I have been in software development for over thirty years. Prior to that, I was a deck officer in the merchant marine. Don’t ask. Many of my early years in our industry were spent developing operating systems, both embedded, device oriented, and part of the IBM mainframe operating system suite. I’ve worked at the University of Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, Wang Laboratories, and for the last 20 years, my company, Advanced Development Methods and Scrum.org. My daughters are grown and launched, and I live in Lexington, Massachusetts with my wife, Chris.
How has Agile changed?
Agile means many things, like flexibility and focus. First and foremost, it means getting rid of waterfall and waterfall, predictive mechanistic thinking. I remember being at an IBM conference is the early 1980s. A speaker said, “If this approach works for the automotive industry, it should work for us!” This led us to twenty-five years of thinking we could create certainty in the midst of complexity by wanting it badly enough. It led us to think of creative people as resources that should be leveled and allocated across many concurrent activities. It was twenty-five years of turning a great profession into one disliked by both its members and its customers.
Agile software development is a path to return our profession to its roots – working closely and collaboratively with our customers to build target-on high-value products just-in-time.
Where is Agile going?
Our world has become very crowded, complex and interdependent. The technologies and insights we have are often beyond our abilities to act on them. Just as Toyota and lean overcame the more simplistic General Motors, the organizations that can adapt to complexity and create ways and products that allow us to be agile will succeed and the others will wither. I work with the organizations and people who vote for agility, and who want to work in the midst of complexity.