Last spring, this CMMI Appraiser was honored to be the keynote speaker at the QUEST 2014 conference in Baltimore. Apparently the presentation generated a lot of discussion and debate, as I’ve been invited back to share more of my thoughts on making sure agile stays agile via a FREE webinar: "Agile Resiliency: How CMMI Will Make Agile Thrive and Survive." Be a part of the discussion by clicking HERE.
Not everyone understands at first why this is so important to them. The fact is, throughout their history, large adopters such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Rockwell Collins, SAIC and Ford have exerted their influence on every methodology and model they've embraced.
For example, as I mentioned in a recent blog post, there was a day when Waterfall was thought to be innovative, helpful and useful. (Hard to believe, but true!) What happened is Waterfall methods evolved and changed to meet the information needs of the large adopters. The same will happen to agile – unless we make a concerted effort to strengthen agile and make it resistant to change.
Whenever I voice this concern, I invariably hear from trusting souls who question why large-scale early adopters would concern themselves with changing such an effective way of getting work done as agile. “These organizations have better things to do than change agile,” they complain. I always respond by pointing out that they don't MEAN to change agile. They are merely doing business the way they’ve always done business, i.e., in a top-heavy, document-focused, command and control manner. They took a similar approach to adopting the CMMI. They took a similar approach to adopting Waterfall. And they’ll do the same to agile.
The truth is that neither Waterfall, the CMMI, nor any particular process model was ever intended to be top-heavy and document-focused. But that’s the way the large early adopters did business. Thus, that’s how the methodologies and models evolved.
And guess what? Large adopters are STILL doing business their old way! As we speak, there are hundreds of companies being influenced by organizations like General Motors, Ford and Chrysler and hundreds of contractors being influenced by the Department of Defense. What do you think will happen as more and more of them start saying, "Let's be agile!"
I’ll tell you what will happen. It’s what always happens. It happens so reliably, we even have a saying for it here in Detroit, “Suppliers don’t change GM. GM changes suppliers.”
As a supplier, you can have all the best intentions and the right way of going about things, but these large new adopters have tremendous weight and momentum behind what they are doing, and you will eventually get changed. Not because they don’t want to be agile, but because they are NOT agile.
This will not be good for those of us who love agile and want to stay agile.
But there is hope. This webinar shows you how to fight back by applying the concept of “Agile Resiliency,” a proven strategy for scaling agile by strengthening and reinforcing agile values, methods, and techniques. Agile Resiliency is about integrating the architectural strengths of the CMMI with your agile approach to help you make agile resilient enough to resist the pressure to change – and even scale and thrive.
Check out more information about the "Agile Resiliency" webinar HERE.
See you on the webinar!
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Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.