"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change!" - Charles Darwin

Friday, 9 November 2012

Wearing the right glasses

Last night I made a strange dream.

I was tiny small, while very big words were flying around me and suddenly thrown in a gigantic mixer, which put them out in a changed order, building completely new sentences.

Different kinds of sentences and words were undergoing the mixer and came out changed.

Among the others I saw the 7 Lean Disciplines: they came out of the mixer like this.

- Eliminate quality
- Build Waste In
- Create Knowledge
- Decide as early as possible
- Deliver as late as possible
- Respect the whole
- Optimize people

One of those sounded familiar to me, but the rest? 
Am I seeing right? Am I wearing my glasses?
Were they changed to the "The Fat Disciplines" instead? Was it a dream or a nightmare?

I woke up sweat in the early morning and started reflecting with myself.
I got to compare the Fat versus the Lean Disciplines to evaluate, not which are the most effective, but simply which are the most sensible to really manage the business we're in.

The life would be great if I could give a specification to my team and ask them to commit as early as possible that the project will cost 96.356,55 EUR and will be delivered exactly on October 20th, 2013 at 12.45. Why can't I do that?

Well, just because that's the life.
Most of us might have experienced a certain degree of comfort in having a detailed plan in place and believing to have everything under control...
...no matter if the plan turned out to be no longer valid maybe just the day after.

Yes, but that would be developers' fault who were not precise enough with the planning or want to cheat me. And by the way, they are tremendously lazy.

No, it's just because building SW is a complex system made by teams of people which are a complex system as well: you do not know your final destination and the system is non linear, so how can you predict the exact steps to reach it or when exactly you will land there?
Complex systems have their laws (smell some flavour at here) the same as we are subject to the law of physics.

So why can't I simply decide a plan and stick to it?

Well, because complex systems are not deterministic: things change, there's not full visibility of the whole path, knowledge of the system increases on the way and new things emerge. Having quick feedback loops is the only way for you to learn as fast as possible.

Mike Cohn tells how Trond Pedersen very well describes this subject: "Complaining about requirement change is like complaining about the weather. You can't really change how the world is, but you can find ways to deal with it. Don't make an offering to Thor (the Viking god of thunder) to make the rain stop: get an umbrella".

So it's only your risk if you get an umbrella or not.
It might sound a bit less comfortable, since we must learn to live with some level of uncertainty, but isn't it just more sensible?
And maybe a bit more scientific...

Reflecting around, it was finally time to get ready and go to office. I made sure I get on my glasses.

We might not talk about Agile and Lean in 10 years any more, but they are definitely the glasses to wear to see and understand our business now.

1 comment:

  1. This is really great ...

    get your umbrella guys and don't wait for the sun .... :)