Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Software AG at Agile India 2014

On January 2013 I had the great experience of sharing in Israel some of what we learned at Software AG during our ongoing road to Lean and Agile, and I know of a couple of other colleagues who presented at other conferences.

Last week, Bangalore hosted the Agile India 2014 conference. Four days packed with speakers from all over India, and many international speakers. This time, my colleague Harish Krishnaswamy was presenting a very different perspective of our story. You can find the slides here, or read the full experience report which is packed with information and inspiring data of the significant impact of the transformation. I recommend to people interested in large scale transformations - read the report. Harish did a great job collecting information and interviewing many people in different roles regarding the journey. I'm sure people of Software AG would find it interesting to read a story they played a role in from a different, more holistic perspective.

An impressive amount of four more Software AG employees gave lightning talksAmit Deshpande, Heartin Jacob, Chandan Ravishankar and Ramya Gopalakrishnan.

Amit spoke of Scrumban, a combination of Scrum and Kanban which can be used in those circumstances where you have a mix of feature development and technical debt/customer issues. In particular customer issues or unplanned events that could be disruptive to the planned work in a sprint.

Heartin blogged on the topic of his talk: what success means in Agile and how Agile helps us to be successful, highlighting the strong bond linking technical and organizational success with the personal success of individual contributors. 

Chandan asked why are you following Agile? The key point is that following the practices becomes an empty shell without being a part of the transition, caring and having personal engagement with the work you do (aligned with Heartin's theme). Another is the point that agile practices are designed to keep you honest about what you can deliver on a sustainable pace, and encourage you to aim higher based on the current reality and your history.

Ramya talked of using WIP limits to reduce Context Switching, sharing the specific context and behaviors the team adopted to deal with complexity, reduce stress and maximize learning and collaboration. I'm not sure how common it is to do an exercise with the audience demonstrating context switching in a five minute lightning talk and still have time to say something - wow!

Such evidence strengthens my belief that the transformation we're going through at Software AG runs deep - many individuals align with it and contribute well beyond their job description for the success of the organization, for technical excellence and in support of their own growth.

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