Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Co-Presentation with Scott Ambler at Deloitte

It's been a while since I've had the opportunity to blog, but last week I had a opportunity to present on real-world agile development on large-scale projects with another firm employee, Sunny Ip, as well as the notable agile luminary Scott ambler . Our firm invited Scott to speak to some of our practitioners on why agile matters, and how it can be applied to environments that many critics state agile can not possibly thrive or succeed in.

As I have stated in previous posts, the firm that I work for it as much a management consulting firm as it is a applications development firm. Needless to say, many agile best practices and principles do not form the core tools that a lot of our practitioners use. While this is slowly changing, thanks to a core team is passionate and experience in using agile, having Scott present on the values of these approaches is essential to spreading this message within our firm.

I thought Scott did an amazing job in giving a no-nonsense and extremely frank presentation on why our firm and others like us need to start taking this seriously.

Scott managed to pack a lot of material in a relatively short period of time, topics included:

  • agile overview

  • surveys on the success of agile and traditional projects-a lot of great no-nonsense material was presented

  • shortcomings of pure agile approaches (XP, scrum, etc.)

  • extending agile with the rational unified process (RUP)

  • applying agile in outsourcing staff situations

  • applying agile to the database group and database platforms

I'm sure I did not list every topic covered here, but these were the major ones that resonated with me.

After Scott's presentation sunny and myself presented 4 separate case studies where our firm has taken advantage of agile best practices on large-scale delivery projects. Examples included:

  • large-scale public sector transformation project with 20 plus developers in parallel

  • assisting the enterprise architecture office in developing a reusable SOA platform

  • using agile modeling techniques to properly analyze and design a domain driven solution for a provincial students assistance and loans application

  • using agile delivery on a large-scale package implementation also dedicated to any students assistance and loan application

During our portion of the presentation, the audience began to ask questions which were mostly answered by Scott, with additional color/perspective from our firm added in by us.

For my part, my major take away from listening to Scott was that everyone in our firm needs to be much more forthright in pressing our clients on the need for change, and applying innovative/different delivery practices to their organizations. I think anybody who's done any solid delivery work for any length of time is more than aware of how dysfunctional many of our development processes and approaches are in a majority of organizations. But changing the situation requires courage, and the bravery to speak out to CXO level leadership. We really need to provide a frank assessment of the things we see on our day-to-day implementation projects. There's a huge amount of reward that can be gained from adopting agile in a pragmatic fashion. Costs can be lowered while simultaneously increasing quality and reducing risk. These things that business can buy into.

Again my thanks to Scott for a great presentation.

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