5/28/2009: "A Jet Engine On Your Pinto" - Nancy Van Schooenderwoert (Slides)
May 28, 2009
Nancy Van Schooenderwoert
A Jet Engine On Your Pinto: When HyperSpeed Agile Teams Pull a Slow Organization
If you piloted an agile team that was successful, you might start a few more. If they were successful, you might then initiate a push to convert the whole company as soon as possible. One company did just that— started forty agile teams, each one delivering impressive results. But it strained the organization so badly that the whole agile program was scrapped. They are not alone— others have experienced this. It's like installing a jet engine on an ordinary car; the engine will go fast but will tear the car apart. Unless you add the right support structures! We examine what these structures are for companies on their agile journey.
Organizations that move to agile practices will go through phases not unlike children growing up. Everyone goes through the classic stages— no exceptions. But knowing about them helps you cope more smoothly. Just as in growing up, there are many, many mistakes that are completely optional! An understanding of what has happened to others on their journey has long been the best form of learning for explorers of all kinds.
Nancy discussed the factors that have proven to make the transition easier for real teams and companies. The best people to lead a move to agile are a company’s own managers, not outside consultants. The strongest way to implement an agile learning culture is also the least expensive. How often do those coincide in real life?
There is a role for expert advice, but how will you know whether you're getting good advice when you aren't the subject expert? You’ll find out how ignoring a piece of very specific advice from one of the top agile luminaries saved Nancy from wrecking her agile team. There is a good solid "north star" type of guidepost for vetting agile advice you may receive from outsiders. We wrap up by looking at this key to staying safe on your agile journey.
About the Speaker
Nancy Van Schooenderwoert is an Agile Enterprise coach with over a decade of experience applying Agile practices as an engineer, manager, and consultant. She shows executives how to apply Agile and Lean principles to all their business process, not just software development. She has led Agile change initiatives in life-critical, highly regulated industries, and coached clients in the art of Agile technical and management leadership. Nancy's experience spans embedded software development and applications in aerospace, factory automation, medical devices, defense systems, as well as in financial services.
Ten years ago Nancy introduced agile techniques to embedded software, including safety-critical applications. She was among the first to publish advice on the techniques that work in real world embedded projects. She has introduced agile ideas and practices to another field where it was thought to be impossible— data warehousing and large data migrations. Coaches she mentored are now the leaders in this new field applying lean-agile principles to applications where data quality is central.
Nancy Van Schooenderwoert is Principal Coach at Lean-Agile Partners Inc. Lean-Agile Partners demonstrates to their customers ways to use and adopt agile practices in their organizations. They "teach their customers how to fish" by training customer staff to coach agile teams. Working with both their customers' management and technical teams, Lean-Agile Partners helps companies design, plan, and implement their Agile adoption programs. Customers get the benefit of Lean-Agile Partners' experience while staying in control of their Agile transformation.
Nancy holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology and is a regular contributor of articles and advisories for the Cutter IT Journal. Nancy holds a Scrum Master certification, has edited a column for the Agile Times, and served on the IEEE 1648 committee to define a standard for customers of agile teams. She has been a regular presenter at various Agile-related conferences since 2003, and also at the Embedded Systems conference. Her work in applying Agile methods to embedded systems has been referenced by Jim Shore and Mary Poppendieck in their recent books. She speaks at numerous software professional gatherings, and is currently active on the board of the Agile New England.
Regulus Technology, LLC
Lean/Agile Project Leadership and Team Staffing, Training and Coaching
Big Visible Solutions
A premier provider of agile enablement and training solutions