Monday, October 23, 2006

Mind Hacks and Surgery

This will be my last blog-entry for at least a couple of weeks. I'm going in for surgery tomorrow to have my kidney removed and transplanted into my sister. It will take me about two weeks to recover to the point where I can sit in front of the computer for any length of time - and another two weeks before I return to work. (Well wishes and prayers for both my sister and me will be warmly welcomed :-)

I received two pretty cool books from O'Reilly the other day. They're not your normal fare. And I havent finished either of them yet. But I'm leafing through them and they both look waaaayyy cool and extremely useful:I'm looking forward to making my way through the rest of these two books and learning more about how my mind works and how to make better use of it (and better "maintain" it :)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Scaling Agility: Summary of Resources

I published a bunch of entries with numerous resources on different aspects of Scaling Agility. I wrote most of them several days apart but many of them got "pushed out" (published) together in sudden bursts. Here they are again:
Feel free to post a comment with other links are anything you feel warrants a new category (e.g., melding Agile with any of Lean, TOC, or Six Sigma)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Lean view of Deming's 14 Points for Management.

There has been a really great discussion thread on the Lean Development YahooGroup on the subject of "How do I find bottlenecks?"

I particularly liked a reply by Alan Shalloway that linked things back to W. Edwards Deming's 14 points for management from his Theory/System of Profound Knowledge. Allan's translation has a bit of a "Lean" slant to it, and doesn't explicitly mention eliminating/reducing variation quite so much. Here is how he summarized it:

Re respect for people, the best place to start, IMHO, is Deming. Here are his fourteen points (Chapter 2 of Out of the Crisis, by W. Edwards Deming, MIT Press, 2000; originally published in 1982.):
  1. The world has changed and managers need to adopt a new way of thinking. Delays, mistakes, defective workmanship and poor service are longer acceptable.

  2. Quit depending on inspection to find defects and start building quality into products while they are being built. Use statistical process control.

  3. Don't choose suppliers on the basis of low bids alone. Minimize total cost by establishing long term relationships with suppliers that are based on loyalty and trust.

  4. Work continually to improve the system of production and service. Improvement is not a one-time effort; every activity in the system must be continually improved to reduce waste and improve quality.

  5. Institute training. Managers should know how to do the job they supervise and be able to train workers. Managers also need training to understand the system of production.

  6. Institute leadership. The job of managers is to help people do a better job and remove barriers in the system that keep them from doing their job with pride. The greatest waste in America is failure to use the abilities of people.

  7. Drive out fear. People need to feel secure in order to do their job well. There should never be a conflict between doing what is best for the company and meeting the expectations of a person's immediate job.

  8. Break down barriers between departments. Create cross-functional teams so everyone can understand each-other's perspective. Do not undermine team cooperation by rewarding individual performance.

  9. Stop using slogans, exhortations and targets. It is the system, not the workers, that creates defects and lowers productivity. Exhortations don't change the system; that is management's responsibility.

  10. Eliminate numerical quotas for workers and numerical goals for people in management. [We add: Eliminate arbitrary deadlines for development teams.] This is management by fear. Try leadership.

  11. Eliminate barriers that rob the people of their right to pride of workmanship. Stop treating hourly workers like a commodity. Eliminate annual performance ratings for salaried workers.

  12. Encourage education and self-improvement for everyone. An educated workforce and management is the key to the future.

  13. Take action to accomplish the transformation. A top management team must lead the effort with action, not just support.

These go back 60 years. And (I can't help myself) these principles are in the context that process causes 94% of the errors - so work on the process to support the people! (people and process, people and process, people and process, ...) ;)

Alan Shalloway, CEO, Sr. Consultant
Net Objectives, Gold Level Sponsor of Agile 2006.
Integrating people, process and technology through training, coaching and consulting.

Alan's website also has some really great articles, papers, presentations and resources on Agile, Lean, Scrum, XP, Design Patterns, and all things related to Agile development and object-oriented design.

For some slightly different interpretations and summaries of Demings 14 points and Seven Deadly Sins, see the following:
There has also been a thread on another discussionlist (sorry - the name escapes me at the moment) on the relevance (or lack thereoff) of Deming's writings and philosophies in the world of today.

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Aikidoka Leadership, Influence and Conflict Resolution

There are a few good books about conflict resolution & leadership that use Aikido style/philosophy throughout. I highly recommend them for anyone interested in the connection between leadership and martial arts philosophy:

There must be some of you out there who have some other links to share on this topic! Leave a comment with your favorites!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Scaling Agility: Distributed Agile Development

Current issues of IEEE Software, CACM, and ACM Queue have articles related to agile distributed development and release management ...

The Sept/Oct 2006 issue of IEEE Software is about Global Software Development. It has several Agile-related articles (like A Practical Management and Engineering Approach to Offshore Collaboration)

This months CACM theme is "Flexible and Distributed Software Processes" with articles on distributed agile development (which are currently available online), including:
ACM Queue an article on Agile/Iterative Release Management entitled Breaking the Major Release Habit.

Other resources on Distributed Agile Development:

Also, although it's not specific to Agility, the book Software without Borders appears to have some good reviews by several folks who are well-respected in the Agile community (also check out the online references section of the book.