Friday, November 20, 2009

Paper Clip Consulting

Remember this guy. He used to pop-up when you least expected him and offered up information about something you already knew.

I'm sometimes reminded of Clippy when I hear the rhetoric from some in our agile community.

We're at an inflection point right now. The pragmatists and the conservatives are realizing the fallacy of large upfront planning.

As teams from these later adopters are striving to become leaner and more agile they struggle with the inertia that is inherent in large organizations.

  • They know that co-located teams are more successful but they prefer an environment that extends the benefits of working from home.
  • They know that it is much more efficient to work on one task at a time but someone way above their pay grade won't let them have such a single minded focus. This is not a battle they can win right now.
  • They know that value can be delivered faster if testing can be pulled forward yet they don't have budget to buy the tools they need.
For such decisions Clippy always knows the right answers for everybody. But Clippy doesn’t have to walk in their shoes and it won’t be Clippy who gets fired for taking a risk.
Maybe Clippy needs to listen to Norm Kerth (from his book Project Retrospectives)

or as my colleague Julie Chickering says:

"I think we need to acknowledge that there are parts of organizations that will be less agile than others while moving from traditional to agile projects. That the big ole ship cant turn on a dime. To me this is part of being the trusted partner."

As you strive to become leaner, more agile, you don't need Paper Clip Consulting you need a trusted partner. You need someone that will begin with the end in mind yet not seek to get there immediately. A trusted partner will take the time to understand your environment, accept that there are always constraints and help you establish a cadence of continuous improvement.

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