Had a bit of fun creating this image in photoshop, but even more fun thinking about who really is the most Agile company. Per The Open Sourcery, Google, Apple, and Microsoft all claim to be Agile shops. So who really is the most Agile shop? How do you weigh the differences?
Weighing in at $350/share on the Nasdaq we have Apple – The ultra-secretive shop. These guys have a cycle for major updates about once a year, but Apple can deliver in considerably less time a major upgrade or fix is needed. Case in point: iPhone and iPad bugs. The guys over in Cupertino, CA know how to build products, but they don’t even share the overall strategy or details on upcoming products.
Our lightweight is Microsoft, at a measly $30/share on Nasdaq – These guys providestrategic planning and directions as to what they are building and what they have planned. Its Windows continuum was renewed once again by Steve Ballmer at the CES 2011 show with one significant departure – instead of being exclusively an Intel x86 platform choice, Microsoft has added the ARM CPU+System architecture. But the OS will be Windows 7 not Windows Phone 7 [which is built on largely the same language tools but has some novel OS design and implementation methods].
More after the jump!
Like Google, Microsoft can be mixed on how the detailed plan is implemented – sometimes open and other times ultra secretive. But Microsoft almost always has a substantial beta processes sometimes eliciting the partcipation of thousands of users and some prestigious early client/organizational adopters. – Open Sourcery
However, Microsoft software generally has very long delivery cycles measured in years. Typical is the recent Windows cycle which from XP to Vista was 4-5 years and Windows 7 to Windows 8 looks like 2-3 years. Even the Windows 7 upgrade for from Vista to 7 was well more than a year.
The heavyweight for today’s round is no joke. Coming in at well over $600/share we have The Google – Like Microsoft, they also provide general directions and has introduced and then after 1- or 2 iterations walked away from, redirected, or postponed work on major projects. Two examples are Google Wave and the Nexus One Smartphone. Google has a mixed record on being open about the detailed plan; some projects are explicit and others are as secretive as Apple. However, once a basic API is revealed, the project becomes more open.
Often clients are invited early to do beta testing [think Google Books and Google Maps] and are surveyed for their reactions to the software. – Open Sourcery
The projects tend to have short update cycles of 3-6 months [think Android and Google Docs] but this may be after a longer 1 year or greater first gestation period.
So who is #Agile #win?
Well, based on this information, it may be hard to say, while Apple churns out products pretty regularly, Google definitely has the agility to make changes throughout product life cycles. If things don’t work out, they can course correct pretty easily. Microsoft may have MSF for Agile Software Development, but maybe they need to take some of their own medicine. While MSF is a scenario-driven, context-based, Agile software development process that utilizes many of the ideas embodied in Team System (Visual Studio), they still push products pretty slow.
I would have to say that Google probably is the more Agile shop. They have an open-source mentality (that is changing by the way with Net Neutrality and taking H.264 support from Chrome), but that doesn’t make them more-or-less-Agile. They sure can push product (Full Google product list).
What do you think?
[HT: Open Sourcery]