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Showing posts from February, 2010

In Praise of Middle Management

On a recent post on on Scrum's (alleged) shortcomings,  Bob Martin (aka Uncle Bob) wrote:
Scrum carries an anti-management undercurrent that is counter-productive. Scrum over-emphasizes the role of the team as self-managing. Self-organizing and self-managing teams are a good thing. But there is a limit to how much a team can self-X. Teams still need to be managed by someone who is responsible to the business. Scrum does not describe this with enough balance. I agree with Bob: Self-organizing teams can focus too much on themselves. This can manifest itself as an uncooperative relationship with other teams and/or as an antagonistic relationship with management.

In a theoretically perfect Scrum organization, there might not be much of a middle management layer, just Product Owners and ScrumMasters guiding their interdisciplinary teams on a quest of building better products and services while continuously improving their ability to do so.

The current state of the organization is …

XP Day Suisse, Geneva, 29 March 2010

The agile community is strong and active throughout Switzerland. On March 29, Agile-Swiss.org will be holding the XP Day Suisse in Geneva. This is one day event with a management track and technical (or should I say team?) track.

In any case, I am pleased to be invited to talk about Agile Contracting and look forward to seeing people I know, like François Bachmann, and meeting many people I don't.

It looks like a great event! Check out the program or go directly to registration.


Agile Software Development and Governance

Today, Pierre Neis journeyed down from Luxembourg to talk to us about Agile and Project Governance. He talked about a 2-team Scrum project he had coached for a large organization and how that project tracking was integrated into their corporate governance tools. He then talked about a flavor of earned value management 'Agile-EVM' which he applied to the project.

EVM strikes me as an oxymoron: an inherent contradiction, like 'military intelligence' or 'serious play'. EVM was created to track the creation of value vs the accumulation of costs. A series of indexes get reduced down to a green/amber/red traffic light which indicates whether the project is on track or not.

The only trouble is, a waterfall project does not produce any customer value until the test phase is complete. So the EVM concept is meaningless when applied to a waterfall project.

The situation is quite different when applied to an agile project. A Scrum project produces finished functionality, i…