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19 February 2009



Do you see agile concepts being applied between business (sales, management) and tech (IT, support), across the board? That would be interesting.

Alternatively, agile sales, agile management, et al, with agile coordination team? Smaller groups more likely to get things done. Depends on size of organization too -- what's optimal size for agile working?

Jim Benson


Agile teams have historically been focused on the software development process. By design, it tries to bring in other elements (product owners), but in practice it's been rather insular and focused on software and its delivery.

When moving agile principles out to the rest of the organization, I think it's necessary to understand why agile thinkers came up with certain processes - but to envision new ways of collaborating.

Lean principles greatly extend agile's reach by tying the principles of agile to the actual flow of work.

An Agile organization, therefore, is not a scrum organization. It's an organization that understands how work flows, where handoffs are, where value is created and adapts itself to that way of working.

Small groups conduct tasks and need to be very flexible, but they are organs in a larger body. The information flowing between small groups is the blood of that body.

Agile principles give us the insight that all aspects of an organization benefit from frequent communication and a certain degree of introspection.


Phenomenal timing. :-) I'm actually in the midst of writing a series of articles on precisely this principle: applying an agile mentality to an entire business, rather than merely development. Clay Shirky was discussing the criticality of this type of adaptability for businesses in his recent video interview with Joshua-Michele Ross at FastForward last week (posted on Josh's Blog, OpposablePlanets.com). He identified it as one of the primary differentiating factors of modern business.

Bill Tozier

I imagine many of us are writing just this sort of article, and making just this sort of argument that there are more general-purpose principles design patterns to be found in the experiences of Agile projects.

Jim, can you spend a little while transcribing highlights? Listening is not working for me.

Bill Tozier

I'd swear I heard at least two things that... well, maybe I was confused.

Was somebody actually saying [approximately], "The problem with many agile teams is that they are so team-oriented and inward-looking, that the notion of communicating with a customer is an afterthought?" Or was that some kind of strawman thing, like, "The thing many FUD-ridden people, both management and craftsman, misunderstand is they think [that]"?

Also was... confused when somebody seemed to be saying throwing code away that doesn't pass tests at the end of the day is a bad thing. I'm pretty sure that's actually a lot smarter than the alternatives or the cagey hedges I thought I heard.

So could we get a transcript? Because listening twice would be harder even than listening once. Dialog doesn't involve bleeps and boops.

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