Archive for November, 2011

Brad Pitt on Agile – MoneyBall Agile Transformation Master Class

Friday, November 25th, 2011

The story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players.

Could Baseball really have anything in common with Agile?

Well up until Brad Pitt’s portrayal of baseball manager Billie Bean in Money Ball (I would have said no)

But when you look at this film, and its correlations between any organisation taking on Agile you will soon agree that Hollywood has again produced a 90 minute Agile masterclass.

We follow the trials and tribulations of Oakland & Billie Bean who have a limited budget, limited time and a dream to win. Sounds like a few projects I know, there is a classic scene where Brad Pitt goes to ask for more money, and is advised you have to work with the budget you have. (this is where the creativity kicks in & Oakland go Agile)

Of course there is the moment in the video clip below that also illustrates perfectly the fine balance and separation of duties between iteration manager (IM) & project manager (PM). (watch out for Brad Pitt saying “I never watch the game”)

The principle of Agile workshops are clear to see as well. Highlighting the importance of stakeholder participation in the early stages so that everyone involved in the project is there, despite the project manager’s (Brad Pitt) table manners.

There is a strong sense of iteration management & release planning in this moment when they are reviewing the players refered to as an Island of Misfit Players

There is a championship moment available for any organisation willing to take the leap into Agile, it’s a practice that is clearly working not just in Baseball, but in Financial Institutions, Software Houses, Telecommunications even Lonely Planet Guides.

Fear is one the biggest things faced by the organisation when going Agile.

Agile training is one of the keys to getting the organisation ready and helping people emerge themselves into the principles of Agile so that if the ball is thrown from them in any direction hopefully in time they will relax into the concept of “fail fast early” and be able to adjust adapt get on with the winning rest of the game.

This week we had a group so comfortable they even took their shoes off..

What Al Pacino has to say on Agile

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Fred Brooks aptly said in 1986 there is “No Silver Bullet”  So why is it in 2011 a number of countries and organisations find themselves administering Agile just like it is the Silver Bullet.

Fred had a number of things to say from 1975 onwards firstly that

“there is no single development, in either technology or management technique, which by itself promises even one order of magnitude [tenfold] improvement within a decade in productivity, in reliability, in simplicity.” He also states that “we cannot expect ever to see two-fold gains every two years” in software development, like there is in hardware development

The Best that Brookes had to say was this

“Question: How does a large software project get to be one year late? Answer: One day at a time!”

Looks like Al Pacino in On Any Given Sunday might also agree with Brooks

Agile is not just a process, a principle or a fad to improve productivity & smooth out software development & IT infrastructure environments. Agile is about Communication, you might be surprised that some of the best coaches we can find may not come from management consultancies or change management mentors, they might just be found in Hollywood.

Agile is about the inches, the moment, the minute, the hour & the day and the team

%d bloggers like this: