Local Optima

Not to get super preachy on you all, but sometimes I think we’re full bore on the wrong mission.” — ‘Agile Shop’ by Dave Laribee

As people, we embrace change we can ourselves effect. Our conversations about value turn to story writing. Our conversations about competitiveness turn to scale.

But we risk engaging the surface of things and not the things themselves. Means to what end?

As brother bee preaches, I stand before you penitent of the sin of local optimization.

In my last job, I led a development team. We were an agile team in a non-agile company. We were engaged in the effort of years, championing organizational change bottom up.

In spite of everything we’d built — an excellent agile team, a direct relationship with our CEO, visible release backlogs and delivery — the business remained opaque. It was unable to rally to us and unwilling to provide the transparency and focus we needed to effectively rally to it.

As a result, our timeline didn’t match the life-cycle of the business. When it was acquired, our efforts were shelved and we all moved on.

An agile team in a non-agile organization is not agile enough.

This entry was posted in scrum, software development and tagged , , by Ken Judy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ken Judy

I am an executive manager, software developer, father and husband trying to do more good than harm. I am an agile practitioner. I say this fully aware I say nothing. Sold as a tool to solve problems, agile is more a set of principles that encourage us to confront problems. Broad adoption of the jargon has not resulted in wide embrace of these principles. I strive to create material and human good by respecting co-workers, telling truth to employers, improving my skills, and caring for the people affected by the software I help build.

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