Essence, an Antidote to Method Prisons

In Ivar Jacobson and Co’s new book, “The Essentials of Modern Software Engineering”, it is abundantly clear that there is a powerful overarching message that grips not only the world of software engineering, but also the world of agile. This article serves as a review of the book but also expands some of its thinking beyond software engineering.

“The Essentials of Modern Software Engineering” is as triumphant in its effectively simple approach to teaching software engineering as it is progressive when applying critical thinking to methods and practices. 

Having worked as a professional with agile delivery, change and transformation expertise in large enterprises for over 10 years, the basic problem the book addresses head on, namely that of “freeing the practices from the method prisons” befittingly translate outside of the software engineering domain and into the domain of agile methods and practices. Hence this perspective is the one I am using to write this review of Ivar and Co’s brilliant book, “The Essentials of Modern Software Engineering”. Befittingly because the agile movement is rooted in software engineering and then evolved into the domains of business and organisations. So, 19 years later from the writing of the Agile Manifesto for Software Development, we have now come full circle; back to Software Engineering to solve our “method prisons” problem.

It was some of the most progressive software engineering minds that put that Manifesto together solving a very real problem of how we should think about developing software in an age where advancing technologies outpaced archaic management practices and tragically in many places still do. Whilst the Manifesto may have been successful to an extent and undoubtedly made software development thinking and practices better, agile has evolved beyond its previous confines of the software engineering domain and into business and organisations with the tour-de-force of a thousand management consultancies and training organisations eager to sell you an out of box agile solution. 

Today, agile is being used and taught sometimes without the slightest reference to software engineering with exception perhaps to its origins story. 

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Where Agile is Being


Here I discuss some of my thoughts on the Agile Industry in general and suggest that it is not necessarily innovating, but rather Agile has gotten stuck. I will suggest that this is largely due to the overt focus on doing agile whilst not paying enough attention to being agile. Finally, we will see that Agnostic Agile helps to bridge this gap through its twelve principles and its ongoing publication of content.

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Is Agile not simply the use of common sense?

By Karin Schijf

My goal as an Agile coach is to really help the client. To make sure we move along in an Agile way with the ever-faster and ever-changing circumstances. For example, to stay ahead of your competitors, to improve quality, and to adjust and modernise certain ways of working. With improved business results as the outcome of the process.
I have noticed that certain organisations have turned Agile into somewhat of a goal, rather than a tool. Organisations that boast about their high Agile maturity are not necessarily the frontrunners in their industry or field. Common sense remains important in order to obtain results. Is the way we work today still logical, considering everything we know now that we didn’t know yesterday?

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The Biggest Question when Scaling Agile 

By Michael Küsters

This article was first published on Fail Fast Move On on November 17, 2016
Pretty much every large company states, “We need an agile scaling framework”.
I do agree that when 50+ developers need to collaborate, then a scaling framework provides massive benefits. There is one question left unanswered. One unspoken, unchallenged assumption looms like a specter over every scaling approach. Before asking this question, I will list out the reasons why it needs to be answered.

Are you asking the right question?

Creating Complex Products

A complex system has, by definition, a fairly high complexity. A common assumption is that Divide+Conquer (D+C) is a good way to approach complex problems: Split one big problem into many smaller problems, distribute these and bring the solution back together. Sounds promising.
A Scaling framework can then be used to maximize the effectiveness of the D+C approach.

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Freeing Practices – introductory talk to Agnostic Agile (slides)

Frameworks provide the common language, guidance, events and ceremonies that govern how things “get done around here” for a lot of organisations, and they provide a great starting point. But how much common ground do they actually have?

The agile ‘industry’ suffers from a lot of dysfunction between practitioners, competing certification bodies and branded frameworks and methods. We still see people vehemently aligned to a single framework or method, disregarding others, and ultimately perpetuating the ‘one size fits all’ mentality. This is inherently not agile and is not true to the manifesto.
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