and the speed of small companies .. and see if we can do that at scale – IBM Corp. CIO Jeff Smith

I’ll give you one guess at to what Mr. Smith’s turnaround strategy is…

Give up? It’s, of course, “Large Scale, Distributed, Agile Development“.

I can see all the LeSS (Large Scale Scrum) and SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) consultants salivating over all the moolah they can suck out of IBM. Gotta give ’em credit for anticipating the new market for “scaling Agile” and setting up shop to reap the rewards from struggling, deep-pocketed, behemoths like IBM.

It’s ironic that IBM wants to go Agile, yet a part of their business is (was?) to provide Agile consulting expertise to other companies. In fact, one of their former Agile consultant employees, Scott Ambler, invented his own Agile processes: Agile Unified Process (AUP) and Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD). On top of that, look who wrote this:

agile for dummies

Obviously, not all massive turnaround efforts fail. In fact, IBM did an about face once before under the leadership of, unbelievably, a former Nabisco cookie executive named Lou Gerstner. I like IBM. I hope they deviate from the script and return to greatness once again.

Categories: business, management Tags: , ,
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