2011 Agile 1 30 session with Jim Highsmith

More raw notes – kinda live – from the Agile 2011 Conference.  Just as I was getting Expert Burn-out, Jim Highsmith’s presentation injected a sort of sweetness and possibility back into my mood. And post-lunch too!  This was one talk that I could not keep up with all the “great stuff” – could not type notes as fast as stuff I found valuable.  Maybe I’m over note-taking, maybe not, but it is a reflection of how great I thought this talk was.  After the talk, I asked Jim if we need to start with Scrum 101, followed by the book.  He thinks yes, but when you get to a certain point, you can transcend.  I have heard a variety of viewpoints on this over the past day and a half.  Will keep exploring.  More notes follow.  (I wrote the above mostly later).

First talked about meeting with Cisco CEO, John Chambers, and how he wants to turn a hierarchical organization into a democrcy.  Mentioned an IBM global study – 2010 – showing CEOs do not feel equipped to deal with complexity.  [Found this; http://www.jimhighsmith.com/2011/05/16/enterprise-agility-generates-30-higher-profits/%5D

Agility can be about driving, creating change and responding to danger / change.

Responsiveness vs efficiency
Transformer – cervo
Google – walmart

Does Google worry about efficiency? Walmart does.

Executive from Walmart attended Agile Executive conference yesterday.

Stephen Denning giving talk today. [I’m gonna go!]

Experimental mindset – in GAP stores group about efficiency not responsiveness. (makes me think money required for responsiveness).

Comprehensive Automated testing – Steve green Salesforce.com – 100,000 automated tests.

Other side of axis, business has to be more adaptable because stuff is coming out faster.

How do we need to be more responsive to our customer.

Most people in audience had agility only in software side. If agility really important need a Chief Agility Officer as much as a CTO.

Lonely Planet is using story cards and iterations in legal and accounting department.

Doing Agile: being agile
Speed to value

Quality dipped in one case study due to change In management.

We’ve asked developers to do hard things. Need to ask managers to do too.

Do less > quality
Engage/ inspire

Michael Mah – agile metrics guru – QSM Associates

Managers must ynderstand – If you focus on schedule you won’t get quality and you will get a longer schedule.

Be adaptive but be predictable results from measuring wrong things. Constraints are scope schedule cost – but not objectives. Objective is deliver customer value today.

Value (releasable), quality (adaptable), constraints – agile triangle.

Do the simplest thing possible that delights the customer.
– throughput

(great presentation cannot even keep up with notes)

Standish group study – Jim Johnson 2002

Do less: eliminate marginal value.

Build half a product that kicks ass. – 37 signals

We incent pms not to reduce scope but just on-time.

Value curve needs to exceed your cost curve after abfew iterations.

Kanban: reduce w-I-p we do not realize how bad it is.

Autonomy – self organized teams
Mastery – doing something well
Purpose – idea of working on something of value

Difference between being half-assed and half-done. Take a partial completion approach.

Be the change you want to see in your organization.

Dee Hock: visa – simple clear purpose and principles give rise to complex intelligent behavior
Complex rules….

Leadership style comes from walt disney – walt acted whole movie in front of animators (snow white)

Jurgen Appelo book

Adapting, exploring, facilitating and riding paradox

Traditional managers resist change. Focus on following plan with minimal change. Agile leader sees change as bringing out new information.

Predictable versus adaptable. Gantt chart focus first on schedule second on activities.

This is turned around by stories. Jeff Deluca from feature-driven agile (parking lot)

Schedule is a constraint.

Example of iridium and movie titanic. Iridium was a pm success but not to user. Failed.

Purpose alignment model, ooda loop, short horizon model, satir change model.

We lock ourselves into a budget 6 months in advance – and lots changes in 6 months!

Looked at pm booms and barely found any info on decision-making.

Most work in plan-do environment, assumes a lot known upfront. Explore leaves room for what we don’t know.

Facilitating – just because self org team does not mean leader does not make decisions. Leaders should step in and provide clarity. Recognize when teams are spinning.

Decisions made in consultation but once a month “because I said so” decisions.

Riding paradox. What if it is predictability and adaptability? How to be an “and” not an “or” manager.

Not okay to be uncertain in management circles. This must change.

On agile you admit to uncertainty upfront and gain certainty as they go along. Many managers prefer to be certain about things they know won’t work!

You have to do Agile 101 – but organizations must do. Like Picasso. At first painted traditionally then broke rules.

All models are flawed but potentially useful. He included Waterfall. He believes in hybrid.

White paper at thought works.


Keep tying it back to need for responsiveness. Best Agile is top down AND bottom up.

Organizational anti-bodies come out and attack.

Lot of top-level execs at Exec conference. Jim excited because not working against each other.

Middle Managers get a bad rap.

Managers who are courageous looking to improve morale.

Think of how many projects Google has put out that has failed.

Change model filters out stuff you should NOT do – product, customer, and biz model.

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