Corporate Agile Communities - Live hosted, Multi-week, Large Scale, Communities of Practice
When working with large fortune 500 clients there is always a sense of unnecessary disconnectedness. Perhaps it is my awareness of the potential that causes me the most pain but it drives me to share and to bring everything I have to real-world help.
In the past I had to build supplemental systems to compel a community to organize into what I now call a Communities as a Service layer. Today, companies that leverage layered communities can advance directly into a new and effective pattern of communication.
A Dojo; The place of the way, or the place to find your way. This approach applied to helping improve the IT delivery organization or the Agile Dojo is an immersive 6 week full-team experience. We open by visiting our product model and product community as well as our technical model and technical community. In this critical moment we can help grow truly cross functional teams that have an ability to deliver in my faster and more controlled model as well as helping ensure everyone involved is equally aware and participatory in some of the early questions and decisions. One of the last organizations I helped to stand up Agile Dojos was able to measure improvement in the tens of millions by operating 5 Dojos globally and were looking for even better ways to track, celebrate and continue that growth.
10 years ago when many companies began the migration away from Microsoft paid products in an effort to reduce costs on-shore and connect more seamlessly with new off-shore capabilities it was likely the right call.
As it often goes many of the biggest of these companies are only now getting around to put into their budgets the lift it will take to move away. There is no longer the need.
The cost-to-benefit of standard office/cloud products has returned to very high and all of the development ALM advantage can be felt on a pure Linux Kernel and built using completely free development environments.
The last product I built for an internal client went to market with tens of thousands of potential users, in a full CI/CD pipeline, with automated tests, all built using VSCode, NetCore2.3, SignalRCore, AngularCLI build, test and deployed using CentOS7 Linux.
To give ones life in the service of others that they may have cumulatively more success because of it
The world of work has seen many changes in the last hundred years. So much so that for many, the reference materials just aren't working any longer. If the work your company endeavors to do is uncertain, experimental, prone to changing conditions or likely to encounter many learns along the way such as most IT work does then you may be losing up to 90cents on every dollar you spend based on a few common management practices that were made famous only 20 and 30 years ago.
If it were so easy as to only build those products and features that customers most want. Then there is no way we would still be faced with a staggering 65% of the products and features we build no one wants. They don't solve the right problem, or in the right way. They don't help the user to feel smart, and powerful and able to accomplish so much more as perhaps the physical tractors or assembly line automation does.
Cloud native, micro-service architectures, automated deployment/testing/delivery pipelines, Infrastructure as Code, Security as Code, Serverless Functions,
When you are faced with the highly unknown, highly unknowable work life of an aggressively modern IT organization you find cross-functional teams at their heart. Teams aren't people who just work together. Teams are people who trust one another and together can participate in the business and the delivery organization to get from idea to market effectively.
When 20 or 60 or 5,000 people want to cooperate on a task, it is very expensive to try and do that in person. When that task is the overall improvement of our organization, management, leadership, craftsmanship and the like, it is harder and more important. By building and participating in internal and external communities of practice organizations can build effective habits, patterns of behavior and results in this area seemingly for free.
Helping others to see more of what is possible in the world, and what is possible for them, usually aimed at improvement in an area such as Software Delivery, or Executive Management.
To give ones life in the service of others that they may have cumulatively more success because of it is a big deal. It is also a thankless, hard, always shifting deal. Stuck in the middle the air is thin, and both sides often seem at odds. How do you build a best places to work culture while also keeping the executives from running us into a wall or the production line from grinding to a halt?
Internally organizations can leverage a technique large scale non for profits have used for decades, only the organization can do it a little better. By setting up the digital ponds and pseudo-spaces for like minded/skilled individuals to begin to find one another and become organized and by putting the right collection of tools on the table for them to pull from you can begin to capture an amazing amount of natural upskilling, positive energy, cause for celebration and new places for learning to being to form.
For all of the work that matters, this is the new recipe for success. For all the other work, do what you will. The Agile Dojo is a fantastic way to help breakup technical departments, force the issues with cross-functional teams and invite the supporting parts of the organization into the room with the developing parts to learn/agree upon a sustainable way of working together that feels good to both sides.
I will always write code, I just will. Being in the top 5 - 10% of my discipline has always been a quietly met goal. As I fall behind, I pickup a new project and get busy learning all over again, it is one of my happy place's.
It has been one heck of a ride and I appreciate all the opportunities that remain to visit its sorted past. When given the option however, I am enjoying TypeScript/Angular/Material, NetCore, SignalR, Postgres, BDD, CentOS-Apache quite a bit these days.
Yea, and there will be more 3 letter combinations before were done! We have been saying it for years. Companies that build software or engage in other expensive high creative / high engineering practices as a primary business model do well to operate as a container for perpetual startups. The only way to do any of this is to have incredibly high craftsmanship standards and tooling's. The modern IT organization offloads many of its arcane burdens to the CI/CD pipeline, test automation and code first approaches to infrastructure, security, deployments and more.
Many customers that have been in business for a while are finding the data-center costs and lack of auto-scaling capabilities make the Cloud seem an ideal solution. Where this is true for some projects, there is a high cost associated with getting from where you are today, to a place that would be "cloud native" enough to produce an ROI. We do help many people step into their cloud lift-and-shift, then cloud-refactoring journey but we help many more to begin preparing for the cloud by taking better advantage of the bare metal solution providers they already partner with and focusing on those technical challenges that will otherwise push the cloud to be a huge cost drain.
A product cannot tell you when it is unhappy, or feels overburdened with technical debit, or is uncertain about what it should become next. It is your job to give a voice that honors the investment and maturity of the ideas manifested reality on the screen and in our hands.
The inversion of flow of information and energy in the organization calls for a different type of leadership. The Scrum Master organization serves the operations component of running this style of organization and can help ensure the Product Owner and Software Delivery partners are able to go faster, with higher quality, and experiencing more joy, month after month, year after year.
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